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The Program at a Glance
Who: Two Universities,one Research Center and one Medical Center  
Where: Heraklion and Chania,Crete  
When: Applications start on April 2021 and lectures to start September 2021 
Duration/Credits: 15 Months (90 ECTS) or 24 Months (120 ECTS)  

1st TRIMESTER  20/9-20/11 Introductory Module

2nd TRIMESTER 26/11-12/2 Biofabrication, Molecular Diagnostics and Therapy Module

3rd TRIMESTER 22/2-9/4 Bio-Medical Imaging Module

4th TRIMESTER 01/05-20/06 Medical Information Systems Module

2nd TRIMESTER 26/11-12/2 Biofabrication, Molecular Diagnostics and Therapy Module 

Module Moderator: Maria Chatzinikolaidou

ΒΜΕ6: Biomaterials and Biofabrication, Kelly Velonia, Anna Mitraki, Emmanuel Stratakis

ΒΜΕ7: Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Maria Chatzinikolaidou, Charalampos Pontikoglou, Anthi Ranella

ΒΜΕ8: Drug Development and Pharmaceutical Technology, Maria Vamvakaki, Georgios Liapakis, Ioannis Charalambopoulos

ΒΜΕ9: Biosensors and Lab on-a-chip, Electra Gizeli, Nikos Chronis

ΒΜΕ10: Molecular Diagnostics and Precision Medicine, Eleni Papadaki, Nektarios Tavernarakis, Michail Klontzas, Sofia Agelaki

BME6: Biomaterials and Biofabrication

Kelly Velonia

has received the B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Crete. She holds a doctoral degree in Mechanistic Organic Chemistry from the University of Crete where she did her graduate work with Profs I. Smonou and G.J. Karabatsos. In 2000 she joined the group of Prof. R.J.M. Nolte at the Department of Organic Chemistry of the University of Nijmegen (RUN), The Netherlands, as a post-doctoral fellow. In 2001 she joined the group of Prof. F.C. De Schryver at the Department of Chemistry, University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium, as a post-doctoral fellow and in 2002 returned at the group of Prof. R.J.M. Nolte as a Marie Curie Individual Fellow. In 2004 she joined the Department of Organic Chemistry of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, as an Assistant Professor. In 2007 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Materials Science, University of Crete (tenure 2010).

Current research areas and interests include: 

- Synthesis and characterization of multifunctional peptide/protein-polymer hybrids,

- Directed biomaterial assembly, structure-function relationships,

- Biotechnological and material applications of synthetic biomaterials (e.g. drug delivery systems, nanoreactors),

- Cascade (bio)catalysis, Single enzyme catalysis.


Anna Mitraki

received her BSc in Chemistry, University of Thessaloniki, Greece, 1981; PhD Biochemistry, Universite de Paris-Sud, Orsay, France, 1986 (work on enzyme folding, assembly and aggregation with Professor Jeannine Yon-Kahn). She was a Post-doctoral associate (1987-1991) and then Research Scientist (1991-1994) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A. (work on folding and assembly of fibrous phage proteins with Professor Jonathan King). Research scientist at the Institut de Biologie Structurale in Grenoble, France (French National Research Center) from 1995 to 2004. Habilitation, Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France, in 2003, for work on structure, folding and assembly of beta-structured fibrous proteins and their self-assembling peptides. Since September 2004, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Technology, University of Crete, Greece. Affiliated Research Scientist with the Institute for Electronic Structure and Laser, FORTH. Academic Editor, PLoS ONE (2009-2014, Since September 2014, Professor, Department of Materials Science and Technology, University of Crete, Greece.

Current research areas and interests include:

- the proteins as biomaterials; bioinspired materials;

- engineering and design of fibrous biomaterials;

- self-assembling peptides;

- protein folding and assembly;

- protein engineering and production.


