University of Patras

Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management


The University of Western Greece, located at the outskirts of the city of Agrinio, is the most recently founded University in Greece established in 2009.The University of Western Greece provides high quality education through its departments, with members that are active in both education and research. The focus of the current departments is in the environmental and natural resources management, the business administration of food and agricultural enterprises and in the management of cultural environment and new technologies. The University of Western Greece is committed to offer high quality studies and aims to create a generation of scientists capable of undertaking basic and applied research and also for exploiting the natural resources of Western Greece and the country overall.The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management currently has 22 faculty members who supervise the research of about 25 postgraduate students and about 5 postdoctoral workers with an annual output of more than 50 refereed publications in international journals.




Research Group of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

The Molecular Genetics and Microbiology group (MGM) focuses on the study of the Biosphere: from genes and genomes to organisms and applications. Emphasis is given on: (a) Insects, Symbionts and Applications, (b) Environmental Microbiology and Genomics (other than symbionts) and (c) Molecular Ecology (other than prokaryotes).


Dr Kostas Bourtzis, Professor of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Biochemistry



He has a first degree and PhD in Biology (Department of Biology, University of Patras). He is Professor in Molecular Biology, Genetics and Biochemistry in the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management where was first appointed in May 2000. His main research interests include:  (a) host-microbe interactions with an emphasis on insect-Wolbachia symbiotic associations using genetic, molecular, cellular, biochemical and genomic approaches; (b) use insect symbionts for the development of novel and environmentally friendly approaches for the control of insect pests and disease vectors of agricultural, environmental and health importance; (c) detection, characterization and exploitation of national microbial diversity (MikroBioKosmos) towards its exploitation for knowledge-based Bio-Economy and (d) use of molecular biology and genetics for biodiversity studies at both prokaryotic and eukaryotic level in an applied context. He is the author of -78 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Based on Scopus, he has more than 1600 citations with an h-index of 24 (excluding self-citations: >1360 citations and h-index of 21).

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Dr Giorgos Tsiamis, Lecturer of Environmental Microbiology



He has a first degree in Agriculture – Crop Production from the Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, an MSc in Crop Protection from the University of Reading UK and a PhD in Molecular Microbiology by the University of London (Wye College). He is Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management where was appointed in September 2009. His main research interests include:  (a) study of the microbial diversity in extreme environments using –omic technologies, (b) accessing the metabolic diversity found in microorganisms using genome sequencing which enables the analysis of hereditary information at the most basic biological level, (c) designing and developing new tools for the study of the bacterial diversity, and (d) bioenergy. He is the author of 21 articles in peer-reviewed journals with more than 650 citations and with an h index of 9 (excluding self-citations: >630 citations and h-index of 9).

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Research Interests

  1. Insects, Symbionts and Applications. Insects are the animal group, which has successfully established the most diverse symbioses, both inside and outside their bodies. These associations affect various aspects of the insect life cycle and physiology, including development, nutrition, reproduction, speciation, defence and host plant preference, thus aiding insects in developing and maintaining the most diverse lifestyles of all animals. Wolbachia is an intracellular bacterium that has been shown to cause numerous phenotypic effects in its hosts and may potentially be useful as a biological control agent. The potential of the Wolbachia-based Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT) to control Ceratitis capitata (medfly) and Bactrocera oleae (olivefly) populations has been demonstrated.
  2. Environmental Microbiology and Genomics (other than symbionts). It is a well-known fact that the microbes still rule the planet and the vast majority of the diversity of life on Earth today is microbial. Microbes occupy every possible ecosystem, from the high atmosphere to the deep ocean and the Earth’s crust. Biologists have known these facts for a long time, but very recently they have come to realize that their previous estimate of microbial diversity has been far, far too low. Environmental microbes are immensely diverse and have numerous metabolic activities and products that could have industrial applications. However, >99% of environmental microbes cannot be cultured under current laboratory conditions, leaving their potential largely untapped. Therefore, understanding the microbial community structure, diversity and function is essential to understand fully the evolution and sustainability of life on Earth. As well as having a vital role in sustainability, we believe that microbes are and can be a source of various industrial products that have potential applications across all major industries. We currently use state of the art technologies like high-density DNA microrarrays, metagenomic, 16S rRNA pyrotagging and Single Cell Genomics to unravel and exploit the hidden power of MikroBioKosmos.
  3. Molecular Ecology (other than prokaryotes). We study the dynamics, adaptations and functioning of animals and plants with an emphasis of endangered and / or pest species. Recent conservation efforts have focused on genetic events in species with small populations, such as threatened species, which are usually inbred and have low levels of genetic diversity. Genetic diversity provides the raw material for evolutionary change and is essential for adaptation to new environmental conditions that invariably arise due to natural and anthropogenic changes. A species without an appropriate amount of genetic diversity is thought to be unable to cope with changes in environmental conditions, evolving competitors, parasites or climate change. In addition, the population control of insect pests and disease vectors requires very good knowledge of their population genetic structure.


Selected recent publications

  1. Tsiamis, G., Katsaveli, K., Ntougias, S., Kyrpides, N., Andersen, G., Piceno, Y., Bourtzis, K. (2008) Prokaryotic community profiles at different operational stages of a Greek solar saltern. Research in Microbiology, 159: 609-627.
  2. Antonis A. Augustinos, Diego Santos-Garcia; Eva Dionyssopoulou, Marta Moreira, Aristeidis Papapanagiotou, Marios Scarvelakis, Vangelis Doudoumis, Silvia Ramos, Antonio F. Aguiar, Paulo A.V. Borges, Manhaz Khadem, Amparo Latorre, George Tsiamis, Kostas Bourtzis (2011) Detection and Characterization of Wolbachia Infections in Natural Populations of Aphids: Is the Hidden Diversity Fully Unraveled? PLoS One 6(12): e28695
  3. Katerina Katsaveli, Dimitris Vayenas, George Tsiamis, Kostas Bourtzis (2012) Bacterial Diversity in Cr(VI) and Cr(III)-contaminated industrial wastewaters. Extremophiles doi:10.1007/s00792-012-0429-0
  4. Tsiamis G, Tzagkaraki G, Chamalaki A, Xypteras N, Andersen G, Vayenas D, Bourtzis K (2012) Olive-Mill wastewater bacterial communities display a cultivar specific profile. Current Microbiology 64(2): 197-203.
  5. A. Tsagkarakou, L. Mouton, J. B. Kristoffersen, E. Dokianakis, M. Grispou and K. Bourtzis (2012). Population genetic structure and secondary endosymbionts of Q biotype Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 102: 353-365.



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