The School of Arts & Sciences

Department of Natural Sciences

Elias Akoury

Dr. Elias Akoury graduated from the Faculty of Sciences at the Lebanese University in 2007 with a Diploma in Chemistry. After receiving his Master’s in Advanced Spectroscopy in Chemistry in 2009 from the University of Lille, France and the University of Leipzig, Germany, he joined the research group of Professor Zweckstetter at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany to pursue his doctoral studies under the supervision of Professor Christian Griesinger. He received his PhD in 2013 in Physical Chemistry with a focus on the field of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and drug discovery.

After postdoctoral studies at the Gene Center of the University of Munich, he joined in 2016 the Department of Chemistry at the same university as a research associate and academic tutor. Dr. Akoury has been in charge of the NMR facility housing a large number of high-field NMR spectrometers and a molecular biology lab. His research interests include structural elucidation of protein complexes, thermodynamics and kinetic studies of Phthalocyanine aromatic stacking and targeting natural products in drug discovery.

Dr. Akoury also has a broad technical experience in scientific instrumentation that covers the application of NMR, chromatographic analysis, optical spectroscopies, XRD, SAXS, protein synthesis and purification; and is a certified application specialist and technical support for NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry for the company JEOL Germany.

Other research interests include spectroscopic and computational approaches into the characterization of sulfonated phthalocyanine Π-Π stacking, methodology in NMR spectroscopy, molecular mechanisms in drug design for protein aggregation inhibition, and analysis of pharmaceutical derivatives in water bodies.

Dr. Akoury has published in peer-reviewed internationally renowned journals (Cell, JACS, Angewandte Chemie, Nucleic Acids Research, PNAS) and presented his research in international conferences. He is an active member of the Germany Chemical Society GDCh and a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS). He received the prestigious Erasmus-Mundus Scholarship from the European Union Commission, the Max Planck Society research scholarship, and travel awards to international conferences.

Selected publications

  1. Disordered region of H3K9 methyltransferase Clr4 binds the nucleosome and contributes to activity. Akoury E, Ma G, Demolin S, Broenner C, Zocco M, Cirilo A, Ivic N, Halic M. Nucleic Acids Research 2019, June 5, 2019
  2. Surfactant Adsoprtion Kinetics in Microfluidics. Riechers B, Maes F, Akoury E, Semin B, Gruner P, Baret JC. Proc Natl Acad Sci PNAS USA. 2016, Oct 11, 2017
  3. Remodeling of the conformational ensemble of the repeat domain of tau by an aggregation enhancer. Akoury E, Mukrasch MD, Biernat J, Tepper K, Ozenne V, Mandelkow E, Blackledge M, Zweckstetter M, Protein Science. 2016, March 24, 2016
  4. The active Hsc70/tau complex can be exploited to enhance tau turnover without damaging microtubule dynamics. Fontaine SN, Martin MD, Akoury E, Assimon VA, Borysov S, Nordhues BA, Sabbagh JJ, Cockman M, Gestwicki JE, Zweckstetter M, Dickey CA, Human Molecular Genetics 2015, April 16, 2015
  5. Hsp90-Tau complex reveals molecular basis for specificity in chaperon action. G. Elif Karagöz, Afonso M.S. Duarte, Elias Akoury, Hans Ippel, Jacek Biernat, Tatiana Didenko, Dmitry Veprintsev, Eckhard Mandelkow, Markus Zweckstetter, Rolf Boelens, Tobias Madl and Stefan G.D. Rüdiger, Cell 2014 156, 963-974, February 27, 2014
  6. Mechanistic Basis of Phenothiazine-Driven inhibition of Tau Aggregation. Akoury E, Pickhardt M, Gajda MJ, Biernat J, Mandelkow E, Zweckstetter M. Angewandte Chemie International Edition English 2013, 11 February 2013
  7. Inhibition of Tau Filament Formation by Conformational Modulation. Akoury E, Gajda MJ, Pickhardt M, Biernat J, Soraya P, Griesinger C, Mandelkow E, Zweckstetter M. Journal of American Chemical Society JACS 2013 Jan 29;135(7):2853-62.
  8. Imbalance of Hsp70 family variants fosters tau accumulation. Jinwal UK, Akoury E, Abisambra JF, O’Leary JC 3rd, Thompson AD, Blair LJ, Jin Y, Bacon J, Nordhues BA, Cockman M, Zhang J, Li P, Zhang B, Borysov S, Uversky VN, Biernat J, Mandelkow E, Gestwicki JE, Zweckstetter M, Dickey CA. FASEB Journal 2012 Dec 27
  9. β-Sheet core of tau paired helical filaments revealed by solid-state NMR. Daebel V, Chinnathambi S, Biernat J, Schwalbe M, Habenstein B, Loquet A, Akoury E, Tepper K, Müller H, Baldus M, Griesinger C, Zweckstetter M, Mandelkow E, Vijayan V, Lange A. Journal of American Chemical Society JACS 2012 Aug 29;134(34):13982-9,

International conferences

Academic degrees


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