Emmanuel Stratakis (Course Moderator)

is a Research Director at FORTH-IESL, where he is leading the “Ultrafast Laser Micro- and Nano- processing” laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Crete in 2001. He has been a Visiting Scientist at the University of California Berkeley in the fall semesters of 2006 and 2008. He has delivered more than 40 invited and keynote lectures and has been organizer and chair in major international scientific conferences. He has over 170 SCI publications and more than 6000 citations and he has coordinated many National and EU grants. He has been an Editor of the Optoelectronic Advances, Materials Today (Bio), Applied Sciences and International Journal of molecular Sciences. Since 2015, he is the Director of the European Nanoscience Facility of FORTH, part of the NFFA-Europe EU Infrastructure, where he is a member of the General Assembly. He is a National Representative to the High-Level Group of EU on Nanosciences, Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials and a National Expert for the Horizon 2020 committee configurations on: Nanotechnologies, Advanced materials, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of COST, of the Physical Sciences sectoral scientific council of the National Council for Research & Innovation of Greece and national Delegate of the OECD Working Party on Bio-, Nano- and Converging Tech (BNCT).


BME7: Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Charalampos Pontikoglou

has received his BSc in Biology, University of Crete (1992) and his Medical Degree, University of Crete (1997). He was specialized in Hematology at the Hematology Department of the University hospital of Heraklion under the supervision of Prof. Helen A. Papadaki (2000-2006), and trained in Labor für Leukozytenimmunologie Deutsches Rotes Kreuz Blood Service West, Hagen, Germany in the topic ‘Granulocyte serology-Detection of anti-neutrophil antibodies’ under the supervision of Professor J. Bux (2005). He received his PhD in Hematology, University of Crete, School of Medicine (2006)

His research interests include:

- Investigation of the pathogenesis of Chronic Idiopathic Neutropenia

- Investigation of the expression of the immunoregulatory molecule CD200 by cultured Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells and study of its role in osteoclastogenesis

- Study of the quantitative, functional, cytogenetic and immunoregulatory properties of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells (BM-MSCs) in patients with benign and neoplastic hematological disorders:

- Study of the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of ex-vivo expanded Wharton's Jelly Mesenchymal Stem Cells (WJ-MSCs).

- Study of factors/pathways implicated in stemness and/or differentiation of BM- and WJ-MSCs

- Investigation of the osteoinductive potential of BM-and WJ-MSCS immobilized on novel implantable biomaterials

- Investigation of circulating endothelial progenitor cells and BM MSCs in patients with arterial hypertension and ventricular hypertrophy, as well as in younger patients with type I diabetes mellitus


Maria Chatzinikolaidou (Course Moderator)

is an Associate Professor of Biomaterials in Bioengineering and Head of the Laboratory for Biomaterials in Tissue Engineering at the Department of Materials Science and Technology at the University of Crete, and affiliated faculty member at Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH). Her research interests focus on the development of biomaterials and scaffolds for tissue engineering applications including bone, cartilage, dental, cardiovascular, skin, and the validation of their in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility, functionality and biomechanical characteristics.She received her B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Essen, Germany and her doctoral degree in Biochemistry from the same university in 2004. Her PhD work focused on the immobilization and release kinetics of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) from metal implant surfaces, under the supervision of Prof. H.P. Jennissen. From 2004 to 2006 she was a post-doctoral associate at the University Medical School of Essen working on the development of novel bioactive dental and bone implants in a collaborative program with the spin-off company Morphoplant GmbH. From 2006 to 2008 she was a post-doctoral fellow supported by the EU ENTER program at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, FORTH, performing research on biosensing protein and cell interactions with titanium surfaces by means of the quartz crystal microbalance technique. From 2007 to 2010 she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Technology of the University of Crete teaching courses on "Biological Materials and Composite Biomaterials" and "Tissue Engineering". She was elected member of the Executive Board of the Hellenic Society for Biomaterials and served as vice president in the 2015-2018 term. She served as Chair of the 28th Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) held in Athens (2017), and Program Chair of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) EU Conference held in Rhodes (2019).She is an associate editor in Tissue Engineering, in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology and in BioNanoMaterials, editorial board member inRegenerative Biomaterials and guest editor of special issues in Polymers, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, andJournal of Materials Science Materials in Medicine. Her current research activities focus on the development of functional biomaterials scaffolds and validation of their biocompatibility, and include:

