My current research is focused on the interplay of genetic and environmental risk factors for substance use disorders, including the elucidation of the underlying neurobiology, using both human cohorts and preclinical models. However, the development of my research interest has been refined at each stage of my academic journey. Specifically, my fascination for molecular biology and genetics first started at my senior year in high school, when we were taught in biology class about a molecular methodology called ‘PCR’. This led to my Bachelor studies in ‘Molecular Biology and Genetics’ at the Democritus University, Greece (BSc; 2000-2005). Following my graduation, I got accepted to the ‘Stockholm Research School in Molecular Life Sciences’, a scholarship-based postgraduate program funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (2005-2006). My research training was followed by a master’s degree in ‘Genetic Counseling’ at Uppsala University, Sweden (MSc; 2007-2008).
My graduate training (PhD; 2008-2012) took place at the Neurogenetics Unit of Karolinska Institutet (KI), Sweden, under the main supervision of Dr. Catharina Lavebratt at the Dept. of Molecular Medicine and Surgery. During my PhD training, I gained extensive knowledge in using molecular, epigenetic and genetic methodologies to study psychiatric disorders, with focus on depression and schizophrenia. Following the defense of my PhD thesis, I continued with a short postdoctoral stay at Karolinska Institutet, primarily aimed at completing a number of projects in the field of molecular psychiatry that had started already during my graduate training.
Next, I got accepted as a postdoctoral fellow at Dr. Eric Kandel’s lab at the Dept. of Neuroscience, Columbia University, USA (Postdoc; 2013-2018). During my postdoctoral stay at the Kandel lab, I gained insights into a new scientific area of expertise that focused on brain reward and stress-response systems, and how their dysregulation contributes to psychiatric disorders such as substance use and addiction.
In 2019, I was recruited back to Karolinska Institutet by the Director of the Center of Psychiatry Research at the Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience, Dr. Nitya Jayaram-Lindström. My return to Karolinska Institutet, currently in the position of a Senior Research Specialist, was the first essential step in the process of establishing myself as an independent researcher and of developing an independent line of research by leading translational studies in the field of substance use disorders.
A complete list of all research publications is found in the link below.