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Professor Ioannis Nezis

Job Title
Life Sciences
+44(0)24761 50400
Research Interests

In the media
Pomegranates, turmeric and red grapes: the key to long life?

Article in The Guardian covering Professor Nezis' research in autophagy and links to disease and ageing.
Lab web page:

In my group we are interested in the role of autophagy in health and disease. Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process that involves the degradation of cytoplasmic material through the lysosomal pathway. Autophagy is a cellular response in nutrient starvation but it is also responsible for the removal of aggregated proteins, damaged organelles and developmental remodeling. Recent studies have shown that dysfunction in autophagy has been implicated in an increasing number of diseases from bacterial and viral infections to cancer and more recently in neurodegeneration and other ageing-related diseases. Interestingly, it has been shown that induction of autophagy can increase longevity in multiple animal species. Although it was initially believed that autophagy occurs randomly inside the cell, during the last years there is growing evidence that sequestration and degradation of cytoplasmic material by autophagy can be selective through receptor and adaptor proteins. It is therefore important to identify the proteins required for recognition and targeting of the various autophagic cargo for degradation and to elucidate the role of selective autophagy in normal and pathological conditions, especially at the organismal level. We are using mammalian cells in vitro and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, as a genetically modifiable model organism to investigate the mechanisms of autophagy in the context of the physiology of the cell, the system and the living organism. We have developed several molecular markers for monitoring autophagy in vivo.

The major aims of our research are:

  • To identify novel selective autophagy receptors and adaptors
  • To understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of autophagy during ageing
  • To elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of autophagy in diseases such as neurodegeneration, obesity, bacterial and viral infections and tumorigenesis

The long term goal of our research is to develop therapeutic strategies for these diseases.

We are studying the function of autophagy genes using a combination of RNAi mediated knock down, targeted gene expression, conditional knock out and we use a wide range of approaches, including confocal microscopy, live cell imaging, conventional electron microscopy, immuno-gold electron microscopy, biochemical methods and bioinformatics.

Post Docs and PhD students

Motivated Post Docs and PhD students that want to join the lab are very welcome throughout the year. Please contact Dr Nezis for details.
PhD studentships available through MIBTP-DTC (


2020 - : Professor of Cell Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK

2018 - 2020: Reader in Cell Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK

2012 - 2017: Associate Professor of Cell Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK

2009-2012: Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Biological Applications & Technology, University of Ioannina, Greece

2007-2009: Post-doctoral research fellow in Department of Biochemistry, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

2005-2007: Post-doctoral research fellow in Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece

2004-2005: Post-doctoral research fellow in Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece

2002-2004: National military service, Greece

1998-2002: PhD Thesis, Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece

1993-1997: BSc, Biology, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece

Title Funder Award start Award end
A novel component of protein aggregates regulates ageing BBSRC 01 Dec 2021 31 Dec 2024
What is the function of a protein that controls cytoplasmic self-eating in the nucleus? Leverhulme Trust 01 Jul 2017 30 Sep 2020
Elucidating novel roles of selective autophagy in inflammation during ageing BBSRC 01 Apr 2017 30 Jun 2020
Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Selective Autophagy and their relevance to ageing BBSRC 24 Mar 2014 23 Apr 2017
Elucidating the function of a new selective autophagy-associated protein in the regulation of immune signalling in vivo in Drosophila Wellcome Trust 06 Jul 2015 05 Sep 2015