Assoc. Prof. Dragana Nikitovic


Assoc. Prof. Dragana Nikitovic
Associate Professor of Histology-Embryology, Medical School, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece

Heparan sulfate proteoglycans and heparin regulate melanoma cell functions
Autor: Dragana Nikitovic

The solid melanoma tumor consists of transformed melanoma cells, and the associated stromal cells including fibroblasts, endothelial cells, immune cells, as well as, soluble macro- and micro-molecules of the extracellular matrix (ECM) forming the complex network of the tumor microenvironment. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans
(HSPGs) are an important component of the melanoma tumor ECM.
Importantly, there appears to be both a quantitative and a qualitative shift in the content of HSPGs, in parallel to the nevi-radial growth phase-vertical growth phase melanoma progression. Moreover, these changes in HSPG expression are correlated to modulations of key melanoma cell functions. In the lecture, the roles of HSPGs/heparin in melanoma development and progression will be discussed.

Scurt CV

Dr. Nikitovic is an Associate Professor of Histology-Embryology at the Medical School,
University of Crete. Her research interests are focused on matrix pathobiology, studying the implication of matrix molecules in disease, including the propagation and progression of cancer and inflammation. Aspects of oxidative stress and cytotoxicity in matrix pathobiology are also fields of Dr. Nikitovic’s research activity. She has 97 (Scopus) or 127 (Google Scholar) publications (Research and Reviews) in international peer-reviewed journals, which were cited 5000 (Google Schoolar) with an h-index 40 (Google Scholar). She has contributed chapters to 8 book series and full proceedings. She has more than 100 abstracts in proceedings of International and National scientific conferences. Dragana Nikitovic has a number of key lectures/invited lectures/oral presentations in International meetings/conferences including Eurotox 2014, 2016, 2019; FEBS-MPT 2009, 2011, 2013; Bionanotox 2012, 2013, 2018, MBE 2016, CEM, 2018, WCA 2018, Iasi 2019, 2020, COST 2019, 2020.

Dragana Nikitovic is an Associate Editor of Immuno and Frontiers in Endocrinology and an Editorial Board member for PLos ONE. She was Guest Editor for the special issue “Proteoglycans / Glycosaminoglycans: From Basic Research to Clinical Practice” for BioMed Research (2014), as well as of “Exploring the Multifaceted Roles of Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) – New Advances and Further Challenges” Biomolecules (2021) and of “The Role of Extracellular Matrix in Cancer Development and Progression” Biomolecules (2021).
Upon invitation, she has acted as a Reviewer for more than 40 international journals including Journal of Biological Chemistry, Life Sciences, International Journal of Cancer, PloS ONE, Toxicology, Cell Proliferation, Food and Chemical Toxicology, British Journal of Nutrition, Clinical and Experimental Metastasis, Tox Letters, International Journal of Biochemistry and Biology, Environmental Research etc. Upon invitation, she has acted as a reviewer for National grants in Hungary and Poland.
She has received several personal and group rewards by various Scientific Societies, among them the Hellenic Society of Biochemical & Molecular Biology Society and the Hellenic Connective Tissue Society, Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
Dr. Nikitovic is/was a participant in 11 Greek and International grants and is/was the principal investigator of 7 grants including those financed by the Ministry of Education, Lifelong learning and Religion, Greece, Program “Lifelong training, updating knowledge for university graduates”; Instituto di Rischerce Milano, Italy, Special Research Account of UOC, Heraklion, Greece and ERANET, EU, 2015.
Dragana Nikitovic has collaborated at International level with Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany; “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, Bucharest, Romania; DiSFeB, Università Degli Studi di Milano, Italy; the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, Moscow, Russia; University of Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, CERMAV, Grenoble, France.

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