Philippe A. Melas

Philippe A. Melas

Senior Research Specialist
Visiting address: ,
Postal address: K8 Klinisk neurovetenskap, K8 CPF, 171 77 Stockholm

About me

  • As an independent researcher at the Center for Psychiatry Research (CPF), I'm fascinated by the complexity of substance use disorders and the underlying molecular and genetic mechanisms that contribute to addiction. My academic journey started with a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Democritus University in Greece, followed by a master's degree in Genetic Counseling at Uppsala University. During my PhD studies at Karolinska Institutet, I focused on using molecular and epigenetic methodologies to investigate psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. After completing my PhD, I joined Dr. Eric Kandel's lab at Columbia University as a postdoctoral fellow, where I gained valuable insights into brain reward systems and their dysregulation in substance use and addiction. Since returning to Karolinska Institutet as an independent researcher in 2020, my research has expanded to include the study of epitranscriptomics in substance use disorders. Through my research, I hope to shed light on the underlying molecular mechanisms of addiction and contribute to the development of new, personalized treatments.


  • Overview
    My research is dedicated to understanding the molecular, genetic, epigenetic and epitranscriptomic components driving substance use disorders, commonly known as addiction. My recent work has focused primarily on alcohol use disorder (AUD), which impacts approximately 5% of the global population and is a significant burden on mental health systems worldwide. In Sweden alone, over 300, 000 people are estimated to struggle with AUD. More specifically, my latest research aims to investigate the roles of the RNA-demethylating enzyme FTO and m6A RNA methylation in the development of AUD. Recent genome-wide association studies have identified significant associations between the FTO gene and various alcohol use phenotypes, including AUD. However, there is a lack of studies examining the causal and functional roles of FTO and m6A RNA methylation in AUD development. By conducting a multidisciplinary investigation using animal models, primary neurons, and human postmortem brain tissue, we hope to advance our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms contributing to alcohol use disorders. Our approach includes a combination of behavioral neuroscience, molecular biology, and bioinformatics methods. We have assembled a team of experts in each of these fields, and established international collaborations with other PIs to ensure that we have access to the latest technology and techniques. We aim to uncover new insights that could lead to the development of novel, targeted therapeutics for AUD with the potential to significantly improve clinical outcomes.

    Project funding
    For my research as a PI, I am grateful to have received project support from a range of funding sources, including the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Brain Foundation, the Alcohol Research Council of the Swedish Alcohol Retailing Monopoly, the Åke Wibergs Foundation, the Petrus and Augusta Hedlunds Foundation, the Magnus Bergvall Foundation, the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, the Sigurd and Elsa Goljes Minne Foundation, the Lars Hiertas Minne Foundation, the Loo and Hans Ostermans Foundation, Karolinska Institutet's Research Grants, and the Längmanska Foundation. These grants have enabled me to pursue my research and have contributed to the advancement of the field of addiction research.

    Fellowships and Awards
    I have also been honored to receive several awards and postdoctoral fellowships during my early academic career. These include the international postdoc grant from the Swedish Research Council, postdoctoral grants from the Sweden-America Foundation, the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, and the Fernströms Foundation, as well as doctoral fellowships from Karolinska Institutet (KID) and the Bodossaki Foundation in Greece. I have also received research and/or conference travel awards from Karolinska Institutet, Roche Continents, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the USA. These awards have provided me with opportunities to pursue my academic interests and have inspired me to continue to contribute to the field of molecular psychiatry.


  • I am committed to providing high-quality education and have been involved in teaching at various levels. My teaching portfolio includes:

    - Lecturer during the ‘Psychiatric Genetics’ week of the 'Research School for Clinicians in Psychiatry' for PhD students at the Karolinska Institutet and Region Stockholm.
    - Lecturer during the ‘Genetic Epidemiology’ week of the 'Applied Epidemiology 2 - Determinants of Health' Master’s program at the Dept. of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet.
    - Lecturer on ‘The Genetics of Addiction’ for resident doctors in psychiatry at Stockholm Center for Dependency Disorders, Stockholm County Council.
    - Lecturer on ‘Stress Signaling - Impacts on the brain and body’ as part of the PhD course in ‘Cellular Signaling’ at Karolinska Institutet.
    - Teacher assistant in the seminar ‘Clinical Genetics’ for medical students, Karolinska Institutet.

    I have also co-organized two courses at the Karolinska Institutet:
    1) A PhD course in 'Psychiatric Genetics' that is part of the 'Research School for Clinicians in Psychiatry' at Karolinska Institutet and Region Stockholm:
    2) A Master's course in 'Genetic Epidemiology' that is part of 'Applied Epidemiology 2 – Determinants of Health' at Karolinska Institutet:


All other publications


  • The role of m6A RNA methylation in alcohol use disorder
    The Alcohol Research Council of the Swedish Alcohol Retailing Monopoly
    1 January 2024 - 31 December 2025
  • Swedish Research Council
    1 January 2024 - 31 December 2026
  • The role of m6A RNA methylation in alcohol use disorder
    Swedish Brain Foundation
    1 July 2023 - 30 June 2024


  • Senior Research Specialist, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 2021-

Degrees and Education

  • Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, 2012

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