Difference between revisions of "Kafatos:Vlachou, Dina"

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'''Senior Research Scientist''' at [http://www.imperial.ac.uk/ Imperial College], London<br>.
'''Research Fellow''' at [http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/d.vlachou Imperial College], London<br>.

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Dina Vlachou

Division of Cell and Molecular Biology
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Imperial College London
Sir Alexander Fleming Building
South Kensington Campus
United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 20 759 42031
Fax: +44 20 759 41759
Email: d.vlachou@imperial.ac.uk

Research Fellow at Imperial College, London


1990-1991: Research assistant, Division of Genetic and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Athens, Greece. Postgraduate research in insect molecular biology.
1991-1997: PhD studies, Division of Genetic and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Athens, Greece. Research Area: Functional and evolutionary analysis of chorion genes in Diptera.
1997-2000: Post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology/Foundation for Research and Technology (IMBB/FORTH), Crete, Greece. Research Area: Identification of Anopheles gambiae midgut proteins putatively interacting with Plasmodium surface proteins.
2000-2001: RTN Post-doctoral fellow, Department of Parasitology, University of Leiden (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands. Research Area: Genetic manipulation of Plasmodium berghei and development of alternative tools for conditional knockout and transient expression of genes in the parasite mosquito stages.
2001-2003: Marie Curie Research Fellow, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany. Research Area: Molecular and cellular dissection of mosquito midgut invasion, and mosquito immune responses.
2003-2005: Senior Research Associate, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany. Research Area: Molecular and cellular dissection of mosquito midgut invasion, and mosquito immune responses.
2005-present: Senior Research Scientist, Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Research Area: Functional genomics of mosquito/parasite interactions.

Research Interests

My scientific interests lie in the field of infectious diseases, especially malaria, a leading parasitic disease transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. It affects half of the global population and kills 1-3 million people every year, the vast majority children aged below 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. My research focuses on the understanding of molecular and cellular interactions between Anopheles mosquitoes and malaria parasites, Plasmodium, using functional genomics technologies, such as DNA microarrays and RNA interference (RNAi). Special emphasis is put on mosquito midgut infection, the most critical stage in the malaria transmission cycle. It utilizes both laboratory model transmission systems, i.e. Anopheles mosquitoes and rodent parasites Plasmodium berghei, and naturally interacting populations of Anopheles gambiae and human parasites Plasmodium falciparum. Detail understanding of parasite/mosquito interactions may guide development of novel control strategies to control transmission of the disease.

Research projects

Local epithelial immunity
Local epithelial responses of the mosquito midgut to invasion by the malaria parasite: cellular and transcriptional analysis
PhD student: Timm Schlegelmilch
Collaborators: Kafatos and Christophides (Imperial)

Plasmodium ookinete-to-oocyst development
1. Functional genomics of the model malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei: emphasis on ookinete-to-oocyst developmental transition stage
2. Mechanisms of early regulation of ookinete-to-oocyst transition
PhD students: Ellen Bushell and Karolina Akinosoglou
Collaborators: Kafatos, Christophides and Sinden (Imperial), Janse (LUMC), Goulding (Sanger), Dr Herwig Schüler (Karolinska University)

Human malaria transmission in Africa
Functional genomic analysis of parasite/mosquito interactions in naturally interacting populations in Africa
PhD student: Antonio Mendes
Collaborators: Morlais (OCEAC, Cameroon), Fontenille and Cohuet (IRD, France), FP7 consortium (including Burkina Faso and Uganda)

Grants and Awards

• PhD individual fellowship by Academy of Athens, Greece (1993-1996)
• Marie-Curie Individual Research Fellowship, European Commission, Fifth Framework Program (2001-2003)
• Co-Principal Investigator in FP7 Collaborative Project HEALTH-2007-2.3.2-9: Blocking the transmission of malaria: the mosquito vector target
• Scientific collaborator in NIAID-NIH Programme Project grant (2PO1AI044220-06A1; PI: Prof Fotis C. Kafatos)
• Scientific collaborator in Welcome Trust Programme grant (GR077229/Z/05/Z; PIs: Prof Fotis C. Kafatos, Dr George K. Christophides)

International profile

• Invited speaker at Host Response to Cell Invasion Workshop, The 11th Annual and International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA XI), hosted by the British Society for Parasitology, Glasgow, 6-11 August 2006
• Invited speaker at 17th International Biology of Disease Vectors Course, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England U.K, 16-28 July 2006
• Invited speaker at 2nd Annual International BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, May 2006

National and international collaborations include Prof Robert E. Sinden (Imperial College), Dr Chris Janse (University of Leiden), Dr Isabelle Morlais (Institute of Research and Development(IRD)/OCEAC, Cameroon), Dr Anna Cohuet (IRD, Montpellier), Dr Didier Fontenille (IRD, Montpellier) and Dr Herwig Schüler (Karolinska University).

