Get to know Pothitos Pitychoutis

Pothitos PitychoutisPothitos Pitychoutis embodies all the complexities that can be found in a scientist who embraces all the imagination that the world has to offer. Pothitos is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Biology. His special area of interest is neuroscience. His fascination with biology began in his early teens when he first saw a cell. Pothitos told me of his complete and utter awe at seeing a cell for the first time, "It was so beautiful and bizarre." Still, he will always be grateful to his Ph.D. mentor back in Greece, Dr. Zeta Papadopoulou-Daifoti who inspired him to follow the path of science and academia, "Dr. Daifoti believed in me at a time when I was too young to believe in my dreams."

According to Pothitos his relationship with science has been much like a romantic love, "First you discover each other and are interested, and then you become involved with each other. Sometimes you struggle and fight but you always love each other, and you find happiness together, that is how my relationship with science has been." Pothitos started his journey in Biology at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece) where he earned a Bachelor of Science. The next stage of his education took him through a M.Sc. in Molecular Medicine/ Neurobiology and then a Ph.D., all at the University of Athens.

After his time at the University of Athens, he spent time as a Research Associate in the Medical School of Athens and then later as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at INSERM in Paris, and at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens. He then came to Dayton to join our prestigious TREND lab. TREND is the Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering of Dayton. Pothitos is part of this innovative team, working to understand and utilize the regenerative nature of cells and tissues. Pothitos' research is directed at understanding the behavioral, neurochemical, and molecular mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders, specifically in depression and schizophrenia. This is major research with far reaching impacts.

When Pothitos isn't in the lab or lecture hall he is focusing on his family. Currently his wife Katherine and their two young children live in Greece. His two and a half year old daughter Penelope, six month old son Constantine and his wife will be coming to America in June. Until then Pothitos Skypes and calls them as often as he can.

Family is very important to him and he misses them very much. They will bring the family cat as well; of whom Pothitos is very fond, "he is very smart, very much like a dog trapped in the body of a cat!" Their cat’s name is Clochard, which translates to "homeless," a very appropriate name considering that they rescued him from the streets of Athens. This clever cat has been known to meow at Pothitos from a great distance when he sees him arriving home. Needless to say, Pothitos is a family man.

In his spare time he enjoys music, television and movies. Specifically, he likes TV shows that include fantastic or science fiction elements such as Lost, Game of Thrones, and Heroes but also enjoys House. His favorite movies are psychological thrillers such as Requiem for a Dream. He also appreciates films with sharp cinematography like Tim Burton’s movies.

Pothitos enjoys traveling and has been to Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Mexico and Turkey. According to Pothitos it is not about the destination for him, he is much more excited to be on the journey. "It all depends on the companion you have and the people you meet," he explains to me of his feelings about travel.

Pothitos is a complex and imaginative individual who believes that being a scientist is not mutually exclusive with being a dreamer. Being a loyal, funny, and sensitive person only aids in making him a better scientist. His journey to the University of Dayton has been an adventure but his advice to students is "Find an adventure that lets you be yourself, and seek passion in what you are doing. Most of all follow your muse."