LONDON – Dimitrios Karponis, 24, a final year medical student at the Imperial College London, was awarded by the Hellenic Medical Society UK (HMS UK) with the 2019 Papanikolaou Prize on November 15 at the Hellenic Medical Center in London.
Karponis spoke with The National Herald about the prize and about his research. He said, “I was humbled to receive the Papanikolaou Prize 2019… My work unveiled new mechanisms on how cigarette smoke contributes to premature skin ageing.”
The Papanikolaou Prize is awarded annually by the Hellenic Medical Society UK, in memory of Georgios Papanikolaou (or George Papanicolaou, as he is also known) for outstanding research in the field of medicine. Multiple scientists and doctors in the UK (age 24-38) submitted abstracts of their research and only four finalists were invited to present their work on November 15. Candidates must be 38 years or younger and below Consultant or Senior Scientist status. They should also be members or eligible for membership in the HMS UK. Shortlisted candidates delivered a ten-minute presentation, followed by a two-minute discussion.
The Society’s expert scientific committee then discussed and announced the results.
Karponis said, “I am very humbled and deeply honored to have been awarded the Papanikolaou Prize. At the age of 24, I am the youngest recipient of this prestigious award.”
Of the prize-winning research, Karponis told TNH, “Our work built on the foundations of how cigarette smoke affects the human skin. We investigated how an enzyme responsible for degrading the environment surrounding skin cells is affected by cigarette smoke. We also assessed viability, growth, proliferation and morphology of human dermal fibroblasts (cells that make up a layer of the skin) at different time points in response to various cigarette smoke insults. Experiments were conducted at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, at the Department of Pharmacology and Medicine. I am currently a final year medical student at Imperial College London and hold a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology.”
The title of his paper was The Effect of Cigarette Smoke on Growth, Proliferation and Secretion of Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2) by Human Dermal Fibroblasts.
The other three finalists and their papers were:
Dr. Anastasia Dimakopoulou: Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies prior to 24 weeks of gestation, Dr. Rania Kaltsoyianni: Timeline of respiratory function changes following administration of systemic postnatal corticosteroids in extremely preterm infants, and George Sotiropoulos: Circulating plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) activity: a biomarker for resectable non-small cell lung cancer?
Among those present at the event were HMS UK current President Dr. Miltiadis Krokidis, HMS UK President-elect Dr. Kyriaki Sonidou, and last year’s Papanikolaou Prize-winner Dr. Myria Galazi, who presented this year’s prize to Karponis.
More information about the Hellenic Medical Society UK and the annual Papanikolaou Prize is available online: hellenicmedicalsocietyuk.org.