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UCL Division of Biosciences

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Dr Lazaros Foukas

Dr Lazaros Foukas

Lecturer

Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Apr 2009

Research summary

Ageing is a process of gradual decline in the physiological functions of the organism. Amongst other derangements, ageing is associated with dysfunction in carbohydrate and lipid homeostatic regulatory mechanisms. Consequently, middle-aged and old individuals have a higher risk of suffering from metabolic disorders. The rapidly increasing incidence of obesity and type-2 diabetes necessitates the development of novel therapeutic agents to combat these conditions and their numerous debilitating complications.

Cell signalling pathways have been successfully targeted in the therapy of major diseases, such as cancer and inflammation. Signalling pathways that sense nutrient availability and regulate metabolic responses represent potential points of intervention for treatment of metabolic disorders. Key signalling pathways in metabolic regulation are the PI 3-Kinase (PI3K) and the mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathways.

We aim to study the mechanisms by which growth factor and nutrient sensing signalling pathways regulate metabolism and the impact of their perturbation on health in the context of ageing. We use a combination of mammalian genetics, cell based models and pharmacological approaches to identify components of cell signalling pathways which can be targeted in prevention or therapy of age-related diseases.

Teaching summary

I contribute to Biosciences teaching in all years of undergraduate study. I give lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals in the following modules: Fundamentals of Biology (BIOL005); Introduction to Human Genetics (BIOL0010); Biology of Ageing (BIOL0022); Diseases of Ageing (BIOL0027); Cell Signalling in Health and Disease (PHOL0008); Advanced Molecular Biology of Protein Regulatory Networks (BIOC3014). I also host and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students from various degree programmes performing laboratory and literature investigation projects.

Education

Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow |
University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2003
University of Patras
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1997

Biography

I obtained an MSci and an MRes in Biology from the University of Patras, Greece and a PhD in Biochemistry from University College London. I conducted postdoctoral research in Bart Vanhaesebroeck’s lab in the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and then in Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. I joined the Institute of Healthy Ageing at UCL as a principal investigator in 2009. My research focuses on the role of signalling pathways in age-related pathologies, such as cancer and metabolic disease.

Publications