- Tissue Engineering (bone, cartilage, dental, cardiovascular, skin)

- In vitro and in vivo biocompatibility evaluation of biomaterials, scaffolds and nanoparticles

- Development of osteoinductive and osteoconductive biomaterials and scaffolds

- Investigation of the osteogenic potential of implantable biomaterials and drugs

- Functionalization of biomaterials with growth factors

- Biomechanics

- 3D printing technologies

- Development of protein immobilization techniques on biomaterials surfaces

- Adsorption and desorption studies of proteins on biomaterials surfaces


Anthi Ranella

is a Researcher at IESL-FORTH and leads the Tissue Engineering – Regenerative Medicine and Immunoengineering (TERMIM) Lab. She received her B.Sc. in Biology and her M.Sc. in Molecular Biology from the University of Crete. She holds a doctoral degree in in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the University of Crete. Dr. Ranella has entered into European (FP7 and Horizon 2020) and National research projects. Her research activities have led to the granting of two patents and have contributed in more than 40 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and 4 chapters in scientific books which have been cited over 1500 times (Scopus, h-index=18).Her current fields of interests are Biophotonics with emphasis on Laser based 3D biomimetic scaffold fabrication for Tissue Engineering and Biomedical Applications of Laser in Diagnostics, Drug Delivery and Nanosurgery. In general some of the main scientific topics are:

- the understanding of the molecular and physicochemical mechanisms that take place at the interface between cells and biomaterials at the micro / nano scale,

- the examination of the potential medical and/or clinical applications of optimized artificial tissue scaffolds,

- the development of specific scaffolds to be used as neuronal implants,

- the development of specific 3D cells platforms to be used for the support of macrophage adherence, antigen presentation and specific antibody production.


ΒΜΕ8: Drug Development and Pharmaceutical Technology

Maria Vamvakaki (Course Moderator)

has received the B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Crete. She holds a doctoral degree in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Sussex, U.K. where she did her graduate work with Profs. S. P. Armes and N. C. Billingham, on the synthesis of water-soluble polymers and their evaluation as ceramic dispersants. From 1997 to 1998 she was a post-doctoral associate at the School of Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science at the University of Sussex, working on the synthesis and characterization of double-hydrophilic block copolymers and their self-assembly in water. In 1999 she became a Visiting Assistant Professor in Chemistry at the Department of Physical Sciences of the University of Cyprus while in 2000 she joined the group of Prof. C. S. Patrickios at the Chemistry Department of the University of Cyprus as a research associate where she worked on the synthesis, characterization, modeling and applications of model polymer networks. From 2001 to 2004 she was a visiting Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Technology of the University of Crete and a visiting scientist at the School of Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science at the University of Sussex. She is affiliated researcher at FO.R.T.H.-Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (I.E.S.L.) since 2003. In 2004 she was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Crete, where she became an Associate Professor in 2011 and a Full Professor in 2018.

Current research activities include:

- Synthesis and characterization of novel polymers of various architectures;

- Stimuli-responsive, "smart" and functional polymers;

- self-assembly and structure formation of polymeric materials in solution and at a surface;

- biomedical applications of polymers.


George Liapakis

is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology, in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Crete. He was a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Center for Molecular Recognition, Columbia University, New York, USA (1997-2000); Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, Dept of Pharmacology, Philadelphia, USA (1994-1997); PhD in Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece (1989-1994); Diploma of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1986). The laboratory of G. Liapakis aims to obtain information for the structure and function of G- protein coupled receptors (CRF, angiotensin GnRH, neurotensin and GLP-1 receptors) and to design receptor-selective antagonists and agonists, using receptor-based and molecule-based design approaches, in collaboration with computational and synthetic chemists and other scientists. These methods have been used successfully by G. Liapakis to determine the structure and function of other GPCRs, including adrenergic and somatostatin receptors.


