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Dr Eirini Velliou
Centre for 3D Models of Health and Disease
Charles Bell House
Dr Eirini Velliou profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Targeted Intervention
  • Div of Surgery & Interventional Sci
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

Dr Velliou joined UCL as Associate Professor in February 2021. Previously Dr Velliou was Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering of the University of Surrey (from September 2014). She was Principal Investigator and Founder of the Bioprocess and Biochemical Engineering group (BioProChem), conducting research and teaching in the multidisciplinary domain of Bioprocess and Tissue Engineering. Before joining the University of Surrey,  Dr Velliou spent 2 years as postdoctoral research fellow at Imperial College London (Department of Chemical Engineering, Centre for Process Systems Engineering & Biological Systems Engineering laboratory), where she worked on tissue engineering of healthy and diseased blood (leukaemia). Prior to joining Imperial College, Dr Velliou spent 5 years doing research in Belgium. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Bioengineering Group of the Earth and Life Institute (ELI) of the Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in Louvain-la-Neuve, were she  focused on the optimisation of biofuel and carotenoid production from immobilised micro-algae under light stress, mechanical stress and nutrient deprivation.  Dr Velliou holds a PhD from KU Leuven, Belgium (Department of Chemical Engineering), where she worked on an integrated in vitro/in silico approach for predicting microbial environmental stress adaptation phenomena in liquid state and in viscoelastic biomaterials. Dr Velliou holds a Master of Chemical Engineering (Meng) from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. 

Research Summary

Dr Velliou's research interests fall within the engineering and validation of novel biomaterial based, bioinspired platforms for in vitro studies of biological systems and diseases. She is working on developing advanced 3D models of (i) different types of cancer, i.e., pancreatic, ovarian (ii) healthy tissues, i.e., skin (iii) bacterial communities to study bacterial communication and bacterial-host interactions.

In recent years, driven by the persistently low survival rate of the disease, Dr Velliou has worked extensively on remodelling pancreatic cancer in vitro. More specifically, she is developing 3D models that can control various properties of the tumour microenvironment, to enable physiologically relevant recapitulation of features such as tissue stiffness and porosity, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, diffusion of oxygen, nutrients and metabolites as well as distribution of the vascularisation. Application of conventional and novel treatment approaches in such 3D models enables a correlation of treatment response to specific features of the tumour microenvironment. Further work of Dr Velliou on cancer tissue engineering involves the development of ovarian cancer 3D models with controllable ECM properties. Dr Velliou is also working on skin remodelling and more specifically on engineering a low cost tool for screening of skin care products.

Dr Velliou's microbiology work involves the design of biochemically, structurally and rheologically complex 3D multi-phase structures for studying the formulation and communication of bacterial communities, i.e., biofilms, of pathogens and natural microflora. Furthermore, she is looking at the response and potential stress adaptation of such communities to novel (non thermal) microbial inactivation approaches such as Plasma, Ultrasounds as well as natural antimicrobial compounds.

Teaching Summary

Dr Velliou has been teaching for several years both at an undergraduate and post-graduate level. Based on her background in Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering she has taught a wide range of modules, i.e., Basic Cell Biology, Biotechnology, Bioprocess Engineering, Bioreactor Design, Bioreaction Engineering, Biomass Processing Technology, Bio-Separations, Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering and she also has participated in Multi-disciplinary Design group Project supervision.
She has supervised numerous Master (Research) projects in both Engineering and Science.
She has also supervised several PhD students in the domains of Bioengineering, Tissue Engineering and Microbiology.

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