5 minutes with visiting trainee Apostolos Mourtzinos

What is your position at your institution and where are you from? Although I am originally from Greece, I studied Biology (BSc) at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. As for my current position at my institution, I’m not affiliated with an academic institution at the moment, as I’ve just graduated. However, I will soon start my PhD at the University Medical Center Groningen.

What are your research interests? During my academic career I have been exposed to multiple research topics in the fields of biology and biomedical sciences, varying from researching mechanisms of plant immunity to studying macromolecular interactions in human diseases. Currently, my research interests concern the role of human LINE-1 retrotransposons in healthy aging and disease. To improve our understanding of how activation of LINE-1s contributes to disease, we employ affinity capture and mass spectrometry along with other biochemical techniques to identify interactions responsible for disease progression and to dissect its mechanisms of action. Despite my focus on LINE-1 biology, I have been involved in several other projects, including the characterization of affinity-captured DNAJB1-PRKACA protein interactome in fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a pediatric liver cancer, whose oncogenesis is driven by a genetic fusion event between DNAJB1-PRKACA.

What motivated you to collaborate and work with us? After gaining research experience in Europe, I’ve been eager to explore the research environment in the United States, particularly at a renowned institution, like the Rockefeller University. My goal is to learn new techniques for macromolecular interactome discovery that will benefit my future academic career. Additionally, I will have a chance to expand my professional network in a region known for its advanced research and the extensive expertise of its researchers.

What do you hope to gain from your experience at NCDIR? In what ways do you think the NCDIR is best equipped to help you achieve your research goals? Foremost, my primary goal is to acquire a deeper understanding of uncovering dysregulated macromolecular interactions in disease and mastering innovative data analysis techniques. Additionally, I intend to enhance my collaborative and interdisciplinary research skills. I have had the privilege of participating in numerous meetings and discussions at NCDIR. These interactions have been invaluable in expanding my knowledge of cutting-edge research and data integration techniques. NCDIR’s reputation and the diverse expertise of its team make it an ideal place for me to interact with professionals from various fields. I believe that NCDIR is best equipped to help me achieve these specific goals due to its expertise in data integration, the collaborative environment it fosters, and the opportunities for the practical application of research methodologies. I am excited to be part of this organization and look forward to a fruitful and enriching experience.

If you want to know more about Apo and his research, feel free to visit his website: https://apostolismourtz.wixsite.com/mywebsite