Volos, Greece

University of Thessaly

Volos, Greece

The University of Thessaly is a university in Thessaly, Greece, founded in 1984. The university is based in Volos, but operates campuses in Larissa, Trikala, Karditsa and Lamia. The university comprises five schools—Humanities and Social science, Engineering, Agricultural science, Health science and science. Each department has its own associated student organization. Wikipedia.

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Pitsikas N.,University of Thessaly
European Journal of Pharmacology | Year: 2014

Anxiety-related disorders are a common public health issue. Several lines of evidence suggest that altered glutamatergic neurotransmission underlies anxiety. Thus, novel molecules targeting glutamatergic neurotransmission, such as ligands of the metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGlurs) might be promising candidates for the treatment of anxiety disorders. To date, several ligands selective for each mGlu receptor (mGlur) have been synthesized, and pharmacological significances of these compounds have been demonstrated mainly in animal models. Here we critically review advances in research of these emerging molecular targets for the treatment of anxiety, discuss their advantages over currently used anxiolytics as well as remaining challenges. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Pitsikas N.,University of Thessaly
European Journal of Pharmacology | Year: 2015

Schizophrenia is a complex and chronic mental health disease that affects nearly 1% of the population worldwide. While the current antipsychotic medications have profoundly impacted the treatment of schizophrenia over the past 50 years, the newer atypical antipsychotics have not fulfilled initial expectations, and enormous challenges remain in long-term treatment of this debilitating disease. In particular, improved treatment of the negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia which greatly impact overall morbidity is required. Nitric oxide (NO) is considered as an intra- and inter-cellular messenger in the brain. The implication of NO in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia is documented. Specifically, underproduction of NO is linked to this pathology. This, in turn, indicates that enhancement of nitrergic activity might be beneficial in this disease. Therefore, novel molecules aiming to increase NO production such as NO donors might constitute potential candidates for the treatment of schizophrenia. Here I intended to critically review advances in research of these emerging molecules for the treatment of this psychiatric disorder. Present analysis suggests that NO donors might be a promising class of compounds for the treatment of schizophrenia. However, the potential neurotoxicity and the narrow therapeutic window of NO donors would add a note of caution in this context. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP | Award Amount: 1.77M | Year: 2013

Pesticides still constitute an integral part of modern agriculture. Upon their release, pesticides interact with soil microbes in contrasting ways. On the one hand they stimulate microbial activity and proliferation of a specific fraction of the microbial community which could utilize them as energy source resulting in their rapid biodegradation and loss of biological efficacy. On the other hand they induce inhibitory effects on the structure and/or on the function of the microbial community, the latter having detrimental effects on ecosystem functioning. So far pesticide legislation has largely ignored these aspects and pesticide soil ecotoxicity tests relies solely on simple C and N mineralization tests which do not provide a reliable assessment of pesticide impact on soil microbes. The introduction of fingerprinting molecular methods, qPCR, high throughput sequencing analysis, microarrays and omics have substantially advanced our knowledge on soil microbial ecology. However, these dynamic tools have not been utilized yet to shed light into soil microbes - pesticides interactions. This project aims to introduce these highly dynamic tools in combination with chemical analysis of pesticides and their metabolites to shed light into those interactions and the factors deciding which way the balance with go (stimulation or inhibition). This will be achieved via collaboration of two industrial and three academic partners with complementary expertise in molecular microbial ecology, soil microbiology, pesticide metabolism and the establishment of a staff exchange scheme. This apart from the achievement of the scientific and technological goals of the project will facilitate technology transfer between partners and open communication channels between Academia - Industry. Further the project is expected to support increasing communication with standardization foundations (ISO) and EU policy making bodies regarding pesticides (EFSA)

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: OCEAN 2013.1 | Award Amount: 5.56M | Year: 2013

