Tumor microenvironment, metastasis & experimental therapeutics group

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Panagiotis Papageorgis

Group Leader – Director of BTCRC​
Associate Professor, Molecular Biology
Dean of the School of Sciences
Department of Life Sciences, School of Sciences
European University Cyprus

Short Bio:

Dr. Panagiotis Papageorgis is an Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and currently serves as the Dean of the School of Sciences at European University Cyprus. He received his B.Sc. in Biology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology/Genetics and Genomics from Boston University School of Medicine, USA, in 2009. He has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cyprus and as a visiting scholar at Boston University School of Medicine and MGH/Harvard Medical School. He is a member of several professional bodies, including the American and European Associations for Cancer Research, a national representative of the Health configuration in the Horizon Europe program committee and a member of the national committee for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. He has published 42 papers in referred journals and 4 book chapters and has more than 2700 citations (Google Scholar, h-index 22, as of 12/2021) and he was included in the list of the top 2% of the world’s top scientists for 2020, as announced by Stanford University. He is also the recipient of the prestigious “Young Researcher Award” for 2015 from the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation. He is the Director of the Basic and Translational Cancer Research Center and the Head of the “Tumor Microenvironment, Metastasis and Experimental Therapeutics” research group. He currently runs 5 active research projects funded by the Research and Innovation Foundation, either as Coordinator or as Partner, of approximately 500,000 euros. His overall research interests include the elucidation of the molecular events that drive cancer progression at various stages of the metastatic cascade, including dormancy. He is also interested in deciphering the roles of the tumor microenvironment (TME), including immune cells, fibroblasts, extracellular matrix (ECM) components and secreted cytokines, like TGFβ, in regulating the metastatic process. Finally, his group is developing various therapeutic methodologies, including drug repurposing and combinatorial treatments, to remodel the TME and improve the delivery and efficacy of chemo-, nano- and immunotherapies in animal tumor models.

 

Research focus:

Our research group is interested in deciphering the molecular events that drive metastasis, which is main cause of death for most cancer patients. Using a variety of cellular and molecular biology techniques, mouse models coupled with whole-body animal imaging as well as high-throughput -omics approaches and bioinformatics analyses, the lab focuses on the identification and functional characterization of novel genes implicated in various stages of the metastatic cascade. We are especially interested in understanding the rate-limiting step of this process when disseminated cancer cells escape from dormancy at the metastatic organs. We are also interested in elucidating the roles of the tumor microenvironment (TME), including immune cells, fibroblasts, extracellular matrix (ECM) components and secreted cytokines, like TGFβ, in regulating the metastatic process. Finally, we are developing various therapeutic methodologies, including drug repurposing and combinatorial treatments, to remodel the TME and improve the delivery and efficacy of chemo-, nano- and immunotherapies in animal tumor models.

Current Group Members

Christiana Neophytou

Christiana Neophytou

PhD
Post-doctoral fellow,
Her main research interests include the unveiling of novel mechanisms that regulate colonization of metastatic breast cancer cells.
Theodora Christina Kyriakou

Theodora-Christina Kyriakou

MSc
PhD candidate,
Her main research interests include the identification and functional characterization of genomic loci associated with breast and ovarian cancer risk
Aliki Economides

Aliki Economides

MSc
PhD candidate,
Her main research interests include the correlation of clinicopathologic features of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) with Body Mass Index (BMI) in cancer patients.
Fotini Poyia2

Fotini Poyia

MSc
Research Assistant,
Her main research interest include the effects of targeting the tumor microenvironment in the efficacy of pancreatic cancer immunotherapy .
Maria Andreou

Maria Andreou

BSc
MSc student,
Her main research interests include the development of CRISPR-based technology for the investigation of functional roles of IL-37 in human cancers (working also in the Tumor Immunology and Biomarkers Group)
Eleni Christou

Eleni-Christou

BSc
MSc student,
Her main research interests include the elucidation of the role of genes in metastatic breast cancer dormancy.
Maristella Charalambous2

Maristella-CCharalambous

BSc
MSc student,
Her main research interests include the elucidation of the role of genes in metastatic breast cancer dormancy.
Maria Christou

Maria Christou

BSc
MSc student, Research assistant, Her main research interests include the understanding the role of tumor microenvironment components in pancreatic cancer.
Leila

Leila Aghaiyan

DVM
MSc student,
Her main research interests include gene expression profiling in genetically manipulated metastatic breast cancer cells.
Stefanie Agioti

Stephanie Agioti

BSc
MSc student,
Her main research interests include the functional validation of the role of genes in metastatic breast cancer dormancy using in vitro methodologies.
Theofilos Rousos

Theofilos Roussos

BSc
MSc student,
His main research interests include the functional validation of the role of candidate genes in metastatic breast cancer dormancy using in vivo models.
Domniki Zigka

Domniki Zigka

BSc
MSc student,
Her main research interests include the establishment of inducible lentiviral systems and evaluation of the role of candidate genes in metastatic breast cancer dormancy using mouse models.
Maria Iacovou

Maria Iacovou

BSc
MSc student,
Her main research interests include studying human T-cells in health and disease.
Constantinos Gorgolis

Constantinos Gorgolis

BSc
BSc student,
His main research interests include the development of lentiviral plasmid for silencing of genes involved in metastatic breast cancer dormancy.
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Marita Antoniou

BSc
BSc student,
Her main research interests include the investigation of the role of tumor microenvironment in cancer metastasis, including underlying mechanisms and therapeutic implications.
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Sofia Christofaki

BSc
BSc student,
Her main research interests include therapeutic approaches against cancer multi-drug resistance.
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Faidra-Eleni Christopoulou

BSc
BSc student,
Her main research interests include therapeutic approaches against cancer multi-drug resistance.

