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Funded Studies

Demetrios K. Vassilatis, PhD

Investigator at Foundation for Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens (IIBEAA)

Location: Athens Greece

Demetrios Vassilatis received his PhD from the department of Genetics and Development of Columbia University in 1995 and subsequently he was a Research Scientist at Merck Research Labs until 1998. From 1998 to 2001 he was an Assistant Professor at the Huffington Centre on Aging and at the department of Molecular and Cell Biology at Baylor College of Medicine. In 2001 he co-founded Primal Inc., now part of Omeros Corp., a biotechnology company in Seattle, WA, and served as Senior Scientific Director. Initially, he focused on deciphering the mode of action of avermectins, the most commonly used broad-spectrum antiparasitics, and explain their mechanism of action. In the area of Functional Genomics Dr. Vassilatis received a Career Development Award and used transposable elements and retroviruses to create libraries of human cells and mouse ES cells harbouring random insertions throughout the genome that would allow real time expression monitoring and the generation of KO animals. At Baylor College of Medicine he developed an interest in neurodegenerative diseases. He theorized that genes involved in the development of dopaminergic neurons may also be involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson‰Ûªs disease and identified two mutations in the gene encoding the orphan nuclear receptor Nurr1. His lab is working on understanding Parkinson‰Ûªs disease pathogenesis, identifying key proteins and evaluating them as drug targets.

Associated Grants

  • Validation of Nurr1 as a Drug Target for the Treatment of PD


  • Two-Hit Pre-clinical Models for Parkinson’s Disease


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