George Bertsias, MD, PhD
Rheumatology Clinic and Laboratory of Rheumatology, Autoimmunity and Inflammation,
Department of Internal Medicine –
University of Crete Medical School
Lab web page: http://www.imbb.forth.gr/people/boumpas/group_II.html
Systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases affect collectively 1 to 2% of the adult population with predisposition to young and middle-aged women, and are associated with significant morbidity risks and increased direct and indirect health care costs. The etiopathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is complex and involves genetic and environmental factors.
The focus of our research is on the genomics and regulation of immune activation through costimulatory receptors in systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases, focusing on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
More specifically, we are interested in:
a) Exploring the transcriptome in various immune cell subsets in the peripheral blood and affected tissues from patients and animal models with autoimmunity
b) Understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation including the role of microRNAs in the context of autoimmune diseases
c) The role of costimulatory receptors in regulating aberrant T- and B-cells responses ex vivo and in vivo, and exploring their potential as novel therapeutic targets
d) The role of autophagy and oxidative stress in acquisition of abnormal immune cell phenotype
e) The role of alarmins and other danger signals in enhancing the function of specific immune cell subsets such as the plasmacytoid dendritic cells
Our research is funded by the FOREUM program and the Ministries of Education and Development of Hellas