Since 2002 Dr. Vekrellis has been a Researcher in the Division of Basic Neurosceiences at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA). In April 2012, he was appointed a visiting professorship at the the University of Oxford, Division of Exerimental Medicine, Nuffield department of Medicine.
Dr. Vekrellis has extensive experience in cellular and animal models of neurodegeneration, as well as human histopathology, particularly related to Alzheimer’s Disease. His lab interests lie in the role of protein oligomerization, misfolding and aggregation, with respect to neurodegenerative disease.
The Vekrellis Lab is investigating mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Many neurodegenerative diseases, including prion disease, Alzhmeimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease are characterized by the accumulation of proteins with specific conformational states harboring beta sheet-rich secondary structures. These result in oligomeric species and plaque and tangle formation or formation of intracellular fibrillar aggregates. Such aberrant conformations appear to be toxic to neurons and to lead to death in the adult nervous sytem, but exactly which species are involved is unclear. Although speculated, a direct effect between α-synuclein oligomers and neuronal dysfunction has not yet been demonstrated. Furthermore, the mechanisms through which intracellular soluble oligomers exert their aberrant effects on neurons are largely unknown.