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Athanassia Athanassiou

Principle Investigator
Senior Researcher Tenured - Principal Investigator
Smart Materials
Research center

Athanassia Athanassiou is a Principal Investigator at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Genoa, Italy), leading the Smart Materials Group. She holds a degree in Physics from the University of Ioannina in Greece (1996), an MSc in Laser Photonics from the University of Manchester, UK (1997), and a Ph.D. in Physics sponsored by British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) from Salford University in Manchester, UK (2000). From 2000, she worked as a Post-doc at the Foundation for Research and Technology in Crete, becoming a Collaborating Researcher from 2003 to 2005. Simultaneously, from 2003 to 2005, she served as Academic Staff at the Technical University of Crete, School of Applied Technology.

In January 2006, she joined the National Nanotechnology Lab, CNR-Istituto di Nanoscienze, Lecce, Italy, as a Researcher. In January 2011, she transitioned to the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, IIT @ UniLe, Lecce, establishing the Smart Materials group. The group relocated to the central research laboratories of IIT in Genoa in September 2012. By September 2014, she obtained tenure and has since led the Smart Materials group—an interdisciplinary team of about 40 researchers focused on developing sustainable materials and technologies for environmental and human health benefits.

In 2023, she assumed the role of Associate Director of IIT for the Nanomaterials Domain. Since 2022, she has held the position of President of the Scientific Committee of the Competence Centre for Economic, Ecological, and Social Sustainability at the University of Bolzano. She is the founder and Scientific Advisor of the startup Alkivio (founded in 2022), specializing in circular economy innovation, and developing biocomposites from paper residues for various markets, from construction to houseware and electronics.

She has authored over 450 articles in scientific journals, contributed to various chapters in scientific books, and served as a scientific editor. Additionally, she possesses a robust patent portfolio. Over the last seven years, her group has participated in six H2020 EU projects, four institutional projects, and thirty commercial projects with national and international companies. Moreover, she has established two joint labs with industrial partners.