Ioannis Charalambopoulos

is an Associate Professor of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Crete. Hie research interest is focusing on the investigation of the molecular mechanisms that growth factors and their receptors are using to regulate the regenerative capacity of adult nervous system. Such molecules, as Neurotrophins, control brain development and maintenance during adulthood and in aging, while they importantly participate in neuronal survival, differentiation and repair. Our studies are ranging from neurotrophin receptors structure-function experiments to pharmacological development of novel ligands for these receptors with neurogenic and regenerative properties. The aim of our work is to determine and decipher the multiple signaling pathways of the neurotrophin receptors on adult neurogenesis (using in vivo animal models and in vitro 3D neural stem cell cultures) and thus to enhance their ability to promote regeneration of nervous tissue, targeting the optimization of their therapeutic potential on animal models of neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s Disease and Spinal Cord Injury).


ΒΜΕ9: Biosensors and Lab on-a-chip

Electra Gizeli

is a Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Crete. Her group's interests span three major areas: bioanalytical sciences with emphasis on clinical diagnostics, biophysics and integrated structures (lab-on-chip). The first area is concerned with the design of novel clinical assays based on acoustic wave devices for the detection of multiple proteins in patients' samples (e.g., for cardiovascular risk assessment), or genetic markers during hybridization assays (single nucleotide polymorphism detection in genetic diseases). Concerning the second area, a key finding in her biophysical studies is that acoustic waves can probe the structure of biomolecules attached to a surface. They are interested in the structural characterization of surface-bound DNA and protein molecules as well as DNA/protein complexes and DNA nanomachines switching between distinct conformational states. Biophysical studies also include the study of cellular membrane interactions. Finally, part of the work is concerned with the design and development of acoustic biosensors and integrated micro-systems; these versatile lab-on-chip platforms are coupled with their bioanalytical assays towards the development of simple, versatile and sensitive diagnostic tools.The work is highly multidisciplinary bringing together areas at the interface of biology, biophysics, nanotechnology, surface chemistry and microengineering.


Nikos Chronis (Course Moderator)

Nikos Chronis received a Bachelor in Engineering (B.E.) in mechanical engineering in 1998, from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with honors (graduated 1st out of 145 students in his class). He completed his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley (USA) in 2004. From 2004-2006, he held a post-doctoral research position at Rockefeller University, New York, (USA). In 2006, he became a faculty at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 2015, he joined the Department of Materials Science and Technology at the University of  Crete. He is also a visiting Professor at the National Center for Scientific Research 'Demokritos'. He is the co-author of more 60 journal and peer-reviewed conference publications and inventor in 3 patents. Dr. Chronis is the recipient of the prestigious NIH Director's New Innovator Award.His research interests include Bio-MicroElectroMechanical Systems (Bio-MEMS), Lab-On-A-Chip Devices, Microfluidics and Micro-optical System, Polymer Micromachining, Bio-imaging and Neural Networks.


ΒΜΕ10: Molecular Diagnostics and Precision Medicine

Helen Papadaki

is a Professor of Haematology at the University of Crete (UoC) School of Medicine; She is Head of the Department of Haematology, Autologous Haemopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Unit and the Public Cord Blood Bank at the University Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, and Head of the Haemopoiesis Research Laboratory, UoC. Dr. Papadaki received her medical degree from the University of Athens with honours and her PhD from the UoC. She has been trained in Internal Medicine and Haematology at the UoC and has been post-Doc researcher (EMBO fellowship) in Saint George’s Medical School, London, UK, visiting scientist at the Institute for Cancer Studies, Birmingham, UK and visiting physician at the Department of Haematology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Dr Papadaki has been appointed Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs of the UoC (2013-2015) and has been elected as European Haematology Association (EHA) Board Member (2016 – 2020).Dr Papadaki’s main field of interest is Neutropenia, MDS and Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs). Her research is focused on the role of immune mechanisms in the suppression of granulopoiesis/haemopoiesis, the implication of MSCs in the pathophysiology of BM failure and the use of MSCs in regenerative medicine. She is the co-chair of the EHA Scientific Working Group (SWG) on Granulocyte and Constitutional Marrow Failure Syndromes and Principal Investigator of the EuNet-INNOCHRON COST Action. Dr Papadaki has more than 170 publications in PubMed and more than 5000 citations in GoogleScholar.




