Maria Monastirioti PhD


Senior Staff Scientist

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology –


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Tel: xx30-2810-391117

Lab web page:




1980-1984      BS in Biology

1985-1990      PhD in Molecular Genetics

1990-1991      Postdoctoral Fellow (Harvard Medical School- Boston USA)

1991-1995      Postdoctoral Fellow (Brandeis University –Boston USA)


Research Interests

For our studies we use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a model organism with a wide repertoire of   technical advances for genetic and molecular analysis  at the whole organism level. Our research interests relate to
a) transcriptional regulation mechanisms governing neuronal and non-neuronal cell fate determination. We focus on Notch signaling and its effectors in the establishment of distinct identities of post mitotic cells.
b) the development of neurochemical specificity of distinct neuronal cell types in the mature nervous system by focusing on the regulation of the Tyramine β-hydroxylase (Tβh)gene that characterizes neurons producing Octopamine, a Noradrenaline analogue that controls many physiological processes and behaviors in insects.  We also pursue generation and analysis of Octopamine deficient insects with an emphasis in their reproductive activity and their response to stress.



Selected Publications

1. Delidakis C., Monastirioti M., Magadi S.S. (2014) E(spl): genetic, developmental, and evolutionary aspects of a group of invertebrate Hes proteins with close ties to Notch signaling. Curr Top Dev Biol110(): 217-62

2. Monastirioti M, Giagtzoglou N, Koumbanakis KA, Zacharioudaki E, Deligiannaki M, Wech I, Almeida M, Preiss A, Bray S, Delidakis C. (2010) Drosophila Hey is a target of Notch in asymmetric divisions during embryonic and larval neurogenesis. Development 137:191-201.

3. Gruntenko NE, Chentsova NA, Bogomolova EV, Karpova EK, Glazko GV, Faddeeva NV, Monastirioti M, Rauschenbach I Yu. (2004) The effect of mutations altering biogenic amine metabolism in Drosophila on viability and the response to heat stress. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 5:555-67.

4. Monastirioti M. (2003) Distinct octopamine cell population residing in the CNS abdominal ganglion controls ovulation in Drosophila melanogaster. Developmental Biology 264:38-49. 

5. Schwaerzel M, Monastirioti M,Scholz H, Friggi-Grelin F, Birman S, Heisenberg M. (2003) Dopamine and octopamine differentiate between aversive and appetitive olfactory memories in Drosophila. Journal of Neuroscience 23:10495-502.