Laboratory of Molecular Genetics

& Pharmacogenomics-Toxicogenomics

 

Director: Dr. Sotiria Boukouvala, Associate Professor

 

Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics,

Building 10, University Campus, Alexandroupolis 68100, Greece.

Tel.: +30-25510-30632, Fax. (Departmental): +30-25510-30613, email: sboukouv@mbg.duth.gr

More info: http://utopia.duth.gr/~sboukouv/Sotiria_Boukouvala_BIO.pdf and http://nat.mbg.duth.gr/

 

Scientific interests

The group undertakes comparative genomic and functional investigations of enzymes that modulate the effects of chemicals (drugs, carcinogens, pollutants, toxic agents etc.) on living organisms. Current projects investigate a family of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, called arylamine N-acetyltransferases (NATs), which serve diverse metabolic functions in prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms of medical and/or biotechnological relevance. In humans, the highly polymorphic NAT genes have been landmark examples of how genetic variability may determine individual susceptibility to chemical carcinogenesis and drug induced toxicity.

The group also maintains a strong biomedical-biotechnological orientation, building on the director's previous experience in the diagnostics and the pharmaceutical industry. Research ventures in that area have included cross-border collaboration with Bulgaria on molecular diagnosis of sexually transmitted viral infections, an industry-academia collaboration exploring nanotechnologies for targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs and a project integrating sophisticated technologies to enable prediction of drug-resistance mutations in cancer pharmaceutical targets.

Expertise and infrastructure

The laboratory shares its infrastructure with the Laboratory of Human Genetics & Model Organisms and is fully equipped to support methodologies ranging from in silico genomic surveys to advanced molecular genetic and biochemical applications. Current expertise includes high-throughput PCR and real-time PCR, cloning, protein expression and purification, western blot, various spectrophotometric, chemiluminescent and fluorescent assays, differential scanning fluorimetry, pulse field gel electrophoresis, cell culture, microbiology, etc.

Available equipment includes a DNA 4x96 Engine Tetrad for PCR (MJ), a TECAN M1000 reader for colorimetric, chemiluminescent or fluorescent in vitro/cell-based assays, a BioRad ChemiDoc XRS+ Imaging System for gels and chemiluminsescent blots, a Nanodrop spectrophotometer (Thermo), a BioRad Experion Automated System for chip-based electrophoresis and qualitative/quantitative analysis of RNA/DNA and protein, various specialized electrophoresis instruments (e.g. for PFGE, E-gels etc.), electroporator, sonicator, various incubators, -80C freezer, etc.

The laboratory has three dedicated areas, one for PCR (with sterile hood), a second for microbiology (equipped with a BL2 hood, incubator and microscopes) and a third for cell culture (equipped with a BL2-Cytotoxic hood, inverted microscope, CO2 incubator and accessory instruments). Access to real-time PCR equipment and communal state-of-the-art departmental facilities (e.g. surface plasmon resonance technology and confocal microscopy) is also available locally.

Current International Collaborations

  Prof. (emer.) Edith Sim (Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, UK) and Dr. Ali Ryan (Department of Science, Computing and Engineering, Kingston University London, UK)

  Prof. Károly Márialigeti (Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, Eötvos Loránd University of Budapest, Hungary)

  Dr. Anthony E. Glenn (Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, Athens, GA, USA)

  Dr. Audrey Sabbagh (Université Paris-Décartes, Paris, France)

  Dr. Estella Poloni (Department of Genetics and Evolution, Université de Genève)

  Prof. Rodney F. Minchin (School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia)