Vassiliki Nikoletopoulou, PhD

 Researcher C’


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Tel: +30-2810391988

Lab web page:


2002     BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology – University of Ottawa, Canada

2004     MA in Neuroscience – University of Basel, Switzerland (Yves-Alain Barde lab)

2009     PhD in Neuroscience – University of Basel, Switzerland (Yves-Alain Barde lab)

2011     Postdoctoral Fellow­– IMBB/FORTH (Tavernarakis lab)


Research Interests

The main interest of our group is to investigate the process of autophagic degradation in mammalian neurons. Autophagy is a highly conserved degradative pathway that recycles macromolecules as well as damaged or superfluous organelles by delivering them to the lysosome. Baseline autophagy is crucial for neuronal integrity and its deregulation causes severe synaptic defects and autistic behaviors. Despite this, the regulation of autophagy in neurons remains elusive. Our research aims to characterize the molecular mechanisms that regulate autophagy in the mammalian brain and to reveal the functional roles and cargo of autophagy in neurons and synapses. To this end, we employ genetic tools, such as conditional mouse knockouts and transgenic mouse reporters, along with biochemical techniques



·         ERC starting grant-Neurophagy

·         ITN-HealthAge


Recent Publications or Selected Publications (5)

1.Nikoletopoulou, V., Plachta, N., Allen, N.D:, Pinto L., Götz, M. and Barde, Y.-A. (2007) Neurotrophin receptor-mediated death of misspecified neurons generated from embryonic stem cells lacking Pax6. Cell Stem Cell 1, 529-540.

2. Nikoletopoulou, V., Frade, J.-M., Rencurel, C., Lickert, H., Giallonardo, P., Bibel, M., Barde, Y.-A. (2010) Neurotrophin receptors TrkA and TrkC cause neuronal death whereas TrkB does not. Nature 467, 59-63.

3. Tiwari, V.K.*, Burger, L.*, Nikoletopoulou, V.*, Deogracias, R., Thakurela, S., Wirbelauer, C., Kaut, J., Terranova, R., Hoerner, L., Mielke, C., Boege, F., Murr, R., Peters, A.H., Barde, Y.A., Schuebeler, D. (2012) Target genes of Topoisomerase IIb regulate neuronal survival and are defined by their chromatin state. PNAS 109, 934-43.

4. Kourtis, N., Nikoletopoulou, V., and Tavernarakis, N. (2012) Small heat shock proteins protect from heat stroke-associated neurodegeneration. Nature 490(7419):213-8.

5. Nikoletopoulou, V., Sidiropoulou, K., Kallergi, E., Dalezios, Y. and Tavernarakis, N. (2017) Modulation of autophagy by BDNF underlies synaptic plasticity. Cell Metabolism26, 230–242.