I am absolutely delighted for making it into the finals! Thanks everyone for your support and the great time I'm having at this event!
2003-2009: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; 2009-2010: Imperial College London, UK; 2011-2014: Imperial College London, UK.
BSc and MEng (Dipl-Ing) in Electrical and Computer Engineering; MSc in Biomedical Engineering, PhD in Biomedical Electronics
University of Southampton (nano fabrication engineer and researcher), Imperial College London and the National Heart and Lung Institute (PhD student)
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Imperial College London
Favourite thing to do in my job Being innovative and working on something that can possibly have a big impact on people’s lives.
I make micro-devices that produce tiny droplets of a drug which travel through the body to find a specific site of pain/infection and act on it.
My work is mostly based on a micro-fabrication facility, called a “clean room”. A clean room is an environment used in manufacturing research with a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapours. Every person that enters a clean room needs to wear protective clothing such as hoods, face masks, gloves, boots, and coveralls. In the clean room I can build structures which are smaller than the width of a hair (< 10 μm). After building these so-called “devices”, I take them to our bio-labs to test them. In the bio-labs I use these devices in several chemical and biological applications; for example some devices serve as scaffolds to grow cells on. Some other devices are used to produce tiny water droplets that carry a specific drug inside. At a later stage, these tiny droplets will be inserted in the human body and travel all the way through the body to find the site of pain or infection and will release the drug only at the site.
My Typical Day
A typical day at work involves a lot of work in the lab, lunch and coffee break with friends and colleagues.
In a typical day, I would wear my clean room suite and work in the lab for about 4-5 hours. I have to clean my materials and then process the materials in order to build tiny structures. For example I place a silicon wafer into a chamber that has oxygen and plasma to create chemical bonds on its surface. Moreover, I place the silicon wafer into another chamber, where I deposit a thin layer of metal on top, such as gold, platinum, aluminium, chromium and many more. Finally, after building the structures, I view them under the microscope. I normally have lunch with my friends and colleagues around 1 o’clock and sometimes a coffee break around 4 o’clock. I prefer to finish my day with some office work, which usually involves email correspondence, data analysis, computer-aided (CAD) design, etc. I leave the university around 18.30-19.00 depending on the work load.
What I'd do with the money
I’ll organise a fun day at Imperial College London for school children.
I would like to use the money to open the doors of my university to school children and let them see what kind of science we do there. With a great deal of help from my friends and colleagues, I would like to plan a visit at the South Kensington campus, one of the most beautiful locations in London. There will be a tour in the facilities of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the department of Chemistry. We will demonstrate to small groups of students the laboratories and present posters with our scientific work in a fun, interactive way. We will also organise activities and experiments, and give small prizes for the students. I would also like to arrange a visit to the Science Museum, which is literally next doors.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Inventive, dedicated, stubborn.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I created beating heart tissue in a lab dish.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My parents; my father is an engineer and my mother is a doctor. From my early years they taught me to love and respect science.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was never in BIG trouble!
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
An engineer (although technically I still am an engineer)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Lana Del Rey
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Horse riding in the countryside with friends.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) To win the nobel prize, 2) to discover or invent something that will have a big impact on people and science, 3) to live a long and healthy life with my beloved people
Tell us a joke.
Physics Teacher: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?” Student: “Yes sir, if he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.”