Nikolaos  Millios, MD, PhD

Biography

I am an assistant professor at the Department of Neurosciences of the University of New Mexico School Medicine and a leading expert on the emerging field of circular RNAs (circRNAs), examining their role in brain development, function, and disease. I was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Picower Institute of Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I studied the role of non-coding RNAs in brain plasticity and neurodevelopmental disorders. I have a PhD in Neurosciences from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UMass Medical School with a focus on the role of miRNAs in the post-transcriptional control of gene expression in brain development and psychiatric disorders. My lab's ongoing and future research is aimed in using cutting edge circRNA manipulation and detection approaches for elucidating the role of circRNAs in the control of molecular networks related to brain development and function and for examining their importance for psychiatric (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) and neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s disease). We are also working in parallel in using circRNAs as biomarkers for the diagnosis and better treatment of depression and post-traumatic stress disorders and on examining their relevance for circadian rhythmicity and sleep. Lastly, we are involved in numerous collaborations with leading institutions that are aimed at better understanding the importance of circRNAs in brain plasticity and addiction and on developing cutting edge tools for manipulating circRNA expression.

Areas of Specialty

CircRNAs
Noncoding cRNAs
Brain plasticity
Neuropsychiatric disorders

Education

Phd, Neuroscience (2009):
University of Massachusetts School of Medicine
Worcester, MA

MD (2002):
University of Athens School of Medicine
Athens, Greece

Achievements & Awards

  • Member of the executive committee and Seminar Program Director of the NIH-funded Autophagy, Inflammation, and Metabolism (AIM) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, University of New Mexico  (Albuquerque, NM) -2020
  • Invited speaker at TEDex ABQ. Use of circRNA biomarkers for the better diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders (Albuquerque, NM) - 2019
  • RNA therapeutics conference travel award and invitation for oral presentation (Worcester, MA) - 2018
  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigator award (New York, USA) - 2017
  • Founding member of the newly appointed Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) Junior Researcher Group (New York, USA) - 2013
  • G. Papanikolaou award for best publication – Department of Scholarships and awards – University of Athens (Athens, Greece) - 2012
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellowship – National Eye Institute of National Institute of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA) - 2009-2012
  • Roche- Nature Medicine 1st Translational Neuroscience Symposium travel award and invitation for poster presentation (Palo Alto, CA. USA) - 2006
  • Fulbright Scholarship nomination – Fulbright Foundation (Athens, Greece) - 2004
  • A. Papadakis Scholarship for undergraduate studies in the University of Athens (following exams) – Department of Scholarships and awards – University of Athens (Athens, Greece) -1996-2002

Key Publications

  • Zimmerman AJ*, Hafez AK*, Amoah SK*, Rodriguez BA, Dell’Orco M, Lozano E, Hartley BJ, Alural B, Lalonde J, Chander P, Webster MJ, Perlis RH, Brennand KJ, Haggarty SJ, Perrone-Bizzozero N, Weick JP, Brigman JL, Mellios N#. A psychiatric disease-related circular RNA controls synaptic gene expression and cognition. Molecular Psychiatry (Immediate Communication and selected for journal cover). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-020-0653-4. (2020). # Corresponding author.
  • Amoah SK, Rodriguez BA, Logothetis CN, Chander P, Sellgren CM, Sheridan SD, Weick JP, Jantzie LL, Webster MJ, Mellios N#. Exosomal secretion of a psychosis-altered miRNA that regulates glutamate receptor expression is affected by antipsychotics. Neuropsychopharmacology 45, 656–665 (2020) (2019). # Corresponding author. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-019-0579-1
  • Mellios N*#, Feldman DA*, Sheridan SD*, Ip JPK*, Kwok S, Amoah SK, Rosen B, Rodriguez BA, Crawford B, Swaminathan R, Chou S, Li Y, Ziats M, Ernst C, Haggarty SJ, Sur M. MeCP2-regulated miRNAs control early human neurogenesis through differential effects on ERK and AKT signaling. Molecular Psychiatry 23: 1051–1065 (2018). # Co-correspondent author. https://www.nature.com/articles/mp201786
  • Mellios N*, Sugihara H*, Castro J, Banerjee A , Le C, Kumar A, Crawford B, Strathmann J, Tropea D, Levine SS, Edbauer D, Sur M. miR-132, an experience-dependent microRNA, is essential for ocular dominance plasticity in visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience 14: 1240–1242 (2011). https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.2909

Gender

He, Him

Languages

English, Greek

Research

Research in my laboratory focuses on the role of novel non-coding RNAs, such as circular RNAs, in brain development and function and their relevance for psychiatric and neurological disorders. We utilize an array of cutting-edge techniques in conjunction with multiple disease models to elucidate the unexplored mechanisms of non-coding RNAs in the developing and adult brain with the long-term goal of discovering novel herapeutics and diagnostics for brain disorders.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Neurobiology (509)
Molecular Neurobiology (539)
Neuroblock (Headaches and Neuropathology)
Clinical Reasoning