Theodoros Simakou
20192021

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Overview

My research is focused at studying transcript expression during T cell activation upon chemical and mechanical stimuli. Just like all mammal cells, immune cells are also responsive to mechanical forces applied on them. Altered physical parameters in disease states have shown to enhance immune cell recruitment and activation, resulting in inflammation. This inflammation can be benefitial short term as the combination of the chemical and mechanical stimuli enhances the immune responses. However, since the scarred tissues and damaged organs have permanent alterations of their physical properties ( e.g. increased Young's modulus), such mechanical perturbations could result in persiting inflammation and chronic disease states. 

Throughout my PhD project I investigated the expression pattens of genes encoding the professional mechanosensor PIEZO1, as well as genes encoding for mechanosensory proteins polycystin 1 and polycystin 2. Recently, PIEZO1 was identified as a crucial channel involved in mechanotransduction which regulates cytoskeleton via Ca2+ signalling, and thus contributes to the stabilisation of the immune synapse and optimisation of TCR activation.  In addition, the project studied the expression of many transcription factors, such as those of the TCF/LEF family, in Jurkat, CD8 T cells and monocytes.  

As part of my project, I also investigated whether nanovibrational stimulation could be used to influence T cell activation and monocyte to macrophage differentiation. Such stimulus was tested in vitro to assess if it could be used as alternative treatment for alopecia areata. 

External positions

Technician , West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre

Jun 2016Sep 2016

Trainee Biomedical Scientist, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

Jan 2016Jun 2016

Trainee Biologist, Laiko General Hospital of Athens

Jun 2014Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Q Science (General)
  • Mechanobiology
  • Immunology
  • Alopecia areata
  • Biomedical Research

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