SMS will deliver a novel automated networked system that will enable real-time in situ monitoring of marine water chemical and ecological status in coastal areas by the detection of a series of contaminants regulated by the MSFD. SMS will design a multi-modular apparatus that will host in a single unitthe Main Box (MB)a Sampling Module and an Analysis Module. The former will contain sample collection and treatment components, whereas the latter will include four biosensor sub-modules that will enable detection and measurement of algal toxins and their associated algal species; several hazardous compounds (tributyltin, diuron and pentaBDPE); sulphonamides and a series of standard water quality parameters. The MB will be equipped with a communication module for real-time data transfer to a control center, where data processing will take place, enabling alarm functionality to Health Warning Systems, whenever some critical value exceeds a pre-defined threshold. It will be placed on a floating platform or buoy positioned in loco at defined locations. SMS will also develop a Specific Marine Pollution Metric that will combine real-time data of pollutant concentrations and water quality parameters, to produce a quantitative assessment of marine water quality. All work will culminate in showcasing the projects results in three demonstration sites: in La Spezia, Italy, in the Slovenian Adriatic Sea and in the Alonissos marine park in Greece. The consortium brings together skills from industry and academia to address the proposed work program. The record track of the partners is a strong indication that the project will achieve its ambitious objectives and make a lasting impact through its exploitation plan. The technology development and test cases bring together a multi-sectorial team of experts interacting with endusers and marine water stakeholders, demonstrating that ICT, biotechnology and nanotechnology can increase the potential of biosensors for marine applications

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: INCO.2013-1.1 | Award Amount: 2.35M | Year: 2014

INCONET-GCC2s overall goal is to support the institutional bi-regional policy dialogue in Science, Technology and Innovation, to strengthen the bi-regional cooperation between research and innovation actors, especially in the context of the upcoming Horizon 2020 programme and finally to monitor progress in the bi-regional STI cooperation. INCONET-GCC2 builds on the results of previous cooperation activities with the Arab Gulf Countries (INCONET-GCC 1st phase, www.icnonet-gcc.eu) while it focuses on selected societal challenges of mutual interest as identified during the previous collaboration. INCONET-GCC2 explores now to achieve win-win across national, multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches can be spurred in response to these issues while also realising and underpinning new pathbreaking kinds of capacity-building and organising clustering activities around the selected research priorities. Specifically: (1) Implement a series of analyses feeding the policy dialogue and increasing its efficiency, monitoring INCONET-GCC2s own activities, with particular emphasis on their sustainability, and implementing coherent dissemination activities in order to increase its visibility and impact; (2) Built of best practices towards the future in order to promote joint research though clustering activities within the selected societal challenges and organise thematic workshops in Health, Energy, Innovation and Security and ICT, Food towards EU-GCC Joint Call for proposals; (3) Enhance capacity building through the delivery of the facilitation of researcher mobility, summer schools, the support of the NCPs and their expansion in order to cover the selected societal challenges and the organisation of information days and brokerage events in all Arab Gulf countries; (4) Roadmap future research activities and provide recommendations to the EC and the national regulatory and funding authorities; (5)Raise awareness and disseminate information.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2013.3.1-01 | Award Amount: 8.88M | Year: 2013

Mankind is continually screening low-molecular-weight compounds from a plethora of synthetic and natural sources in the search for molecules with novel or superior pharmaceutical, agrochemical or other biological activities. In this regard, plants are a potentially rich source of bioactive molecules. Because of their extreme diversity and complex chemistry, however, plant metabolism is still underexplored. Consequently, the full potential of plant-derived, low-molecular weight, bioactive compounds is still largely untapped. The TriForC consortium will tackle this issue by establishing an integrative and innovative pipeline for the exploitation of plant triterpenes, one of the largest classes of plant bioactive compounds with an astonishing array of structural diversity and spectrum of biological activities. The TriForC partners each bring to the consortium the necessary tools, resources, methods and production systems required to assemble the pipeline and produce high value plant bioactives for commercialisation for use as e.g. new drugs or agrochemicals. The TriForC consortia will identify new bioactive triterpenes from natural resources by exploring biodiversity. To increase diversity and bioactivity, new-to-nature triterpenes will be derived by semi-synthesis and by an elaborate metabolic engineering platform in plant and microalgal bioreactor-based production systems. To unleash the potential of triterpenes for green biotechnology, structure-activity relationships for triterpenoids will be explored via high throughput screenings for novel chemical entities with potential agrochemical and pharmacological applications. TriForC will further develop and upscale plant-based bioreactors for sustainable commercial production and bio-refining of high-value triterpenes. The TriForC project will guarantee a sustainable and industrially exploitable supply of high value plant compounds with new or superior biological activities ready for commercialisation.