[Click to see press release]

Academic profile

Teaching assistantship of pre-graduated students at the Departments of Biology and Pharmacology, University of Athens, Greece (1991-1996)
Invited lecturer at postgraduate student course in Bioinformatics, University of Athens, Greece (May 2005)
Invited lecturer at 17th International Annual Biology of Disease Vectors Course (BDV), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK (16-28 July 2006)
Project leader and Thesis supervisor of Imperial College PhD candidates Timm Schlegelmilch, Ellen Bushell and Karolina Akinosoglou
Project leader and Thesis supervisor of BioMalPar International PhD Programme fellow Antonio Mendes
Thesis advisor of PhD candidate Caroline Harris (University of Montpellier, France)
Supervisor of final year project of Imperial College pre-graduate students (2007, 2008, 2009)
Examiner of final year project vivas of Imperial College pre-graduate students (2006, 2007)


  1. Bushell E. S., Schlegelmilch T., Ecker A., Goulding D., Sinden R. E., Christophides G. K., Kafatos F. C., Vlachou D. (2009) Paternal Effect of the Nuclear Formin-like Protein MISFIT on Plasmodium Development in the Mosquito Vector. PLoS Pathogens. [In-Press]
  2. Baum J, Papenfuss AT, Mair GR, Janse CJ, Vlachou D, Waters AP, Cowman AF, Crabb BS, and de Koning-Ward TF. Molecular genetics and comparative genomics reveal RNAi is not functional in malaria parasites. Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jun;37(11):3788-98. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkp239 | PubMed ID:19380379 | HubMed [baum2009]
  3. Mendes AM, Schlegelmilch T, Cohuet A, Awono-Ambene P, De Iorio M, Fontenille D, Morlais I, Christophides GK, Kafatos FC, and Vlachou D. Conserved mosquito/parasite interactions affect development of Plasmodium falciparum in Africa. PLoS Pathog. 2008 May 16;4(5):e1000069. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000069 | PubMed ID:18483558 | HubMed [mendes2008]
  4. Waterhouse RM, Kriventseva EV, Meister S, Xi Z, Alvarez KS, Bartholomay LC, Barillas-Mury C, Bian G, Blandin S, Christensen BM, Dong Y, Jiang H, Kanost MR, Koutsos AC, Levashina EA, Li J, Ligoxygakis P, Maccallum RM, Mayhew GF, Mendes A, Michel K, Osta MA, Paskewitz S, Shin SW, Vlachou D, Wang L, Wei W, Zheng L, Zou Z, Severson DW, Raikhel AS, Kafatos FC, Dimopoulos G, Zdobnov EM, and Christophides GK. Evolutionary dynamics of immune-related genes and pathways in disease-vector mosquitoes. Science. 2007 Jun 22;316(5832):1738-43. DOI:10.1126/science.1139862 | PubMed ID:17588928 | HubMed [waterhouse2007]
  5. Vlachou D, Schlegelmilch T, Runn E, Mendes A, and Kafatos FC. The developmental migration of Plasmodium in mosquitoes. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Aug;16(4):384-91. DOI:10.1016/j.gde.2006.06.012 | PubMed ID:16793259 | HubMed [vlachou2006]
  6. Vlachou D, Schlegelmilch T, Christophides GK, and Kafatos FC. Functional genomic analysis of midgut epithelial responses in Anopheles during Plasmodium invasion. Curr Biol. 2005 Jul 12;15(13):1185-95. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2005.06.044 | PubMed ID:16005290 | HubMed [vlachou2005]
  7. Vlachou D and Kafatos FC. The complex interplay between mosquito positive and negative regulators of Plasmodium development. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2005 Aug;8(4):415-21. DOI:10.1016/j.mib.2005.06.013 | PubMed ID:15996894 | HubMed [vlachou2005b]
  8. Osta MA, Christophides GK, Vlachou D, and Kafatos FC. Innate immunity in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae: comparative and functional genomics. J Exp Biol. 2004 Jul;207(Pt 15):2551-63. DOI:10.1242/jeb.01066 | PubMed ID:15201288 | HubMed [osta2004]
  9. Christophides GK, Vlachou D, and Kafatos FC. Comparative and functional genomics of the innate immune system in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Immunol Rev. 2004 Apr;198:127-48. PubMed ID:15199960 | HubMed [christophides2004]
  10. Vlachou D, Zimmermann T, Cantera R, Janse CJ, Waters AP, and Kafatos FC. Real-time, in vivo analysis of malaria ookinete locomotion and mosquito midgut invasion. Cell Microbiol. 2004 Jul;6(7):671-85. DOI:10.1111/j.1462-5822.2004.00394.x | PubMed ID:15186403 | HubMed [vlachou2004]
  11. Dessens JT, Sidén-Kiamos I, Mendoza J, Mahairaki V, Khater E, Vlachou D, Xu XJ, Kafatos FC, Louis C, Dimopoulos G, and Sinden RE. SOAP, a novel malaria ookinete protein involved in mosquito midgut invasion and oocyst development. Mol Microbiol. 2003 Jul;49(2):319-29. PubMed ID:12828632 | HubMed [dessens2003]
  12. Christophides GK, Zdobnov E, Barillas-Mury C, Birney E, Blandin S, Blass C, Brey PT, Collins FH, Danielli A, Dimopoulos G, Hetru C, Hoa NT, Hoffmann JA, Kanzok SM, Letunic I, Levashina EA, Loukeris TG, Lycett G, Meister S, Michel K, Moita LF, Müller HM, Osta MA, Paskewitz SM, Reichhart JM, Rzhetsky A, Troxler L, Vernick KD, Vlachou D, Volz J, von Mering C, Xu J, Zheng L, Bork P, and Kafatos FC. Immunity-related genes and gene families in Anopheles gambiae. Science. 2002 Oct 4;298(5591):159-65. DOI:10.1126/science.1077136 | PubMed ID:12364793 | HubMed [christophides2002]
  13. Vlachou D and Komitopoulou K. The chorion genes of the medfly. II. DNA sequence evolution of the autosomal chorion genes s18, s15, s19 and s16 in Diptera. Gene. 2001 May 30;270(1-2):41-52. PubMed ID:11404001 | HubMed [vlachou2001]
  14. Vlachou D, Lycett G, Sidén-Kiamos I, Blass C, Sinden RE, and Louis C. Anopheles gambiae laminin interacts with the P25 surface protein of Plasmodium berghei ookinetes. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2001 Feb;112(2):229-37. PubMed ID:11223130 | HubMed [vlachou2001b]
  15. Margos G, Sidén-Kiamos I, Fowler RE, Gillman TR, Spaccapelo R, Lycett G, Vlachou D, Papagiannakis G, Eling WM, Mitchell GH, and Louis C. Myosin A expressions in sporogonic stages of Plasmodium. Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2000 Dec;111(2):465-9. PubMed ID:11163454 | HubMed [margos2000]
  16. Sidén-Kiamos I, Vlachou D, Margos G, Beetsma A, Waters AP, Sinden RE, and Louis C. Distinct roles for pbs21 and pbs25 in the in vitro ookinete to oocyst transformation of Plasmodium berghei. J Cell Sci. 2000 Oct;113 Pt 19:3419-26. PubMed ID:10984433 | HubMed [sinden-kiamos]
  17. Vlachou D, Konsolaki M, Tolias PP, Kafatos FC, and Komitopoulou K. The autosomal chorion locus of the medfly Ceratitis capitata. I. Conserved synteny, amplification and tissue specificity but sequence divergence and altered temporal regulation. Genetics. 1997 Dec;147(4):1829-42. PubMed ID:9409839 | HubMed [vlachou1997]
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed

