About Nikolaos Venizelos
Nikolaos Venizelos is a professor emeritus and docent in biomedicine with a focus in clinical chemistry at the School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University. He has a Medicine Doctor's degree (PhD-in medicine) at the Karolinska Institute, where he worked until 2001.
Prof. Venizelos has established the Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory at the Dept. of Clinical medicine. His research work is focused on the membrane transport of the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan in schizophrenia and related disorders such as bipolar, autism and ADHD. Tyrosine and tryptophan are the building stones (so-called precursors) for dopamine and serotonin, the brain's most important neurotransmitters, necessary for central nervous system. The research conducted in Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory is leading both nationally and internationally.
Prof. Nikolaos Venizelos and his research group has in a number of studies (see publications), demonstrated that membrane transport of tyrosine and tryptophan is strongly involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, bipolar and autism disorders. Recent studies shows that even ADHD, probably, have an influence on the regulation of dopamine and serotonin turnover in the brain. The research group has also developed and demonstrated that the so-called fibroblast model, a human cellular in vitro technic, among other, excludes the external influences of medications and other environmental factors that make it suitable for studying amino acid transport in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Furthermore, the research lab disposes a unique biobank, with primary fibroblast lines from patients with different neuropsychiatric diseases, osteoporosis and matched controls, which are used as model systems for studying, among other things, the transport mechanism of tyrosine and tryptophan in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Research focus, interaction
Prof. Venizelos ' current research focuses on identifying the pro-inflammatory cytokines and environmental toxins (harmful industrial chemicals) role on the membrane transport of tyrosine and tryptophan in neuropsychiatric disorders, and In co-operation with NGBI-Research Centre, to identified the influence of probiotics and short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, on the functionality of tryptophan transport, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin.
External main collaborations
Nationally, Venizelos group is collaborating with the Dept. of Endocrinology, Karolinska University Hospital, where the tryptophan transporters role in men with Idiopathic Osteoporosis is examined.
Internationally he conducts research in collaboration with a research team in New York (United States), for reprogramming of fibroblasts from autism, to so-called Pluripotent Stem Cells, and on to nerve cells. Collaborative research is carried out even with a research group at the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens, in order to identify possible common (+/-) regulatory genes involved in amino acid transport at the neuropsychiatric disorders, through systems biology.
The main goal of the research is to identify pathophysiological and genetic abnormalities at cellular level that can be linked to the behavioural patterns of patients. In the longer term, this could open opportunities for better understanding and more customized treatment of schizophrenia and related neuropsychiatric disorders.
Currently, and on behalf, Prof. Venizelos coordinating a graduate course of Multidisciplinary Seminars 2.5 credits, supervised PBL-groups of medical students in the 1st year of medical programme, have selected lectures in the Master's Programme and in Medical Toxicology.
- Cell culture and Biobank facilities of primary fibroblast cultures from human skin biopsies.
- Amino acid transport in adherent fibroblast cells using the "cluster-tray" technique.
Tissue: Primary fibroblast lines from patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD and Idiopathic Osteoporosis and matched controls