Vasiliki Michalopoulou: The Plant Cell First Author

Vasiliki Michalopoulou, first author of “The host exocyst complex is targeted by a conserved bacterial type-III effector that promotes virulence”

Current position: Post-doc, IMBB-FORTH

Education: PhD in Microbiology Plant Biotechnology at University of Crete, MSc in Molecular Biology and Plant Biotechnology at University of Crete, BSc in Biology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Non-scientific interests: Gymnastics, swimming and being a mom.

Brief bio: During my graduate studies, in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, under the supervision of Prof. Eleftheriou Eleftheriou and the help of Prof. Ioannis Adamakis, I entered for the first time in a laboratory for studying the effects of the hexavalent chromium in the cell cycle of several species of the Fabaceae family. Afterwards, during my post-graduate studies in the University of Crete, I had the experience to meet with molecular biology techniques. For my M.Sc. I joined the laboratory of Prof. Kriton Kalantidis, where I studied the functional role of VIRP1 host protein, during PSTVd infection. Later for my Ph.D. our roads were crossed with Prof. Panagiotis F. Sarris who that period moved in Crete from the University of Exeter. During our collaboration, we established the NLR-ID model as a toolkit to identify new interactions between host factors and bacterial effectors. We also discovered a new virulence strategy of pathogenic bacteria that colonize the host, secreting effectors as the core XopP, which targets components of the exocyst complex, without activating its immunity. Prof. Sarris has been a mentor for me, so we continue our excellent collaboration at the Post-Doctoral level.