Dr. Constantinos C. Mylonas was recently appointed as Director of the Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC) of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR). Dr. Mylonas was born in Famagusta, Cyprus in 1964 and was recruited in 1999 by the then Institute of Marine Biology of Crete (IMBC). He was promoted to Senior Researcher in 2007, following the merge of IMBC with the National Center for Marine Research (NCMR) and the creation of the new national Research Center (HCMR).
Constantinos Mylonas studied Aquaculture (B.Sc., 1984-1988) at Texas A&M University, USA, with the initial goal of getting involved in the “young”, at the time, marine aquaculture industry in Cyprus. After deciding to continue his studies at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA (M.Sc., 1988-1991), he studied the application of pharmacological methods to induce ovulation in trout and its effects on egg quality. Staying in the adacemia, at the Center for Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA (Ph.D., 1991-1996), he studied the endocrinology of marine fish reproduction and the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) implants to induce spawning and increase sperm production in farmed fish species.
His field of research is summarized in (a) the study of the reproductive biology and endocrinology of fish, (b) the detection of dysfunctions present in fish under captive conditions, and (c) the development of methods to control reproduction in species of interest to aquaculture. In this context, he has conducted applied research to optimize broodstock management methods, mostly of marine species. Besides collaborating with various research centers, his research brought him into close collaboration with the aquaculture industry and he has worked with a large number of companies and many different species of farmed fish, including meagre, Senegalese sole, Atlantic halibut, wreckfish, greater amberjack and bluefin tuna. For some of these species, Dr. Mylonas and his associates have achieved control of reproduction for the first time.
His research activity includes the coordination of 7 research programmes from Greece and the European Commission (such as DIVERSIFY, www.diversifyfish.eu). In addition, he coordinated the participation of IMBC or HCMR in 4 European programmes (5th and 7th Framework Programme and Horizon 2020) as Scientific Responsible. He has attracted a total funding of €4,85 million from research organizations as well as contracts with private companies. In addition to his research activity, he has an active role in providing consulting services to the aquaculture industry both in Greece and Europe. Advisory services include (a) the assessment of broodstock maturation and gamete quality, (b) the evaluation of broodstock management practices in commercial hatcheries, and (c) the design of experiments to induce reproductive maturation and spawning. Since 2018, he has been elected as member of the Board of Directors of the European Aquaculture Society.
Dr. Mylonas has co-authored 127 scientific articles in international journals of the ISI-Index, with 2,940 citations (excluding self-citations)and has an = 37 (www.scopus.com). He has edited a book on the biology of the Sparidae family (Wiley Blackwell, Oxford) with emphasis on gilthead sea bream, the most important species in Mediterranean aquaculture. He has also written chapters on fish spawning control in six other books and he teaches seminars on aquaculture, fish breeding and biotechnology at the University of Crete, Department of Biology.
The goal of Dr. Mylonas is to continue the excellence path of IMBBC under the leadership of former director Dr. Antonis Magoulas, whose tenure has established IMBBC as a leader in marine biology research in Greece. Especially in the area of aquaculture, the institute’s contribution to the establishment and impressive growth of the Greek industry has been fundamental since the 1990s. In addition, IMBCC has emerged in the fields of marine biology, biotechnology and genetics. Dr. Magoulas has also introduced innovative biotechnology and biomedical research directions and today the institute is a key partner in almost all European and international research programs and infrastructures focusing on Mediterranean marine biology. The key objectives of Dr. Mylonas are for the institute to continue its key role in marine research, and the study, conservation and exploitation of the biodiversity of the Greek marine environment – a source of wealth for the country through the millennia – and the sustainable development of aquaculture – its second important export activity. Greece’s marine environment will continue to be the most important element of the life of its residents, the main product of its tourism industry and an excellent source of top quality seafood. Emphasis will also be given to the more effective dissemination of IMBBC ‘s research activities beyond the scientific community, both to the local community and to the public administration, in order to highlight both the importance of the Institute’s activities in the daily lives of Greek citizens and the need to harness and protect the resources of the Greek seas.
IMBBC will continue to be a center of excellence and knowledge production in marine research in Europe, and offer its scientific services to society, public administration and private companies active in the exploitation of marine biological resources. The many collaborations of IMBBC with European research institutes and universities will continue, in order to enhance both the research capacity of the institute, but also the dissemination and implementation of its results to the European community.