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Dr Spyridon Theofilopoulos

Ser Cymru II Rising Star Fellow, Biomedical Sciences

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 513603

Research Links

Office - 037
Ground Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Spyridon Theofilopoulos PhD DIC is Sêr Cymru II Rising Star Fellow and Associate Professor at the Institute of Life Science 1, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea, UK. He has completed a BSc and PhD at Imperial College London. After completing the compulsory military service in Greece, he worked for two years at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens and at the School of Medicine of the University of Thessaly, as a postdoctoral scientist and lecturer respectively. He then worked for several years at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden as a Forskare.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Regenerative Neurobiology
  • Lipid Biochemistry

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

BSc, Applied Medical Science

Supervision Opportunities: 

Highly enthusiastic postdoctoral scientists and PhD students with experience and interest in in vitro techniques (such as nuclear receptor activation assays, mouse CNS primary cultures and neural stem cells), in-vivo models of PD (such as the 6-OHDA model), immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry, quantitative PCR, imaging and related techniques are encouraged to apply for research work in our laboratory. 


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms include tremor, rigidity and hypokinesia and generally appear slowly over time. The main pathological finding is a progressive degeneration of substantia nigra neurons leading to severe loss of striatal dopamine innervation. Unfortunately at present there is no cure. 

 Specific cholesterol metabolites function as ligands of nuclear receptors, including Liver X receptors (LXRs), which are ligand-dependent transcription factors. LXRs (Lxrα/NR1H3 and Lxrβ/NR1H2) are well known regulators of lipid metabolism and inflammation, but have also recently emerged as key factors for neurogenesis and maintenance of neuronal survival. We and others have previously reported, by in vitro and in vivo experiments, that Lxrs control different aspects of midbrain dopamine (mDA) neuron development (Sacchetti et al., 2009, Cell Stem Cell) and that endogenous brain LXR ligands are an entirely new family of highly selective and potent regulators of midbrain neurogenesis and/or survival (Theofilopoulos et al., 2013, Nature Chemical Biology; Theofilopoulos*, Griffiths* et al., 2014, J. Clinical Investigation).

Award Highlights
  • First prize in the mathematical contest ‘Eydoxos’ in Athens, Greece. 

Our current research work and collaborations include:

  1. Identify the function and mechanism of action of cholesterol metabolites up- or down-regulated in PD patients by using Mass Spectrometry and several mouse in vitro techniques [collaborative work with William J. Griffiths and Yuqin Wang from Swansea University Medical School, as well as with Ernest Arenas from Karolinska Institute].
  2. Utilise specific cholesterol metabolites and related compounds to improve protocols for the in vitro DA differentiation of mouse and human ES cell lines as well as several other cell types.
  3. Examine whether newly identified cholesterol metabolites and related compounds can prevent or rescue phenotypic features of PD in rodent models of PD in vivo [collaborative work with Mariah Lelos and Emma Lane from Cardiff University].