Margarita Zachariou

Academic Staff

Current Position

Associate Scientist, Bioinformatics Department

The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics



  • Ph.D. in Mathematics - Specialised in Mathematical Neuroscience (2008), Centre for Mathematical Medicine and Biology, University of Nottingham, UK. 
    Thesis Title:  The Role of Cannabinoids in Sensory Gating: A Neural Network Study
  • BSc in Applied Mathematics (2003), University of Cyprus.


Academic Appointments:

  • 2008-10 Post-doctoral research fellow, School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK
  • 2009-10 Part-time Lecturer, Mathematics Department, Trent University, UK
  • 2010-14 Post-doctoral research fellow, Computer Science Department, University of Cyprus
  • 2014-16 Post-doctoral research fellow, Medical School, University of Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 2016: Post-doctoral research fellow, Bioinformatics Group, Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics and Associate Faculty (since 2018) at the Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine, Cyprus.


Research Interests

Dr Zachariou’s research interests lie broadly in the area of computational biology with a focus on network analysis in systems biology and bioinformatics as well as theoretical neuroscience. Her research approach is multidisciplinary and draws upon a number of established principles from different scientific disciplines but is predominantly from those of nonlinear dynamics, systems and network analysis, computational and mathematical neuroscience and machine learning theory.
Recently Funded Grants:
  • 2014 UCY Young Researchers Award (named researcher)
  • 2010 DIDAKTOR Research Fellowship “ funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation and co-funded by the Republic of Cyprus and the European Regional Development Fund
  • 2009 Bridging the Gaps Feasibility Study Award funded by the University of Nottingham (named researcher M Zachariou)
  • 2008 Institute of Neuroscience Small Grant funded by the University of Nottingham (named researcher M Zachariou).


Dr Zachariou initially received a B.Sc. in applied mathematics from the University of Cyprus in 2003. During her bachelor degree she had the opportunity to spend a semester as an Erasmus student at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales (2002). In 2008 she completed the requirements for a Ph.D. in Mathematics (joint between the Schools of Mathematical Sciences and Biological Sciences) with a focus on Mathematical Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham in UK. She developed detailed and reduced models of the CA3 region of hippocampus, which she analysed and used as a conceptual framework to test hypotheses about the neuronal circuits involved in normal sensory gating and particularly the role and effect of cannabinoids on the sensory gating deficit. From 2008-2010 she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, assisting with the organization of integration and training activities of the Virtual Physiological Human Network of Excellence. She also worked as a part-time lecturer in Mathematics at the Nottingham Trent University (2008/09) and as a “Bridging the Gaps Interdisciplinary Fellow” in a collaboration between the Schools of Mathematical Sciences and Electrical & Electronic Engineering at the University of Nottingham (2009-2010). In 2010, she received the DIDAKTOR fellowship, funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation (hosted in the Computer Science Department, University of Cyprus).  During her fellowship she worked in providing the essential mathematical and computational framework for gaining insight into the biochemical machinery underlying memory and learning, and how this is affected by cannabinoids in both pathological conditions and normal brain function.  Following that she worked in on a joint project by the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands (Prof P De Weerd, Dr M Roberts) and the University of Nicosia Medical School, Cyprus, (Dr A Hadjipapas), funded by the Competitive Calls Programme through the FP7 Flagship Human Brain Project.  During this project she focused on investigating through mathematical modeling the underlying neural circuits generating the observed gamma rhythm brain signals measured in primates. 

She currently works on both mathematical models for neurodegenerative diseases and on the integration of different type of data through network analysis. She serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals and has  co-organized several scientific events such as meetings,  workshops and study groups. She has presented her work at numerous conferences and seminars. Also, she has been appointed by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation as one of the representatives of Cyprus in the management committee for the COST action Mathematics in Industry Network (MI-NET).


Selected Publications:

  • Integrating multi-source information on a single network to detect disease-related clusters of molecular mechanisms
  • M Zachariou, G Minadakis, A Oulas, S Afxenti, GM Spyrou, Journal of proteomics, 2018.
  • Systems Bioinformatics: increasing precision of computational diagnostics and therapeutics through network-based approaches, A Oulas, G Minadakis, M Zachariou, K Sokratous, MM Bourdakou, GM Spyrou, Briefings in bioinformatics, bbx151, 2017.
  • Cannabinoid-mediated short-term plasticity in hippocampus, M Zachariou, R Thul, Journal of computational neuroscience, 2014; 37 (3), 533-547.
  • A biophysical model of endocannabinoid-mediated short term depression in hippocampal inhibition, M Zachariou, SPH Alexander, S Coombes, C Christodoulou, PloS one, 2013; 8 (3), e58926.
  • Virtual physiological human: training challenges, P Lawford, A Narracott, K McCormack, J Bisbal, C Martin, B Brook, M Zachariou, P Kohl, K Fletcher and V Diaz-Zuccarini, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 2010; Vol 368, No 1921, 2841-2851.
  • Effects of phencyclidine on auditory gating in the rat hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex, DWN Dissanayake, M Zachariou, CA Marsden, R Mason, Brain research, 2009; 1298, 153-160.
  • Gap junctions and emergent rhythms, S Coombes, M Zachariou, Coherent Behavior in Neuronal Networks, 2009; 77-94.
  • Auditory gating in rat hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex: effect of the cannabinoid agonist WIN55, 212-2, DWN Dissanayake, M Zachariou, CA Marsden, R Mason, Neuropharmacology, 2008; 55 (8), 1397-1404.
  • Sensory gating and its modulation by cannabinoids: electrophysiological, computational and mathematical analysis, M Zachariou, DWN Dissanayake, S Coombes, MR Owen, R Mason, Cognitive neurodynamics, 2008;  2 (2), 159.


winner aashe copernicus