Current Faculty and Staff
Dimitrios Iliopoulos, PhD, MBA
Director, Center for Systems Biomedicine
Director, Iliopoulos Laboratory
Associate Professor of Medicine
Dr. Iliopoulos performed his undergraduate studies in the Department of Biology at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He performed his PhD studies in the Integrative Biomedical Science Graduate Program at Ohio State University and graduated at 2006. Then, Dr. Iliopoulos performed his postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Struhl, a world expert in molecular genetics. At 2010, Dr. Iliopoulos become an assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Immunology & AIDS at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and in the Department of Microbiology & Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. Currently, Dr. Iliopoulos is an associate professor in the Division of Digestive Diseases at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and also is the director of the Center for Systems Biomedicine, which is a high technology drug discovery center at UCLA.
Dr. Iliopoulos has more than 100 publications in top tier scientific journals including Cell, Cancer Cell, Molecular Cell, PNAS, Cancer Research and Gastroenterology. In addition, Dr. Iliopoulos in a relatively brief period has received several awards, including a prestigious Career Development Award from the American Association for Cancer Research and a Kimmel Scholar Award from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation. In addition, more recently, Dr. Iliopoulos has received several awards/grants (HITI/Helmsley Trust Award, Charles H. Hood Foundation Award) for his work on inflammatory bowel diseases.
Dr. Iliopoulos has extensive experience with the development and use of high throughput technologies and systems biology approaches. His innovative methodology has revolutionized and expedited the drug discovery process and he is interested in applied these strategies in order to identify novel therapeutic agents against different gastrointestinal diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases and colon, liver and pancreatic cancers. Dr. Iliopoulos research revealed that metformin, an anti-diabetic drug, targets cancer stem cells and these data led to the initiation of several phase II and phase III clinical trials all over the world, combining chemotherapy together with metformin. Furthermore, Dr. Iliopoulos is a full member of several professional societies, including the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB).
Swapna Joshi, PhD
Dr. Swapna Joshi (Mahurkar) received her undergraduate (1997-2000) and master's degree (2000-2002) at Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. She received her PhD degree in 2008 from Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India. After serving as a research scientist at Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad, India, for over a year Swapna started her postdoctoral research at University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, with Dr. Michael Goran in 2009. She was a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Peter Laird's lab at USC Epigenome Center before moving to UCLA. Currently, Dr. Joshi is a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Digestive Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine of UCLA.
Dr. Joshi's research interests include analysis and integration of data from various molecular biology platforms such as miRNA, mRNA and DNA methylation in various cancers including breast and pancreatic carcinoma, gastrointestinal diseases including IBS and IBD using bioinformatics tools, in order to identify novel pathways and therapeutic targets against these diseases. She was responsible for DNA methylation data analysis for breast cancer for 'The Cancer Genome Atlas' consortium projects and she integrated data from various molecular platforms such as mRNA expression, miRNA, mutation, copy number and protein expression. Dr. Joshi has published over 20 papers in peer reviewed high impact journals including Nature.
Marina Koutsioumpa, PhD
Dr. Koutsioumpa received her first BSc in chemistry from the Department of Chemistry (2001-2005) and her second BSc in pharmacy (2006-2010) from the Department of Pharmacy at University of Patras in Greece. She received her masters (2007) and PhD (2013) in molecular pharmacology and clinical pharmacy from the same university. Dr. Koutsioumpa, has recently joined Dr. Iliopoulos laboratory in the Division of Digestive Diseases at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA as a postdoctoral researcher. Her primary research goals were directed toward the identification of proteins that interact with angiogenic factors implicated in tumor growth and the elucidation of their functional role.
Dr. Koutsioumpa has authored seven original research articles, three review articles, and one book chapter. In addition, Dr. Koutsioumpa is recipient of a doctoral fellowship by ESF (European Social Fund) and has been awarded several times for her oral presentations in scientific conferences. Currently, Dr. Koutsioumpa is interested in studying the role of epigenetic regulators in the development of gastrointestinal cancers, in order to identify targets and novel therapeutic agents against these diseases.
Artin Soroosh, MS
Mr. Soroosh graduated with a BS in biological sciences from UC Irvine (2008-2012) and received an MS in medical physiology from Case Western Reserve University (2012-2014). Currently, he is working towards a PhD in molecular, cellular, and integrative physiology at UCLA.
For his masters thesis project and two subsequent years following graduation, he worked in the lab of Dr. Carol de la Motte in the Department of Pathobiology of the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. There, he studied the role of the extracellular matrix in Crohn's disease pathology, particularly focusing on the development of fibrosis. In a publication resulting from this work, he described a novel hyaluronan-degrading protein and its regulation in Crohn's disease colonic fibroblasts. He presented his work at numerous digestive disease and glycobiology conferences.
His general research interests lie in the pathogenesis of diseases, with a particular passion for inflammatory bowel disease. His PhD work will consist of uncovering novel epigenetic targets for therapeutic intervention with the ultimate goal of developing drugs to treat inflammatory bowel disease.
Former Faculty and Staff
Stavroula Baritaki, PhD
Dr. Baritaki was program leader and assistant researcher for the Center for Systems Biomedicine for the Iliopoulos Laboratory at UCLA. Her research focus is to identify the immune cell composition of pancreatic tumors and study the role of the tumor microenvironment in the development of drug resistance in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Baritaki is the recipient of several Awards for Basic and/or Translational Cancer Research and the inventor of one biomedical patent. She has also authored more than 43 original research articles, 16 review articles, and three book chapters.
Maria Hatziapostolou, PhD
Dr. Hatziapostolou was program leader for GI Cancer Biology Program at the Center for Systems Biomedicine. Her research includes liver and pancreatic cancer.
Iordanis Karagiannidis, PhD
Dr. Karagiannidis's research was to study the extent of abdominal fat tissue involvement in the generation of inflammation during inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Georgios Koukos, PhD
Dr. Koukos was a research associate for the Iliopoulos Laboratory at UCLA.
Tiziana Palumbo, PhD
Dr. Palumbo was a research associate for the Iliopoulos Laboratory at UCLA.
David Padua, MD, PhD
Dr. Padua's research interests include cell-signaling mechanisms in complex biological disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Utilizing high-throughput technologies, he hopes to uncover new therapeutic and diagnostic tools for these clinical diseases. He is currently a faculty member at the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases and has his own laboratory >
Christos Polytarchou, PhD
Dr. Polytarchou was program leader for the IBD Program at the Center for Systems Biomedicine. His research included IBD and colon cancer.
Christina Vorvis, PhD
Dr. Vorvis graduated from UCLA with her PhD in molecular, cellular & integrative physiology. Her dissertation work used transcriptomic and CRISPR/Cas9 technologies to reveal FOXA2 as a novel tumor suppressor gene in pancreatic cancer.