Kostas Vekrellis, PhD
Associate Professor at Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens
Location: Athens, Greece
After completing his PhD, Dr. Kostas Vekrellis received a research fellowship from Harvard Medical School to work in Dr. Dennis Selkoe's laboratory in the Center for Neurologic Diseases. He joined the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens in 2002 and currently is an associate professor in the Division for Basic Neurosciences.
The main interest of Dr. Vekrellis is the role of protein oligomerization, misfolding and aggregation as it relates to neurodegeneration. He has primarily focused on how misfolded proteins accumulate and are cleared in the brain, and how defects in protein degradation may lead to neurological disease states such as Parkinsonís disease. He and his group have succeeded in identifying and isolating specific oligomeric species of secreted alpha-synuclein and in assessing their individual toxic effects on neuronal and glia cells. Recent work from the lab has shown that neuronal cells readily secrete oligomeric synuclein species partly via an exosome-mediated manner. They recently demonstrated that synuclein release is physiological in model and human brain parenchyma, where it can be cleared by the action of specific enzymes.†