Recent publications in international conferences

• Mendes A, Bushell SC, Akinosoglou K, Schlegelmilch T, Kafatos FC, Morlais I and Vlachou D. Interactions between A. gambiae and sympatric P. falciparum populations in Africa. 4th EMBO Meeting on Vector Biology, Kolymbari, Crete, 2009.

• Bushell ES, Schlegelmilch T, Ecker A, Goulding D, Sinden RE, Christophides GK, Kafatos FC, Vlachou D. The identification and characterisation of MISFIT, a Plasmodium Male-Inherited Sporulation Factor Important for Malaria Transmission. The 19th Annual Molecular Parasitology Meeting at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. USA, 2008.

• Bushell ESC & Vlachou D. Identification and characterisation of Plasmodium genes responsible for oocyst development and putative evasion of mosquito immune responses. Third Annual BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, 2007.

• Mendes A, Morlais I, Cohuet A, Fontenille D, Christophides GK, , Kafatos FC and Vlachou D. Genomic analysis of mosquito/parasite molecular interactions in natural and model laboratory transmission systems. Fourth Annual International BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, 2008.

• Genomic analysis of Anopheles gambiae responses to sympatric Plasmodium falciparum isolates. Mendes A, Cohuet A, Schlegelmilch T, Morlais I, Fontenille D, Christophides GK, Kafatos FC and Vlachou D. Third Annual BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, 2007.

• Vlachou D, Cohuet A, Mendes A, Morlais I, Fontenille D, Christophides GK, Kafatos FC. Anopheles-Plasmodium interactions: From lab models to natural field transmission. Second Annual BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, 2006.

• Mendes A, Schlegelmilch T, Cohuet A, Morlais I, Simard F, Fontenille D, Christophides GK, Kafatos FC and Vlachou D. Comparative genomic analysis of the Anopheles gambiae responses to infection with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei. Second Annual International BioMalPar Conference, Heidelberg, Germany, 2006.

• Functional genomics of mosquito midgut invasion and the role of Apolipophorins in parasite infections. Schlegelmilch T, Mendes A, Cohuet A, Kafatos FC and Vlachou D. The 11th Annual and International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA XI), hosted by the British Society for Parasitology, Glasgow, 2006.