Elias Akoury

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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 the Department of Chemistry in 2016 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.

Research Interests

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. Additionally, he is a certified application specialist and technical support for NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry for 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.

Professional Memberships

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

Selected Publications

  1. Field evaluation of metal bioaccumulation in the gastropod Helix aspersa at agricultural and industrial sites in Lebanon. Al-Alam J, Millet M, Harb M, Akoury E, Tokajian S, Wazne M. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, December 14, 2023.

  1. Toxic metals in packed rice: Effects of size, type, origin, packing season, and storage durationAkoury E, Najwa M, Abdul Reda G, Dimassi H, Karam L, Alwan N, Hassan H. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, January 10, 2023.

  2. Synthesis of lanthanide tag and paramagnetically induced residual dipolar couplings. Yassin A, Nehmeh B, El Kantar S, Al Kazzaz Y, Akoury EBMC Chemistry, July 21, 2022. 

  3. Deciphering the therapeutic potentials of rosmarinic acid. El Kantar S, Yassin A, Nehme B, Labaki L, Mitri S, Naserldine F, Hirko A, Cabalero S, Monck E, Maruniak A, Akoury EScientific Reports, September 15, 2022. 

  4. Snails as Temporal Biomonitors of the Occurrence and Distribution of Pesticides in an Apple Orchard. Al-Alam J, Millet M, Khoury D, Rodrigues A, Harb M, Akoury E, Tokajian S, Wazne M. Toxicology Reports, July 27, 2022.

  5. Determination of heavy metals contamination in thyme products by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometryAkoury E, Baroud C, El Kantar S, Hassan H, Karam L. Toxicology Reports, October 27, 2022.

  6. Derivatization and combination therapy of current COVID-19 therapeutic agents: a review of mechanistic pathways, adverse effects and, binding sites. El Kantar S, Nehmeh B, Saad P, Mitri G, Estephan C, Mroueh M, Akoury E, Taleb R. Drug Discovery Today, August 12, 2020.

  7. Disordered region of H3K9 Methyltransferase Clr4 binds the nucleosome and contributes to its activityAkoury E, Ma G, Demolin S, Broenner C, Zocco M, Cirilo A, Ivic N, Halic M. Nucleic Acids Research, July 26, 2019.

  8. Surfactant adsorption kinetics in microfluidics. Riechers B, Maes F, Akoury E, Semin B, Gruner P, Baret JC. Proc Natl Acad Sci PNAS USA, August 16, 2016.

  9. 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, March 3, 2016.

  10. 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, July 15, 2015.

  11. Hsp90-Tau Complex Reveals Molecular Basis for Specificity in Chaperone 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 156, 963-974, February 27, 2014.

  12. 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, February 11, 2013;52(12):3511-3515.  

  13. 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, January 29;135(7):2853-62. 

  14. 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, Dec 10, 2012.

  15. 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, Aug 3 ;134(34):13982-9.

International Conferences

  • July 2018: EUROMAR European Congress on Magnetic Resonance, 1–5 July 2018, Nantes, France
  • April 2018: 24th International Conference, Lebanese Association for the Advancement of Science LAAS, Balamand, Lebanon
  • April 2018 Public Lecture, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Science and Technology AUST, Beirut, Lebanon
  • September 2017: 39th International Magnetic Resonance Conference, Bayreuth, Germany
  • September 2017: Guest Lecture, Departments of Chemistry and Biology, American University of Beirut AUB, Beirut, Lebanon
  • July 2017: EUROMAR European Congress on Magnetic Resonance, 2 – 6 July 2017, Warsaw, Poland
  • April 2017: 23rd International Conference, Lebanese Association for the Advancement of Science LAAS, Beirut, Lebanon
  • February 2017: Dynamics and Intermediates of Molecular Transformations Symposium, 2 – 4 February 2017, Munich, Germany
  • June 2016: Biophysics in Drug Discovery, 7 – 10 June 2016, Strasbourg, France
  • September 2015: EMBO Image Processing for Cryo-EM Microscopy, 1 – 11 September 2015, London, U.K
  • October 2014: G-NMR Workshop Helmholtz-Zentrum, 13–15 October 2014, Munich, Germany
  • February 2014: BRUKER Biospin FT–NMR Workshop, 20– 24 January 2014, Göttingen, Germany
  • May 2013: International Society for Magnetic Resonance, 19 – 24 May 2013, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • March 2013: German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases - DZNE, Göttingen, Germany
  • September 2012: Intrinsically Disordered Proteins by NMR, 9 – 14 September 2012, Les Houches, France
  • March 2012: Discovery Chemistry Congress, 13 -14 March 2012, Munich, Germany
  • January 2012: Biology and Pathology of Tau protein, 8 – 10 January 2012, Cambridge, U.K
  • November 2011: PhD student Symposium, Life in Motion, 17 – 18 November 2011, IRB, Barcelona, Spain
  • September 2011: EU/CCPN conference and workshop, 26 – 30 September 2011, ITQB, Lisbon, Portugal
  • June 2011: Protein Science Summer School, 1 – 8 June 2011, Spetses, Greece
  • October 2010: BRUKER Biospin FT–NMR workshop, 4 – 8 October 2010, Göttingen, Germany
  • November 2010: Max Planck Gesellchaft – Molecular Basis of Toxic Protein conformation 10 November 2010, Tegernsee, Germany
  • September 2009: GDCh 31st FGMR Discussion Meeting – 21 June – 24 September 2009, Dresden, Germany
  • June 2009: Summer School – Spectroscopy of the Atmosphere, 29 June – 10 July 2009, Jaca, Spain
  • March 2009: Annual Seminar of the Institutes of Analytical Chemistry 19 – 20 March 2009, Königstein, Germany
  • February 2009: Erasmus Mundus Conference 26 – 27 February 2009, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
  • June 2008: Summer School – American Studies, University of Graz, Center of American Studies 28 June 2008, Graz, Austria

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Physical Chemistry, 2013, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and University of Goettingen, Germany
  • MS in Advanced Spectroscopy in Chemistry 2009, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • BS in Chemistry 2003, Lebanese University, Lebanon