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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Prestigious Double Fellowship Award for Dr Pappa

Dr Anna-Maria Pappa, Postdoc from BEST group, has been awarded the Oppenheimer Research Fellowship in addition to the Maudslay-Butler Research Fellowship from Pembroke College.

Dr Anna-Maria Pappa has been awarded the Oppenheimer Research Fellowship in addition to the Maudslay-Butler Research Fellowship awarded by Pembroke College.
Dr Pappa is a post-doc in our Bioelectronic Systems Technology group (BEST), led by Dr Roisin Owens. The BEST group works on developing human model systems with integrated technologies for monitoring biological function. Dr Pappa’s work has been acknowledged in the past and she has previously won a L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship.

The Ernest Oppenheimer Early Career Research Fellowship is to be held at CEB and will help pay her salary, while the Maudslay-Butler Research Fellowship from Pembroke College will help with College-related costs and provide her with a series of benefits there.

Dr Pappa commented: “My research focuses on the development of biomimetic electronic devices that incorporate cell membrane models. They function as a robust platform, tunable at the biomolecular level, serving as a physiologically relevant alternative to using whole cells in characterising drug toxicity or potency at the critical first contact point: membrane interaction. Despite their significance in many diseases, cell membranes are still an under-explored target for studying the mechanisms of diseases or drug therapies. One outstanding unresolved issue is the availability of a scalable and reliable technology to interface with and monitor robust model cell membranes. 

"My project rises above the state-of-the-art by fusing native cell membrane material on electronic devices, which are mechanically and chemically compatible with the membrane layer. This combination is innovative as it is the first instance of a truly biomimetic membrane-functionalised electronic device made with native mammalian cellular material.

"With the support of these fellowships, I aim to couple for the first time a real cell membrane with a high sensitivity fit-for-purpose electronic transducer, solving two major challenges of current paradigms: i) the ability of non-native membranes to replicate natural behaviour and ii) the mechanical compatibility between soft membranes and traditionally hard sensor surfaces.

"I am very grateful to be in this ideal position to benefit from two very prestigious fellowships that complement each other. With the Pembroke College Maudslay-Butler Research Fellowship I have the privilege to benefit from the outstanding environment of Pembroke College and engage with activities as well as tutoring/mentoring schemes. With the Oppenheimer fellowship, I have the privilege of research freedom and travelling/consumables funds that I can use in order to pursue ground-breaking research, establish collaborations and disseminate my findings.

"I envision that both fellowships will help me establish an independent research profile in the field of bioelectronics and bioengineering as well as strengthen my leadership and communication skills and generally my international standing.”

More on Twitter: @BioElSystTech, @_annamariapappa


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