Pitsikas N.,University of Thessaly
Behavioural Brain Research | Year: 2015

The novel object recognition task (NORT) assesses recognition memory in animals. It is a non-rewarded paradigm that it is based on spontaneous exploratory behavior in rodents. This procedure is widely used for testing the effects of compounds on recognition memory. Recognition memory is a type of memory severely compromised in schizophrenic and Alzheimer's disease patients. Nitric oxide (NO) is sought to be an intra- and inter-cellular messenger in the central nervous system and its implication in learning and memory is well documented. Here I intended to critically review the role of NO-related compounds on different aspects of recognition memory. Current analysis shows that both NO donors and NO synthase (NOS) inhibitors are involved in object recognition memory and suggests that NO might be a promising target for cognition impairments. However, the potential neurotoxicity of NO would add a note of caution in this context. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Papadopoulos N.T.,University of Thessaly
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Since 1954, when the first tropical tephritid fruit fly was detected in California, a total of 17 species in four genera and 11 386 individuals (adults/larvae) have been detected in the state at more than 3348 locations in 330 cities. We conclude from spatial mapping analyses of historical capture patterns and modelling that, despite the 250+ emergency eradication projects that have been directed against these pests by state and federal agencies, a minimum of five and as many as nine or more tephritid species are established and widespread, including the Mediterranean, Mexican and oriental fruit flies, and possibly the peach, guava and melon fruit flies. We outline and discuss the evidence for our conclusions, with particular attention to the incremental, chronic and insidious nature of the invasion, which involves ultra-small, barely detectable populations. We finish by considering the implications of our results for invasion biology and for science-based invasion policy.

The evidence from epidemiological studies on the association between exposure to traffic and aircraft noise and hypertension and ischemic heart disease has increased during the recent years. Both road traffic and aircraft noise increase the risk of high blood pressure. Environmental noise mapping, as per the 2002/49/EC Directive, is an obligation of all European Union (EU) member states. In the framework of the present article a complete Strategic Noise Mapping research and Action Noise Plans assessment and evaluation are presented and aim to access land use management as an effective tool for protection from aircraft noise. The case of the Larnaka International Airport in Cyprus, a typical Mediterranean airport, (considered as a "large airport" according to the above EU Directive and the recent Cyprus Legislation Law No. 224(Ι)/2004), is presented. In this paper a review of both assessment and action implementation procedures focusing on the dominant - in the area - aircraft traffic noise is presented, with emphasis to (a) a full calculation of Strategic Noise Map (SNM) scenarios of actual and future airport operation using the ECAC.CEAC Doc 29 methodology for both EU common indicators L den and L night in scales of 5dB, (b) a full evaluation of results with emphasis to the Larnaka greater area land uses and the exposure of inhabitants in residences in various levels of environmental noise, and (c) a full evaluation of Noise Action Plans (NAP) introducing especially a new land use management scheme for the future Larnaka Town Land Use Plan. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Tsezou A.,University of Thessaly
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage | Year: 2014

Recent developments in genetics/genomics of osteoarthritis (OA) are discussed to improve our understanding of OA pathophysiology. The discovery of a novel variant near the NCOA3 (nuclear receptor coactivator 3) gene associated with hip OA and the regulation of GDF5 gene by four transcription factors via the OA susceptibility locus rs143383 are among important findings in OA genetics. Several microarray-based gene expression studies were published for different tissues of the joint. In OA synovium elevation of collagens and cross-linking enzymes (COL1A1, COL5A1, PLOD2, LOX and TIMP1) responsive to TGF-β was found as well as differential expression pattern between different areas of the osteoarthritic synovial membrane. In OA peripheral blood the role of apoptotic genes was highlighted, while whole genome expression profiling in OA subchondral bone and cartilage revealed common genes in cartilage and bone to be involved in OA development. In epigenetics, several microRNAs (miRNAs) were found to regulate genes' expression in chondrocytes, among which miR-125, miR-127b miR-21, miR-148a and their use as potential drug targets was highlighted. Future studies must focus on the integration of genetics, genomics and epigenetics for the identification of signaling pathways and regulatory networks responsible for OA development. © 2014 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.

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