Maria Gounari received the Diploma in Biology in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2007) and conducted her PhD in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in collaboration with San Raffaele Scientific Institute, in Milan, Italy (2014). During her PhD studies she was also external collaborator of Institute of Agrobiotechnology, National Center of Research and Technology Hellas, Greece. After her PhD she worked as a post-doc researcher at the San Raffaele Institute in Milan. During this period she was awarded with a short-term fellowship by EMBO to visit Dr. Hassan Jumma’s lab in Ulm (Germany) resulting in long-term collaboration.
Her research work focused on the functional and structural study of the B cell Receptor (BcR) in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) employing multidisciplinary approaches that involve state-of-the-art crystallization techniques, recombinant antibody technology, biochemical methods and signaling studies in cell models and primary CLL cells.
Her work led to the identification of antigens involved in the pathogenesis of CLL and, importantly, to the determination, for the first time of CLL-BcR structure that elucidated the precise molecular details of antigen independent signaling process that results from homotypic BcR contacts, a phenomenon that has been reported to be unique to CLL BcRs. These results unveiled the diversity of homotypic BcR contacts among different subsets of CLL associated with distinct clinical outcomes thus supporting a novel molecular and structural basis for the clinicobiological heterogeneity of CLL.
She has participated in several EU- or nationally-funded research projects and her research work has been published in high impact peer-reviewed international journals and congresses.
Currently she works as a post-doc researcher at the Institute of Applied Biosciences, National Center for Research and Technology Hellas, Thessaloniki, Greece and her research focus is on (i) functional and cellular studies in order to unveil the role of microenvironmental interactions in human B cell malignancies and (ii) functional and structural characterization of immunoglobulins across a variety of B cell malignancies.
1. ten Hacken E, Gounari M*, et al. Calreticulin as a novel B cell receptor antigen in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Haematologica. 2017; 102. * shared first author
2. Minici C*, Gounari M*, et al. Distinct homotypic B-cell receptor interactions shape the outcome of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 2017. Nature Communications. * shared first author
3. Ntoufa S, Papakonstantinou N, Apollonio B, Gounari M, et al. Indolent chronic lymphocytic leukemia stereotyped subset #4 exhibits B cell anergy regulated by TLR1/2 and the mir-17~92 cluster. J Immunol 2016, May 15;196(10):4410-7
4. Gounari M, et al. Excessive antigen reactivity may underlie the clinical aggressiveness of chronic lymphocytic leukemia stereotyped subset 8. Blood. 2015 Jun 4;125(23):3580-7
5. Kostareli E*, Gounari M*, et al. Antigen receptor stereotypy across B-cell lymphoproliferations: the case of IGHV4-59/IGKV3-20 receptors with rheumatoid factor activity. Leukemia. 2012 May;26(5):1127-31. * shared first author
6. Kostareli E, Hadzidimitriou A, Stavroyianni N, Darzentas N, Athanasiadou A, Gounari M, et al. Molecular evidence for EBV and CMV persistence in a subset of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia expressing stereotyped IGHV4-34 B-cell receptors. Leukemia. 2009 May;23(5):919-24
Tel.: +30 2310498525