Tumor Immunology & Biomarkers Group
Maria-Ioanna (Marianna) Christodoulou
Department of Life Sciences, School of Sciences
European University Cyprus
Dr Marianna Christodoulou is an Assistant Professor of Immunology at the Department of Life Sciences of the European University Cyprus (2019-today). She possesses a BSc diploma in Biology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2003), a MSc diploma in Clinical Biochemistry–Molecular Diagnostics from the Faculty of Biology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2015) and a PhD degree in Immunology-Human Autoimmunity from the School of Medicine of the same University (2010). Marianna worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Schools of Medicine (2010-2012) and Biology (2012-2016) of the University of Athens and at the Research Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation of the University of Glasgow (UK) (2017-2019). Her research expertise is primarily in the field of immune-mediated conditions (autoimmunity, tumor immunology, inflammation in type-2 diabetes) and application of novel omics technologies in translational research. Her work is included in 19 research articles (first/last author in 11 of them), published in high-impact international peer-reviewed journals (Google scholar metrics as of 25/11/2021: h-index=13; Citations=861), and presented in several international and national conferences. She has received awards by the Hellenic Society for Rheumatology (Athens, Greece in 2004 and 2006) and the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 2007), and an individual scholarship for Post-Doctoral Research by the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (2017-2019). Her current research interests are focused on novel immune-regulatory cytokines and their involvement in the abovementioned disorders, as well as the development of related biomarkers, using transcriptomics approaches. Marianna is leading the Tumor Immunology and Biomarkers group of BTCRC, collaborating with research groups at EUC, University of Athens, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai (China). She has been actively involved in 7 national/international funded research programs in Greece, Cyprus and the UK, working among others in the fields of tumor immunology, metastasis and anti-cancer properties of natural products. She is also an Affiliate Researcher at the University of Glasgow. She has served as ad-hoc reviewer in >40 international scientific journals, editorial board member in two, and Guest-Editor in two.
Emerging evidence of the last decades support the pivotal role of the immune system during tumor development and the importance of the evasion of cancer cells from immune surveillance. And this is exactly where current challenges of immune-oncologists lie: to pinpoint involved immune-checkpoints and regulatory compartments and set them as therapeutic targets. Within this frame, our group focuses on the investigation of novel immune-regulatory cell populations and proteins critical in human cancers. We aim at the elucidation of their pathophysiological role during the course of the disease and the evaluation of their potential to serve as possible biomarkers for prognosis and monitoring of the response-to-therapy. Our projects utilize cutting-edge high-throughput approaches (bulk and single cell RNA sequencing, microarrays, luminex), related bioinformatics analyses and a series of cellular/molecular biology techniques (multi-color flow-cytometry, immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, qPCR assays) to address our biological questions.
Current Group Members
Apostolis studies the alarmin pro-thymosin α (proTα) as possible biomarker for the response to chemotherapy of patients with cancer
Maria studies the anti-cancer properties of phenolic compounds from flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) on human breast and prostate tumor cells
Elif studies the anti-cancer properties of extracts from the Cypriot endemic species Hypericum repens on human tumor cells
Kyriaki studies the anti-cancer properties of extracts from the Cypriot endemic species Quercus alnifolia on human tumor cells
Maria studies IL-37 expression in patients with bladder cancer
Lazaros studies the anti-cancer properties of the endemic plant of Cyprus Onosma fruticosa, on human prostate cancer cells (in collaboration with Drs. C. Nikiforou and C. Antoniou).
Marios studies the anti-cancer properties of the endemic plant of Cyprus Onosma fruticosa, on human breast cancer cells (in collaboration with Drs. C. Nikiforou and C. Antoniou).
Styliana studies the synergistic action of metformin with anti-cancer agents in gynaecological cancers.
Christos studies the expression of IL-37 in samples from type-2 diabetes patients.
Sofia studies the synergistic action of metformin with anti-cancer agents in gynaecological cancers.
Ero studies the alarmin prothymosin-a in systemic lupus erythematosus and other autoimmune diseases.
Andrew studies the expression of IL-37 in samples from type-2 diabetes patients and prediabetic individuals.
Past Group Members
“EXCELLENCE HUBS”, Research & Innovation Foundation Program, (Excellence/0421/0179, 2022-24). Role: Researcher.
“DIDAKTOR”, Research & Innovation Foundation Program, (POST-DOC/0916/0044, 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2021). Role: Researcher. Title: “Unveiling novel molecular mechanisms that regulate colonization of dormant metastatic breast cancer cells”.
“CULTURE / AWARD-YR / 0119 / 0024”, Research & Innovation Foundation Program, (RESTART 2016-2020, 2021-2023). Role: Researcher. Title: “Investigating the phytochemical profile and in-vitro bioactive properties of endemic plant extracts from Cyprus for potential use in medicine and agriculture- PlantexCY”.
“Enhancing Post-Doctoral Researchers”, State Scholarships Foundation (IKY, Greece) (2017-2019), ‘‘Human Resources Development Program, Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2014 – 2020. Role: Principal Investigator. Title: “Investigation of the molecular profile of patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus utilizing high throughput, new generation sequencing technologies: development of a panel of microRNAs (miRNAs)-potential biomarkers for the disease.”.