Dimitris Grammatopoulos is Professor of Molecular Medicine at Warwick Medical School and Consultant in Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Diagnostics at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. He is also the Clinical Lead of the Novel Biomarkers theme of the Institute of Precision Diagnostics and Translational Medicine, Division of Pathology, UHCW NHS Trust.
He developed research expertise in molecular endocrinology and GPCR research at Newcastle, Bristol, Johns Hopkins-Baltimore and Warwick. He was a Wellcome Trust Fellow from 1998 until 2008. He trained in Chemical Pathology at Bristol and Coventry and he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists since 2007.
The overarching aim of his research programme is to elucidate how stress hormones of the Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) endocrine system control feto-maternal symbiosis and how maternal disease can induce maladaptive responses that compromise health of mother and fetus development. The main research focus is the corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH), considered as the “first mediator” of the stress response. CRH is expressed in the placenta of higher primates only, and is thought to play important roles in normal pregnancy and labour, by regulating maternal and fetal adaptive responses. This system is also important in conditions associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). We explore basic and clinical translational aspects of CRH actions in feto-maternal pathophysiology. Our fundamental studies aiming at dissecting molecular signaling mechanisms of the CRH receptors, especially mechanisms controlling a range of biological processes such as energy homeostasis, development of inflammatory responses and malignant transformation of cells leading to uncontrolled cell growth and cancer. We are particularly interested in pre- and post-transcriptional modifications such as mRNA splicing and protein phosphorylation and glycosylation that regulate cell responsiveness to CRH. We recently identified the presence of such a mechanism in breast cancer that allows cells to limit CRH actions by enhancing expression of aberrant CRH receptor variants.
In parallel translational studies, we investigate the molecular and biochemical signatures of HPA axis activity in order to understand the biological and genetic underpinnings of mood disorders such as depression developed during pregnancy and postpartum. We employ multidisciplinary approaches linking disease phenotype with hormonal and epigenetic biomarkers using advanced statistical methodologies and machine learning in order to develop algorithm-based multi-analyte clinical diagnostic tools.