Dr. Apostolos Klinakis studied Biology at the University of Crete. He earned his Ph.D. from the same Department in 2002. He then moved to the United States for his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Argiris Efstratiadis at Columbia University. During his tenure at Columbia Dr. Klinakis got training in mouse genetics and mouse transgenesis using knock-in/knockout technologies in ES cells. He developed mouse models of conditional mutagenesis to study the collaborative action of signaling pathways which leads to mammary tumorigenesis. In 2009, Dr. Klinakis joined the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA) as an Assistant Professor level Investigator. Since 2019, he has been serving as Full Professor level Investigator and is leading the Cancer Biology group at BRFAA.
The Cancer Biology group is studying basic aspects of tumorigenesis using mouse models as the primary research tool. We generate genetically engineered mouse models of cancer using gene targeting and advanced gene editing techniques such as CRISP/Cas9. Moreover, in collaboration with surgeons, we obtain surgical tumor samples from cancer patients and use them for the generation of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) in mice. PDX tumors grown in mice closely resemble the human disease and are considered powerful tools for preclinical studies. Moreover, we employ ex vivo cultures of organoids and tissue explants from normal and tumor tissue as a high throughput tool to address normal stem and cancer stem cell properties. More recently, we have started gaining experience in Organ-on-chip tools, in an attempt to approach more complex biological questions without the need for in vivo mouse studies.