Past Group Members

Paraskevi Georgiou

MSc, Research assistant (2021).
MSc Thesis Title: Normalization of the tumor microenvironment using nanoparticle-encapsulated anti-fibrotic drugs to improve efficacy of chemotherapy. Current position: Laboratory assistant

Aggelis Nikolaos

MSc, (2019)
MSc Thesis Title: Investigating the role of NAA40 acetyltransferase in sensitization of colon cancer cells to 5’-FU. Current position: PhD candidate at NKUA

Ermi Evdoxiou

MSc, (2019)
MSc Thesis Title: Investigation of the synergistic mechanism of cisplatin with survivin-suppressants in lung cancer. Current position: Laboratory assistant

Amir Hossein Rezazadeh Moghaddam

MSc, (2019)
MSc Thesis Title: Assessment of Activin A signaling inhibitors against pancreatic cancer metastasis. Current position: MD student

Demetris Chasiotis

BSc, (2018)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of HIF1α and HIF2α inactivation in the in vivo tumor growth of HT29 colon cancer cells. Current position: MSc student

Avgi Prokopiou

BSc, (2018)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of Activin A signaling inhibitors in migration of breast cancer cells. Current position: Laboratory assistant

Andri Christofi

BSc (2017)
BSc Thesis Title: Investigation of Smad signalling inhibitor efficacy against breast cancer metastasis. Current position: MSc student

Ermina Polyviou

BSc, (2016)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of GDF15 in breast cancer metastasis. Current position: MD student

Panayiotis Boutsikos

BSc, (2016)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of GDF15 in breast cancer metastasis. Current position: MD student

Fotini Poyia

BSc, (2016)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of GDF15 in the activation of signalling pathways in breast cancer cells. Current position: Laboratory assistant at NIPD

Demetriou Antri

BSc, (2016)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of Activin A in the activation of signalling pathways in breast cancer cells. Current position: MSc student

Farakalla Anthi

BSc, (2016)
BSc Thesis Title: The role of MAPK13 in regulating IL13Ra2 expression in breast cancer cells. Current position: MSc student

Research Grants

Ongoing

“DIDAKTOR”, Research & Innovation Foundation Program, (POST-DOC/0916/0044, 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2021). Role: Project Coordinator. Title: “Unveiling novel molecular mechanisms that regulate colonization of dormant metastatic breast cancer cells”.

“DIDAKTOR”, Research Promotion Foundation’s Program, (POST-DOC/0718/0084, 01/09/2019 – 31/08/2021). Role: Partner. Title: Optimizing immunotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer by normalizing the tumor microenvironment.

“EXCELLENCE HUBS”, Research & Innovation Foundation’s Program, (EXCELLENCE 0421/0179, 01/03/2021 – 28/02/2023). Role: Project Coordinator Title: “Targeting the desmoplastic tumor microenvironment to improve the efficacy of pancreatic cancer immunotherapy”.

“EXCELLENCE HUBS”, Research & Innovation Foundation’s Program, (EXCELLENCE 0421/0342, 01/03/2021 – 28/02/2023). Role: Partner (EUC coordinator). Title “Investigating the mechanistic and therapeutic link between glucose and Histone acetyltransferase 1 (HAT1) activity in the aggressiveness of Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)”.

“EXCELLENCE HUBS”, Research & Innovation Foundation’s Program, (EXCELLENCE 0421/0152, 01/03/2021 – 28/02/2023). Role: Partner (EUC coordinator). Title “Deciphering the molecular and biological function of histone H2A.X N-terminal acetylation”.

“EXCELLENCE HUBS”, Cyprus Research & Innovation Foundation, (EXCELLENCE 0918/0081, 01/09/2019 – 31/08/2021). Role: Partner, Title: “Function of the histone N-terminal acetyltransferase Naa40 in liver-metabolic reprogramming and oncogenesis”.  

“EXCELLENCE HUBS”, Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, (EXCELLENCE 1216/0036, 01/09/2018 – 31/08/2021), Role: Partner, Title: “Functional and therapeutic implications of histone N-terminal acetyltransferase Naa40 in colorectal oncogenesis”.

“INFRASTRUCTURES” Research Promotion Foundation’s Program (INFRASTRUCTURES/1216/0052, 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2022). Role: Partner, Title: “Center for Preclinical evaluation and optimization of cancer nanomedicine”.

Completed

Completed

“Young Researcher Award”, Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, (ΚΟΥΛΤΟΥΡΑ/ΒΡ-ΝΕ/0415/03, 01/06/2016 – 31/05/2018). Role: Project Coordinator. Title: “Elucidation of the signaling mechanisms that promote IL13Rα2-mediated breast cancer metastasis”.

“DIDAKTOR”, Research Promotion Foundation’s Program – Co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus, (ΔΙΔΑΚΤΩΡ/0609/24, 30/09/2010 – 29/12/2013). Role: Project Coordinator. Title: “Identification and functional characterization of novel genes involved in breast cancer metastasis”.

Selected Publications

Full list of publications

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