Two Greek Researchers Win L’Oreal-Unesco “Women in Science” Scholarships for 2017

Two young and promising Greek researchers were selected among more than 1,000 candidates to receive two of the 30 French L’Oreal-Unesco French Fellowships “For Women in Science”, accompanied by 15,000 to 20,000 euro financial award.

These scholarships are awarded by the L’Oreal Foundation in collaboration with the French Academy of Sciences and the French Commission of Unesco to 30 young scientists (10 PhDs and 20 postdoctoral researchers) conducting frontier research in their scientific field in France.

One scholarship was given to postdoctoral researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Fani Koukouli, who is conducting neurobiological research focusing on the pathology of schizophrenia. The pre-frontal cortex of the brain displays reduced neuronal activity in the brains of patients with psychoses such as schizophrenia. This problem is often attributed to a genetic disorder in nicotinic prefrontal cortex receptors, which is related to the fact that 80-90 pct of patients with schizophrenia are smokers.

The Greek researcher has been studying molecules that act on nicotine receptors and allow the nerves to return to normal activity. At the same time, she is responsible for a major research programme on the role of nicotinic receptors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The goal, both in the case of schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, is the development of new pharmaceutical therapeutic approaches.

Koukouli graduated from the Department of Pharmacy of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2009 and received her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the French Pasteur Institute in 2016.

The second scholarship was given to the doctoral researcher Anna-Maria Pappa of the Ecole des Mines de Saint Etienne School of Bioelectronics Laboratory, also a collaborating researcher at Cambridge University, UK. Her research focuses on the detection of metabolic substances in the cell using organic electronics.

The Greek researcher studied at “Anatolia” College in Thessaloniki, graduated from the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2012 and proceeded with postgraduate studies in nanosciences, nanotechnology and biomaterials.