Biomedical Research Foundation Academy Of AthensAcademy Of Athens
Scientific Personnel

Maria Maria Xilouri, PhD
Investigator - Assistant Professor Level

Telephone : +30 210 6597498
Fax : +30 210 6597545
e-mail :

Center :

Clinical, Experimental Surgery & Translational Research

Brief Bio

Maria Xilouri received her degree in Biology from the University of Athens, Greece in 1999. For the period 1999-2002 she worked as a Research Scientist in Histopathology Department, I.D.C.A. Hygeia (Harvard Medical) Hospital, Athens, Greece. She obtained her PhD in Biology from the Department of Biology (Division of Animal and Human Physiology) of the University of Athens, Greece in 2007, focusing on the mechanisms via which neuroactive steroids (neurosteroids) exert protective effects in neuronally differentiated pluripotent embryonic cells. In December 2006, she initiated her post-doctoral studies in the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Greece, where she focused her research on alpha-synuclein neurobiology, a molecule strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Dr Xilouri’s work has been supported with fellowships and awards from prestigious organizations, such as the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the Michael J Fox Foundation, the MSA Coalition, the MSA Trust, the Wellcome Trust and the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY). In 2010, she worked as a Visiting Scientist in the Brain Repair and Imaging in Neural Systems (BRAINS) Unit in Lund University, Sweden, where she was trained in the generation and stereotactic delivery of adeno-associated viral vectors in the rodent brain.

In April 2015, she was appointed as a Researcher D’ in the Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research Center at BRFAA and in June 2020 she was promoted at the Assistant Professor level. Her lab’s research interests are mainly related to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases with an emphasis on alpha-synucleinopathies, such as PD and MSA. In particular, the lab is focusing on the mechanisms underlying the seeding of alpha-synuclein pathology in neurons and oligodendroglia, the cells that are mostly affected in PD and MSA, respectively. The research employs a variety of cellular and animal models, whereas the results obtained from such models are being validated in human biological material, derived from peripheral and brain tissues. Collectively, her work seeks to pinpoint the mechanisms controlling the propagation of aggregated-prone proteins in the nervous system, which may represent potential targets for neuroprotective therapies.

Selected Publications

Endogenous oligodendroglial alpha-synuclein and TPPP/p25α orchestrate alpha-synuclein pathology in experimental multiple system atrophy models, Mavroeidi P, Arvanitaki F ... & Xilouri M, Acta Neuropathol, 138(3):415-441, 2019,  DOI:  10.1007/s00401-019-02014-y.

Long Non-coding RNAs Associated With Neurodegeneration-Linked Genes Are Reduced in Parkinson's Disease Patients, Elkouris M,... Xilouri M & Politis P, Front Cell Neurosci, 22;13:58, 2019, DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00058.

Impairment of chaperone-mediated autophagy induces dopaminergic neurodegeneration in rats, Xilouri M,... & Stefanis L, Autophagy, 12(11):2230-2247, 2016, DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2016.1214777.

Lysosomal alterations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of Parkinson's disease patients, Papagiannakis N, Xilouri M .. & Stefanis L, Mov Disord, 30(13):1830-4, 2015, DOI: 10.1002/mds.26433.

LAMP2A as a therapeutic target in Parkinson disease, Xilouri M, et al, Autophagy, 9(12):2166-8, 2013, doi: 10.4161/auto.26451.

Boosting chaperone-mediated autophagy in vivo mitigates α-synuclein-induced neurodegeneration, Xilouri M, Brekk OR ... & Stefanis L. Brain, 136(Pt 7): 2130-46, 2013, DOI: 10.1093/brain/awt131.

Tsc1 (hamartin) confers neuroprotection against ischemia by inducing autophagy, Papadakis M, Hadley G, Xilouri M, ... & Buchan AM, Nature Medicine, 19(3):351-7, 2013,  DOI: 10.1038/nm.3097.

Selective neuroprotective effects of the S18Y polymorphic variant of UCH-L1 in the dopaminergic system, Xilouri M et al, Hum Mol Genet, 21(4):874-89, 2012, doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddr521.

Pathological roles of α-synuclein in neurological disorders, Vekrellis K, Xilouri M et al, Lancet Neurol, 10(11): 1015-25, 2011, doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(11)70213-7.

Aberrant alpha-synuclein confers toxicity to neurons in part through inhibition of chaperone-mediated autophagy, Xilouri M et al,  PLos One, 4(5):e5515, 2009, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005515. 

alpha-synuclein degradation by autophagic pathways: a potential key to Parkinson's disease pathogenesis,  Xilouri M et al, Autophagy, (7):917-9, 2008, doi: 10.4161/auto.6685.

Wild type alpha-synuclein is degraded by chaperone-mediated autophagy and macroautophagy in neuronal cells, Vogiatzi T, Xilouri M et al, J Biol Chem, 283(35): 23542-56, 2008, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M801992200.


PubMed Link