Welcome to my site
Hi, I am Vasilis, thanks for stopping by!
I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecological Science (Section Systems Ecology) at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam. My research focuses on better understanding the evolutionary significance of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi unique nuclear dynamics across scales and specifically how they affect the function and fitness of the interconnected fungi and plants, in diverse abiotic and biotic conditions. I am interested in applying the acquired knowledge towards a more sustainable agriculture and to better understand the challenges that the mycorrhizal symbiosis faces against climate change.
I completed my postdoctoral position at the University of Ottawa and at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Ottawa Research and Development Centre. This position was part of a fruitful collaboration between Nicolas Corradi, Frank Stefani and Jeremy Dettman.
My Ph. D took place in the amazing Hart lab, at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO).
I love problem solving and finding answers to difficult research questions and for that reason, I became fascinated by AM fungi. These ancient plant obligate symbionts have unique features and hold many secrets waiting to be understood. I was involved in many research projects investigating multiple fungal related questions. Here are some of them: The effects of domestication on the function and morphology of AM fungi; the genetics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; how wild plants and cultivars respond to commercial AM fungal inoculants; which factors can affect plant response to AM/ Ectomycorrhizal fungi; inter/intra isolate variation of AM fungi; the effect of non-pathogenic versus pathogenic fungi on flax growth and gene expression.
I completed my undergraduate and MSc degrees at the Agricultural University of Athens (AUA) under George Zervakis and Ioannis Massas. I studied the bio-accumulation of heavy metals by saprobic and ectomycorrhizal mushrooms growing in urban areas. I was also involved in other projects such as: Preliminary assessment of belowground diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with Cistus and Quercus plants in littoral areas of continental Greece, and rare earth element content in the Athens urban area as well as determination of rare earths bioaccumulation by ectomycorrhizal and saprobic fungi.
I strongly believe that time is a precious gift and for that reason I try keeping my interests creative and transformative.
I love traveling, exploring and getting exposed to different cultures. It helps me expand my way of thinking and develop a more holistic point of view in multiple ideas and beliefs.
I have a passion with philosophy. Learning about the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, existence and about the evolution of human thinking through centuries and throughout the world is fascinating. But what intrigues me further, is the process of imbedding every single action and thought with philosophical principles in my everyday life. After all philosophy without action is just sterile intellectualism. Ultimately, I would love to see education turning to a more philosophical based system (take a look at the pedagogy section!).
I have a deep bond with music and I love to play piano and compose music but also love a good jam session with friends.
I try to develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and awareness via daily meditation (anyone else excited about float tanks?)
Cooking is also something that relaxes me a lot and I enjoy food nights with good friends. When my friends say "quit your PhD and open a restaurant" I take it as a compliment, but I skip that advice!
And in agreement to the famous quote "strong mind and strong body" I often go for outdoor adventures and hit the gym regularly.