Dr Martha Vardaki

Research Fellow at the National Hellenic Research Foundation

Martha Vardaki is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF), Institute of Chemical Biology, Athens, Greece. For the past 10 years Martha has been working on the intersection of Biomedicine and Physics by researching how photons interact with life. She obtained a BSc and MSc degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Patras) and then pursued a PhD in Biophysics at the University of Exeter. Her PhD consisted of the development of advanced Raman techniques for real time cancer diagnostics and was followed by postdoctoral appointments in Imperial College London and the University of British Columbia. During the latter, she developed a protocol of non-invasive quality assessment for transfusion of human blood products using Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) in collaboration with the Centre for Blood Research and the Canadian Blood Services. In 2020, Martha relocated back to Greece to conduct independent research at the Medical Physics Lab (Medical School, University of Ioannina) under State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) funding. Her past and current research focuses on diverse ways that interaction of light and matter (spectroscopy) can assist disease diagnosis, for example through detection of biomarkers in tissues and biofluids, or spectral analysis of biomolecular ‘’fingerprints’’ of cells of interest.

To date Martha has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed papers and disseminated her research results to both scientific and lay audiences (SET For Britain, Sidmouth Science Festival). She has obtained competitive grants for research (IKY) and travel (International Society of Blood Transfusion, Royal Society of Chemistry) to attend scientific conferences and meetings. She is also this year’s recipient of the prestigious Kirkbright Bursary Award (ABS). Apart from research, Martha holds a keen interest in mentoring students and young scientists and improving female visibility in science through volunteering for different organizations (YWCA, Greek women in STEM, R.E.A.L. Science).