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Spyridon Theofilopoulos

Spyridon Theofilopoulos has been elected Associate Professor in Swansea University Medical School, UK, after being awarded a prestigious Sêr Cymru II Rising Star grant by the Welsh government. He has completed a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology, both at Imperial College London. He then worked as a postdoctoral scientist in the Biomedical Research Foundation, Athens, and as a lecturer in the School of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Greece. Subsequently he was ‘Forskare’ (Senior Researcher/Assistant Professor level) for several years in the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. He has been a member of the Onassis Foundation Scholars’ association since 2009.

His research work has resulted in several publications in high-impact journals including Nature Chemical Biology (Theofilopoulos et al., 2013), The Journal of Clinical Investigation (Theofilopoulos*, Griffiths* et al., 2014), Cell Stem Cell (Sacchetti et al., 2009) and several other. He has obtained funding for his research activities from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), the Onassis Foundation, the Welsh Government and from several other funding bodies. Furthermore, he has won the first prize in the mathematical contest ‘Eydoxos’ in Athens, Greece, and he has been invited speaker in several international neuroscience and biochemistry conferences and meetings. He also has extensive collaboration with several pharmaceutical companies and with scientists in internationally-renowned universities. Collaborative work with Teva Pharmaceuticals included research on the novel compound Rasagiline for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease; this compound has been on the market since 2006 under the name Azilect™. His more recent collaborative research work has resulted in several EU and US patents and he is co-founder of the Swansea University spin-off limited company ‘CholesteniX’ to develop specific cholesterol metabolites for Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease therapy.

His main research interest is to unravel the importance of lipid metabolism in neurodegenerative disorders, an area that has been suspected for several years but has not been studied extensively and elucidated. His research work focuses on the working hypothesis that defects in lipid metabolism are strongly associated with neurodegenerative disorders, and that specific lipid molecules could become the starting point for therapeutic drug development aiming to prevent neuronal degeneration.