Lecturer of Development, Differentiation and Signal Transduction Agricultural University of Athens, School of Food, Biotechnology and Development, Department of Biotechnology, Iera Odos.
Dr. Dimitris Kontogiannatos is currently Researcher and Lecturer of Insect Molecular Biology at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece in 2008 and 2010 respectively, and his PhD diploma in Insect Molecular Biology at the same University in 2013. In his thesis work he pioneered reverse genetics techniques for studying the molecular basis of larval development in important agricultural insect pests. After completing his PhD, Dr. Kontogiannatos accepted a position as Researcher for the R&D department of a private wine Biotechnology company, where he worked for 2 years. During that time, he developed molecular methodologies for selecting and producing indigenous Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains from autochthonous grape varieties for the qualitative improvement of Greek terroirs. In 2016, Dr. Kontogiannatos worked as a Lecturer in the Department of Biotechnology, School of Food, Biotechnology and Development, of Agricultural University of Athens, Greece and as a scientific consultant in a private pesticide distribution company. Currently Dr. Kontogiannatos works as researcher in the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the Agricultural University of Athens directing the project «Genetic therapy and synthetic biology technologies in the construction of gene silencing pesticides.
He hasd been studying the use of RNAi technology in several aspects of insect Science, like functional genomics, endocrinology and pest management (Baculovirus, bacterial-mediated dsRNA delivery and direct transfer of dsRNAs) in insect pests. He is specialized in insect cell line culture and manipulation (transient transfection, construction of stable cell lines, in Bm5 and Hi5 cells) and in baculovirus technology for expression and biochemical characterization of important developmental genes of insect species. He is highly skilled in a wide range of Molecular Biology and genetic engineering techniques including: DNA/RNA extraction, Quantitative/Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis, Southern Blot/Western Blot, PCR/ Molecular cloning, Bacterial and yeast culture and manipulation, DNA electrophoresis, Protein SDS/Native-PAGE electrophoresis, DNA polymorphism analysis etc. Currently, He is directing a project focused on the usage of genetic therapy and synthetic biology technologies in the construction of gene silencing pesticides. In this project he is exploring the possibility to use PTD-DRBD peptides as insecticidal carriers for siRNA and dsRNA molecules to control the Lepidopteran pest of corn Sesamia nonagrioides (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and the Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). My research is expected to provide answers to questions related to the efficiency of RNAi in the target insects, the protection of siRNAs and dsRNAs from problematic environments and the minimization of the production costs of commonly used nanotechnologies.