Bio


Dr. Chrysovalantou Faniku performed her undergraduate studies at the University of Bedfordshire in England (UK) from 2008-2012, majoring in Biomedical Sciences. She continued her Master degree in Reproductive and Developmental Biology at St George’s Medical School in London from 2012-2013. Her research focused on post-ovulatory wound repair and scarring. Dr. Faniku worked as a research assistant at King’s College London prior to pursuing a Ph.D. in Glasgow in 2014. She completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 2018. Her research focused on Cx43 and Panx1, how these are impacted by diabetes and ischemia and how they could be potential therapeutic targets for wound healing of diabetic ulcers. In 2018, Dr. Faniku started her first postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Otolaryngology working in the lab of Dr. Jon-Paul Pepper. Her project investigates the role of the hedgehog pathway in facial nerve regeneration after injury.

Honors & Awards


  • Gold Sponsorship award 2015, Primerdesign UK (14th February 2015)

Professional Education


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Unlisted School (2019)
  • Master of Science, Unlisted School (2013)
  • Bachelor of Science, Unlisted School (2012)

All Publications


  • The Connexin Mimetic Peptide Gap27 and Cx43-Knockdown Reveal Differential Roles for Connexin43 in Wound Closure Events in Skin Model Systems INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES Faniku, C., O'Shaughnessy, E., Lorraine, C., Johnstone, S. R., Graham, A., Greenhough, S., Martin, P. M. 2018; 19 (2)

    Abstract

    In the epidermis, remodelling of Connexin43 is a key event in wound closure. However, controversy between the role of connexin channel and non-channel functions exist. We compared the impact of SiRNA targeted to Connexin43 and the connexin mimetic peptide Gap27 on scrape wound closure rates and hemichannel signalling in adult keratinocytes (AK) and fibroblasts sourced from juvenile foreskin (JFF), human neonatal fibroblasts (HNDF) and adult dermal tissue (ADF). The impact of these agents, following 24 h exposure, on GJA1 (encoding Connexin43), Ki67 and TGF-β1 gene expression, and Connexin43 and pSmad3 protein expression levels, were examined by qPCR and Western Blot respectively. In all cell types Gap27 (100-100 μM) attenuated hemichannel activity. In AK and JFF cells, Gap27 (100 nM-100 μM) enhanced scrape wound closure rates by ~50% but did not influence movement in HNDF or ADF cells. In both JF and AK cells, exposure to Gap27 for 24 h reduced the level of Cx43 protein expression but did not affect the level in ADF and HNDF cells. Connexin43-SiRNA enhanced scrape wound closure in all the cell types under investigation. In HDNF and ADF, Connexin43-SiRNA enhanced cell proliferation rates, with enhanced proliferation also observed following exposure of HDNF to Gap27. By contrast, in JFF and AK cells no changes in proliferation occurred. In JFF cells, Connexin43-SiRNA enhanced TGF-β1 levels and in JFF and ADF cells both Connexin43-SiRNA and Gap27 enhanced pSmad3 protein expression levels. We conclude that Connexin43 signalling plays an important role in cell migration in keratinocytes and foreskin derived fibroblasts, however, different pathways are evoked and in dermal derived adult and neonatal fibroblasts, inhibition of Connexin43 signalling plays a more significant role in regulating cell proliferation than cell migration.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/ijms19020604

    View details for Web of Science ID 000427527400288

    View details for PubMedID 29463027

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5855826

  • Report on the 1st European Tissue Repair Society summer school, London, June 29 to July 1, 2016 WOUND REPAIR AND REGENERATION Faniku, C., Castellano-Pellicena, I., Hoppenbrouwers, T., Korkmaz, H. 2017; 25 (3): 550–51

    View details for Web of Science ID 000408771200023

    View details for PubMedID 28463433

  • Connexins and pannexins in the integumentary system: the skin and appendages CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR LIFE SCIENCES Faniku, C., Wright, C. S., Martin, P. E. 2015; 72 (15): 2937–47

    Abstract

    The integumentary system comprises the skin and its appendages, which includes hair, nails, feathers, sebaceous and eccrine glands. In this review, we focus on the expression profile of connexins and pannexins throughout the integumentary system in mammals, birds and fish. We provide a picture of the complexity of the connexin/pannexin network illustrating functional importance of these proteins in maintaining the integrity of the epidermal barrier. The differential regulation and expression of connexins and pannexins during skin renewal, together with a number of epidermal, hair and nail abnormalities associated with mutations in connexins, emphasize that the correct balance of connexin and pannexin expression is critical for maintenance of the skin and its appendages with both channel and non-channel functions playing profound roles. Changes in connexin expression during both hair and feather regeneration provide suggestions of specialized communication compartments. Finally, we discuss the potential use of zebrafish as a model for connexin skin biology, where evidence mounts that differential connexin expression is involved in skin patterning and pigmentation.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00018-015-1969-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358088600012

    View details for PubMedID 26091749