Nektarios Tavernarakis (Course Moderator)

is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH), Research Director at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB), and Professor of Molecular Systems Biology at the Medical School of the University of Crete, in Heraklion, Greece. He is the Director of the Graduate Program on BioInformatics at the Medical School of the University of Crete, and is also heading the Neurogenetics and Ageing laboratory of IMBB. He is an elected corresponding member of the Academy of Athens, and an elected member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and Academia Europaea. He has also served as the Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. He earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of Crete, and trained as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of necrotic cell death and neurodegeneration, the interplay between cellular metabolism and ageing, the mechanisms of sensory transduction and integration by the nervous system, and the development of novel genetic tools for biomedical research. For his scientific accomplishments, he has received several notable scientific prizes, including two ERC Advanced Investigator Grants (in 2009 and 2016), and an innovation-supporting ERC Proof of Concept Grant. He is one of the first in Europe, and the first in Greece, to have been awarded this highly competitive and prestigious grant twice. He is also the recipient of the EMBO Young Investigator award, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel research award, the Bodossaki Foundation Scientific Prize for Medicine and Biology, the Empeirikeion Foundation Academic Excellence Prize, the Research Excellence award of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, the BioMedical Research Award of the Academy of Athens, the Galien Scientific Research Award, the Helmholtz International Fellow Award, the International Human Frontier in Science Program Organization (HFSPO) long-term Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Honorary Education Business Award, and the Dr. Frederick Valergakis Post-Graduate Research Grant Program Academic Achievement Award of the Hellenic University Club of New York.



Sofia Agelaki

is an Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at the Medical School, University of Crete, and Department of Medical Oncology, University General Hospital of Heraklion, Crete, Greece. She received her PhD in 2003 and during 2003-2004 she worked as a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Thoracic and Head and Neck Medical Oncology, at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. She is involved in the conduct of a multitude of international and national multicenter clinical trials mainly in lung and breast cancer as principal investigator and sub-investigator. She has actively participated in several EU funded projects and National research projects. She has co-authored more than 130 articles in peer reviewed journals (h-index 33), and presented more than 200 abstracts in international meetings. She has served as the chief editor of the Journal of the Hellenic Society of Clinical Oncology, HESMO) (2014-2018) and as a reviewer in many international journals. She has significantly contributed in the evaluation of liquid biopsy as a tool to improve patient stratification and to identify novel treatment targets and mechanisms of resistance in patients with cancer.

Current research interests include:

  • Investigation of the role of circulating tumor cells and circulating nucleic acids as a tool for treatment guidance and real time monitoring of disease in patients with lung and breast cancer

  • Identification of liquid based biomarkers of response to immunotherapy

  • Role of cancer cachexia in immunotherapy response and tolerance in lung cancer patients


Michail Klontzas

is a research fellow and radiology resident of the Department of Medical Imaging of the University Hospital of Heraklion and collaborating researcher of the Institute of Computer Science of the Foundation for Research and Technology (ICS-FORTH). He received his PhD as a Marie Curie fellow and Burkett Scholar from Imperial College London on metabolomics & bone tissue engineering and holds an MD from the University of Crete (Summa Cum Laude - upper 5% of Class 2014). His PhD thesis was voted by Imperial students as one of the three best departmental PhD theses of 2018. After obtaining his PhD he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University School of Medicine and the W.H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering of Georgia Institute of Technology, specializing in omics analyses and stem cell biomanufacturing for musculoskeletal applications. His expertise lies in the fields of musculoskeletal imaging, omics analyses and tissue engineering. He has published several peer-reviewed journal papers (h-index: 10, i-10: 10 – Google Scholar), six book chapters for international publishers and his work has been presented in several conferences in Europe and the USA. He is an editorial board member for Cell and Tissue Banking and ad-hoc reviewer for several high impact journals in the fields of biomedical engineering and radiology such as the European Journal of Radiology, European Radiology, Regenerative Medicine, Materials, PLoS Medicine and others.