Gibson Group: Ioanna Kontopoulou
Ioanna was born and raised in Kalamata, Greece. In 2008 she moved in Patras, Greece where she resided until 2015. During this period Ioanna obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Material Science, from the University of Patras, Greece. Ioanna started her research career during her senior undergraduate years. The two major research projects that she was involved in were at University of Patras. The first was the preparation of polymers that were loaded with drugs and the examination of the rate of drug release under certain conditions, and the second involved the synthesis and characterization of Zinc Oxide (ZnO) powder from precursor materials. In 2016 she was a visiting researcher at the University of Greenwich, UK, where she examined the possibility of 3D printed catheters, whose surface were covered with biocompatible polymer containing dispersed ZnO powder. In 2017 Ioanna was a visiting researcher at Purdue University, Indiana, USA, where she worked on the interesting project of using a pipeline to process population genetic data and create preliminary exploratory results. This pipeline used standard statistical algorithms such as Principal Component Analysis and ADMIXTURE, to cluster individuals according to their ancestry.
Synthesis and characterization of poly(vinyl alcohol) polymers using controlled radical polymerization techniques and applying high resolution analytical methods (GPC/SEC, NMR, MS etc). Cryopreservation, Ice Recrystallization Inhibition (IRI), electrospinning, 3D-printing, load/release of drugs from polymers, kidney stones analysis, synthesis/characterization of ZnO, population genetics.
PhD Project Overview
Ioanna’s PhD research focusses on “New Polymers for Biomedical Applications”, supervised by Professor Matthew Gibson. The research, that is funded by an industrial partner, involves the synthesis of well-defined polymers (linear, star (3-arm and 6-arm) poly(vinyl) alcohol (PVA) using controlled radical polymerization techniques such as thermal-RAFT or photo-RAFT polymerization and applying high resolution analytical methods including MALDI-TOF to analyse their structure. PVA is the most potent polymeric ice recrystallisation inhibitor (IRI), mimicking the complex function of ice binding proteins - Antifreeze (glyco)proteins (AF(G)Ps). This has inspired the field of macromolecular cryoprotectants where synthetic polymers mimicking the function of AFPs are applied to cell cryopreservation to help transport cells, proteins, and other biologics. These polymers also have a range of application areas in biology, industrial applications such as coatings, paints and construction materials.
 Ioanna Kontopoulou, Thomas Congdon, Simon Bassett, Ben Mair, Matthew I. Gibson (2022), Synthesis of Poly(vinyl alcohol) by Blue Light Bismuth Oxide Photocatalysis. Evaluation of Ice Recrystallisation Inhibition and the Impact of Freeze/Thaw Cycling on Activity, (on writing)
 Alice E.R. Fayter, Muhammad Hasan, Thomas Congdon, Ioanna Kontopoulou and Matthew I. Gibson, (2020),Ice Recrystallisation Inhibiting Polymers Prevent Irreversible Protein Aggregation During Solvent-Free Cryopreservation as Additives and as Covalent Polymer-Protein Conjugates, European polymer journal.
 Georgiou, Panagiotis G., Ioanna Kontopoulou, Thomas R. Congdon, and Matthew I. Gibson, (2020), Ice recrystallisation inhibiting polymer nano-objects via saline-tolerant polymerisation-induced self-assembly, Materials Horizons.
 Eleni Kontogiannidou, Christina Karavasili, Maria G. Kouskoura, Maria Filippousi, Gustaaf Van Tendeloo, Ioannis I. Andreadisa, Georgios K. Eleftheriadis, Ioanna Kontopoulou, Catherine K. Markopoulou, Nikolaos Bouropoulos, Dimitrios G. Fatouros, (2019), In vitro and ex vivo assessment of microporous Faujasite zeolite (NaX-FAU) as a carrier for the oral delivery of danazol, Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, 51(2019)177-184
 Christina Karavasili, Elsa P. Amanatiadou, Eleni Kontogiannidou, Georgios K. Eleftheriadis, Nikolaos Bouropoulos, Eleni Pavlidou, Ioanna Kontopoulou, Ioannis S. Vizirianakis, Dimitrios G. Fatouros, (2017), Comparison of different zeolite framework types as carriers for the oral delivery of the poorly soluble drug indomethacin, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 528:76-87
 Georgios K. Eleftheriadis, Maria Filippousi, Vassiliki Tsachouridou, Maria-Anna Darda, Lamprini Sygellou, Ioanna Kontopoulou, Nikolaos Bouropoulos, Theodoros Steriotis, Georgia Charalambopoulou, Ioannis S. Vizirianakis, Gustaaf Van Tendeloo, Dr. Dimitrios G. Fatouros, (2016), Evaluation of mesoporous carbon aerogels as carriers of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen, 515(1-2):262-270
 I. Kontopoulou, A. Angelopoulou, N. Bouropoulos, (2016), ZnO spherical porous nanostructures obtained by thermal decomposition of zinc palmitate, Materials Letters, 165:87-90
 L. Costantini, N. Bouropoulos, D. Fatouros, I. Kontopoulou, M. Roldo, (2016), Synthesis of carbon nanotubes loaded hydroxyapatite: potential for controlled drug release from bone implants, JJournal of Advanced Ceramics, Journal of Advanced Ceramics, 5(3):232–243
 C. Karavasili, L. Kokove, I. Kontopoulou, G. Eleftheriadis, N. Bouropoulos, D. Fatouros, (2016), Dissolution enhancement of the poorly soluble drug nifedipine by co-spray drying with microporous zeolite beta., Journal of Drug Delivery Science and Technology, 35:91-97
 C. Karavasili, N. Bouropoulos, I. Kontopoulou, A. Smith, S. M. van der Merwe, I. U.R. Rehman,Z. Ahmad, D. G. Fatouros, (2014), Preparation and Characterization of Multiactive Electrospun Fibers: Poly-_-carpolactone Fibers Loaded with Hydroxyapatite and Selected NSAIDs, J. Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 102(8):2583-2589
2022 16th Annual Meeting RSC Biomaterials Chemistry Group, UK (Oral presentation)
2021 Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium, Warwick University, UK (Oral presentation)
2020 Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium, Warwick University, UK (Poster)
Royal Society of Chemistry: Associate Member (AMRSC)
Macro Group UK (RSC): Member
Outside of the research and the laboratories, Ioanna likes to cook and bake cakes. She also likes to travel, visit other countries, swim and go scuba diving.
M.Sc. in Materials Science
B.Sc. in Materials Science