A. Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology with focus on extracellular matrix.
Pathobiology of diseases (Expression and biological role of extracellular matrix in disease development, in cell growth and functions - molecular targeted therapies).
1. Structure, function, immunological and biological properties of carbohydrates, proteoglycans and glycoproteins isolated from invertebrates and vertebrates.
2. Structure and functions of proteoglycans/glycosaminoglycans and proteases in various (patho)physiological conditions, such as human atherosclerosis and abdominal aortic aneurysm and malignant neoplasias (malignant tumors of gastrointestinal track and pancreas, gynecological tumors).
3. Effect of growth factors and drugs in malignant cell growth and its biosynthetic machinery.
B. Extracellular matrix pathobiology, cell-matrix interactions, cell signaling, tumor microenvironment, molecular targeting
The role and impact of ExtraCellular Matrices (ECMs) on cell behavior are main research interests. Special emphasis is given on PGs, GAGs, MMPs, Growth Factors/Growth Factor Receptors as well as their cross-talk, and especially their implication in normal tissue homeostasis and the onset and progression of cancer. The methods utilized range from traditional to modern biochemistry and molecular/cell biology techniques as well as from tissue to cell level.
Among others, studies are focused on:
- Biochemical studies of matrix effectors (such as Hyaluronan, Proteoglycans, MMPs) as well as specific cell surface receptors (such as CD44).
- Investigation of the interactions of matrix effectors with cell surface receptors and their impact on intracellular signaling pathways and cell functional properties.
- Gene suppression or overexpression of specific effectors in order to identify novel molecular targets for cancer treatment.
- Synthesis and biological applications of Heparan Sulfate/Heparin-like polymers (in collaboration with Polymer Science Group).
C. Matrix Biology, Cell Signaling, Functional Cell Properties, Pharmacological Targeting at Molecular and Cellular Levels, Biological Testing, Cell mimetic models for cancer metastasis, Structure Analysis of Carbohydrates and Evaluation of Cytotoxicity.
- Structure and functions of metalloproteinases (MMPs), cell bound and cell-secreted. proteoglycans (PGs)/ glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and acidic glyco- and sialoproteins in malignancy.
2. Effects of growth factors and their receptors on gene expression and synthesis of MMPs and PGs.
3. Structure, function, immunological and biological properties of carbohydrates, proteoglycans and glycoproteins.
4. Carbohydrates and related compounds produced from pathogenic bacteria.
5. Evaluation of pharmacological agents at molecular and cellular levels (functional cell properties, receptors and intracellular pathways, gene expression and regulation).
6. Health and Safety issues: toxicity evaluation at cell level.
7. Development, validation and biological applications of high-performance liquid chromatographic & capillary electrophoresis methods for fine biochemical and structural analysis of carbohydrates, proteoglycans and glycoproteins in biological samples (Cell cultures, tissues, biological matrices).
8. Structure, analysis and interactions of important biological molecules (growth factors/peptides, amino acid derivatives).
D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with more emphasis on connective tissue
- Isolation, macromolecular structure, biochemical characterisation, and immunological properties of extracellular matrix macromolecules (glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, glycoproteins) from several types of connective tissue, under normal and pathologic conditions and study of their interactions.
- Studies on extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Investigation of their role in several pathologic conditions such as, cancer proliferation and metastasis, arhtritis, arthroplasty loosening, skin and lung diseases, eyes pterygium and nasal polyposis.
- The role of TGF-β1, IGF-I and MIF in the pathogenesis of arthritis, lung diseases, eyes pterygium and nasal polyposis. Study of their effects on the production of MMPs, TIMPs, collagen, cytokines and prostaglandins by synovial, lung, pterygium and nasal polyps fibroblasts, and articular chondrocytes. Investigation of signal transduction pathways mediating these effects.
- The role of proteasome in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, eyes pterygium and nasal polyposis. Study of its effect on the expression of MMPs, TIMPs, cytokines and collagen in fibroblasts and chondrocytes.
- Isolation and characterisation of enzymes of various organisms, under normal and pathologic conditions.
- Pharmacological targeting of cancer.
- Preparation and properties of tissue engineering scaffolds.
- Development and application of bioanalytical methods.