Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of AthensAcademy Of Athens
Scientific Personnel

Menie-Chaido Menie-Chaido Merika, PhD
Staff Research Scientist A'

Telephone : +30 210 6597 451
Fax : +30 210 6597 545
e-mail :

Center :

Basic Research

Lab Site :

Thanos Lab

Brief Bio

Dr. Menie Merika earned her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Athens in 1983.  She then begun her postgraduate studies and earned her M.S. degree in Molecular Biology in 1985 and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 1990, from the University of Crete-Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Heraklion, Crete, studying the structure and regulation of alpha globin genes in human cells.  She then had extensive training as a Postdoctoral Fellow, supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA, in Dr. Stuart Orkin’s Laboratory.  She studied the mechanisms by which the erythroid GATA transcription factors and the EKLF factor bind to their regulatory DNA sequences and control erythroid gene transcription.  In 1995 she continued her postdoctoral studies in Dr. Dimitris Thanos’ laboratory at Columbia University New York, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.  In 1998 she was promoted to Staff Research Scientist at Columbia University, working on the mechanisms by which the IFN-β enhanceosome activates transcription.  She was instrumental in delineating the mechanisms of transcriptional synergy between the transcription factors bound at the IFN-beta enhancer.  In 2001, she was appointed Staff Research Scientist B’ at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Biomedical Sciences Research Center “Al. Fleming”-Athens.  She played a catalytic role in the establishment of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics and in the studies of the role of chromatin structure in regulation of transcription and cell differentiation.  From 2006, she is a Staff Research Scientist A’ in the Division of Molecular Biology, Center of Basic Research II at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens.  Her current research interests focus on obtaining a full understanding of the mechanisms by which eukaryotic transcription factors select their binding sites in the context of the whole genome and how they can activate or repress transcription, by using the virus- induced transcriptional activation of the human IFN-β gene as a model system.

Selected Publications

Transcription factors mediate long-range enhancer-promoter interactions.
Nolis IK, McKay DJ, Mantouvalou E, Lomvardas S, Merika M, Thanos D.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 1;106(48):20222-7. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

Bypassing the requirements for epigenetic modifications in gene transcription by increasing enhancer strength.
Koutroubas G, Merika M, Thanos D.
Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;28(3):926-38. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Coordination of a transcriptional switch by HMGI(Y) acetylation.
Munshi N, Agalioti T, Lomvardas S, Merika M, Chen G, Thanos D.
Science. 2001 Aug 10;293(5532):1133-6.

Merika M, Thanos D.
Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2001 Apr;11(2):205-8.

The IFN-beta enhancer: a paradigm for understanding activation and repression of inducible gene expression.
Munshi N, Yie Y, Merika M, Senger K, Lomvardas S, Agalioti T, Thanos D.
Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 1999;64:149-59.

Gene repression by coactivator repulsion.
Senger K, Merika M, Agalioti T, Yie J, Escalante CR, Chen G, Aggarwal AK, Thanos D.
Mol Cell. 2000 Oct;6(4):931-7.

Stimulus-specific assembly of enhancer complexes on the tumor necrosis factor alpha gene promoter.
Falvo JV, Uglialoro AM, Brinkman BM, Merika M, Parekh BS, Tsai EY, King HC, Morielli AD, Peralta EG, Maniatis T, Thanos D, Goldfeld AE.
Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Mar;20(6):2239-47.

The role of HMG I(Y) in the assembly and function of the IFN-beta enhanceosome.
Yie J, Merika M, Munshi N, Chen G, Thanos D.
EMBO J. 1999 Jun 1;18(11):3074-89.

Acetylation of HMG I(Y) by CBP turns off IFN beta expression by disrupting the enhanceosome.
Munshi N, Merika M, Yie J, Senger K, Chen G, Thanos D.
Mol Cell. 1998 Oct;2(4):457-67.

Recruitment of CBP/p300 by the IFN beta enhanceosome is required for synergistic activation of transcription.
Merika M, Williams AJ, Chen G, Collins T, Thanos D.
Mol Cell. 1998 Jan;1(2):277-87.

Functional synergy and physical interactions of the erythroid transcription factor GATA-1 with the Krüppel family proteins Sp1 and EKLF.
Merika M, Orkin SH.
Mol Cell Biol. 1995 May;15(5):2437-47.

DNA-binding specificity of GATA family transcription factors.
Merika M, Orkin SH.
Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Jul;13(7):3999-4010.


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