Leonidas A. Phylactou

Professor & Provost

Current Position

Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director

Head of the Molecular Genetics, Function & Therapy Department

Professor & Provost

The Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics


Research Interests

  • Oligonucleotide-based therapy for Muscular Dystrophy
  • Development of novel therapeutic delivery vehicles for Muscular Dystrophy
  • Exosomal and miRNA biomarkers in Myotonic Dystrophy
  • Molecular investigations of inherited diseases


Prof Leonidas A. Phylactou has received his Bachelor’s with honours in Medical Biochemistry (first class) from the University of Birmingham UK in 1992 and his PhD in molecular genetics/gene therapy from the same University in 1995. During his PhD he spent most of the time in the University of Connecticut Health Centre where he developed a gene therapy approach for Marfan syndrome. He then moved to Oxford University for a post-doctoral position where he led a research team of a PhD student and 2 research assistants on the use of catalytic RNAs as tools for gene therapy in the brain and muscle. In 1998 he established the Laboratory of Molecular Function and Therapy at CING to investigate and develop novel ways to study gene function and exploit gene therapy approaches. In 2005, he took over the department of Molecular Genetics C at CING which was then renamed to department of Molecular Genetics, Function and Therapy. He currently runs a department composed mainly of postdoctoral scientists and postgraduate students. From March 2014 to July 2015, Prof Leonidas A. Phylactou served as the Acting Chief Executive Medical Director of the Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics and Acting Provost of the Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine (CSMM).  He had a catalytic involvement to the development of CSMM, in which he served as first Dean.  Prof Leonidas A. Phylactou secured research funding from several local and international funding organisations and published extensively in the areas of molecular genetics, gene function and gene therapy. Prof Leonidas A. Phylactou  sits on the Editorial Boards of the peer-reviewed journals Molecules and Pharmaceuticals.  As of 17 November 2015, Prof Leonidas Phylactou, is the Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of The Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics and the Provost of the Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine.

Selected Publications:

1.    Philippou S, Mastroyiannopoulos NP, Makrides N, Lederer CW, Kleanthous M, Phylactou LA. Selection and identification of skeletal muscle-targeted RNA aptamers. Molecular Therapy-Nucleic Acids. 2018 Mar2;10:199-214. Doi: 10.1016/j.omtn.2017.12.004. Epub 2017 Dec 9.

2.    Koutsoulidou A, Photiades M, Kyriakides TC, Georgiou K, Prokopi M, Kapnisis K, Lusakowska A, Nearchou M, Christou Y, Papadimas GK, Anayiotos A, Kyriakou K, Kararizou E, Zamba Papanicolaou E, Phylactou LA. Identification of Exosomal Muscle-Specific miRNAs in Serum of Myotonic Dystrophy Patients Relating to Muscular Disease Progress. Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Sep 1;26(17):3285-3302. Doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx212 [Epub 2017 Jun 16].

3.    Demetris Koutalianos, Andrie Koutsoulidou, Nikolaos P. Mastroyiannopoulos, Denis Furling, and Leonidas A. Phylactou. MyoD transcription factor induces myogenesis by inhibiting Twist-1 through miR-206. J Cell Sci. 2015 Aug 13. pii: jcs.172288. [Epub ahead of print].
4.    Andrie Koutsoulidou, Tassos Kyriakides, Yiolanda Christou, Eleni Zamba Papanicolaou, Leonidas A. Phylactou. Elevated muscle-specific miRNAs in serum of myotonic dystrophy patients relate to disease progress. PLoS ONE. 2015 Apr 27;10(4):e0125341.
5.    Antonis Antoniou, Nikolaos P. Mastroyiannopoulos, James B. Uney, Leonidas A. Phylactou. miR-186 inhibits muscle cell differentiation through myogenin regulation.   J Biol Chem. 2014 Feb 14;289(7):3923-35. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.507343. Epub 2014 Jan 2.

6.    Christos Shammas, Vassos Neocleous, Marie M Phelan, Lu-Yun Lian, Nicos Skordis and Leonidas A Phylactou. A report of 2 new cases of MODY2 and review of the literature: implications for new drug development for type 2 Diabetes. Metabolism. 2013 Nov;62(11):1535-42. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2013.06.007. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

7.    Alexia AP Phedonos, Christos Shammas, Nicos Skordis, Tassos Kyriakides, Vassos Neocleous and Leonidas A Phylactou. High carrier frequency of CAH in the Cypriot population. Clin Genet. 2013 Dec;84(6):585-588. doi: 10.1111/cge.12153. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

8.    Mastroyiannopoulos NP, Nicolaou P, Anayasa M, Uney JB, Phylactou LA. Down-regulation of Myogenin can reverse terminal muscle cell differentiation. PLoS ONE 2012; 7(1): e29896. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029896.

9.    Nicolaos P. Mastroyiannopoulos, Andrie Koutsoulidou and Leonidas A. Phylactou. Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1: Focus on the RNA pathology and therapy. InTech Publishers “Muscular Dystrophy”. Edited by Madhuri Hegde and Arunkanth Ankala, ISBN 978-953-51-0603-6, Hard cover, 544 pages, Publisher: InTech, DOI: 10.5772/1242Published: May 09, 2012,pp 499-544, 2012.

10.    Neocleous V, Ioannou YS, Bartsota M, Costi C, Skordis N, Phylactou LA. Rare mutations in the CYP21A2 gene detected in congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Clin Biochem. 2009 Sep;42(13-14):1363-7. Epub 2009 Jun 6. PubMed PMID: 19501079.

11.    Mastroyiannopoulos NP, Feldman ML, Uney JB, Mahadevan MS, Phylactou LA. Woodchuck post-transcriptional element induces nuclear export of myotonic dystrophy 3' untranslated region transcripts. EMBO Rep. 2005 May;6(5):458-63. PubMed PMID: 15832171; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1299300.

12.    Georgiou TK, Vamvakaki M, Patrickios CS, Yamasaki EN, Phylactou LA. Nanoscopic cationic methacrylate star homopolymers: synthesis by group transfer polymerization, characterization and evaluation as transfection reagents. Biomacromolecules. 2004 Nov-Dec;5(6):2221-9. PubMed PMID: 15530036.

13.    Phylactou LA, Kilpatrick MW, Wood MJ. Ribozymes as therapeutic tools for genetic disease. Hum Mol Genet. 1998;7(10):1649-53. Review. PubMed PMID: 9735387.

14.    Phylactou LA, Darrah C, Wood MJ. Ribozyme-mediated trans-splicing of a trinucleotide repeat. Nat Genet. 1998 Apr;18(4):378-81. PubMed PMID: 9537423.

winner aashe copernicus

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