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European Synchrotron Radiation facility (ESRF), Grenoble, France,


Crystallography is a method widely applied in the fields of physical chemistry, of materials science and biology. It is a research area that requires constant development and quest for new experimental and analytical methods in order to conquer understanding and structural determination of complex systems such as the biological macromolecules.

Ms. Irene Margiolaki, Assistant Professor of the University of Patras and collaborating researcher at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), investigates the development and use of new testing methods which will be applied in conjunction with the crystallography method in selected viral protein systems.

The expected results from this research project will contribute significantly to the science of biology.

Dr. I. Margiolaki is the only Greek woman who has received the international fellowship for her research work from the «L'Oreal UNESCO».

Development of methods for Structural Biology with the aim of improving known drugs and developing new ones


A significant part of the research carried out today in the area of structural biology aims to make explicit the function of the biological macromolecules associated either with drug delivery which entails the improvement of the physicochemical properties of known drugs or with new antivirus drug design. The current research seeks to determine the structure of proteins which either present pharmaceutical interest or derive from viruses implicated to causing epidemics. It should be noted that the method of crystallography with the use of X-rays has been used to solve 73.118 protein structures up to this day. Some of these structures have been successfully used to create drugs that are already commercially available. One such example is the development of one of the components of the triple combination therapy (known as triple cocktail therapy) against AIDS or the drug which is recommended for use against the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza.

The ultimate aim of Dr. I. Margiolaki is empowering structural biology in Greece and compiling an interdisciplinary biophysical research group in the Department of Biology, at the University of Patras, as well as the establishment of a steady collaboration relationship between the Greek University and large scale installations which include several synchrotron radiation production institutes such as the ESRF. Thus, long term research related to the development of technical X-ray diffraction from micro / nano-crystalline protein sediments will be ensured along with the contribution to the greater community of structural biologists.

L’ Oreal -UNESCO 2010

The L' Oreal -UNESCO awards «For Women in Science" are an institution which aims to promote and enhance the scientific work of women around the world.

Each year, an international scientific committee selects five women - one per continent - who is honored with the award, which has the cash prize of $100,000 each. In parallel, the institution of fellowship supports 15 women - three per continent - with the amount of $40,000 per person, in order to continue their research.

In 2010, Dr. I. Margiolaki became the first Greek woman researcher to receive the $40.000 fellowship in the 12 years of the institution up to that moment.


Irene Margiolaki, Irene Margiolaki, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, «Division of Genetics, Cell & Developmental Biology»,,

The Architecture et Fonction des Macromolecules Biologiques (AFMB) laboratory of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Marseilles, France

The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), Grenoble, France,

Online Presentations:
1. "Proteins and Powders - An Overview", International Union of Crystallography (Erice School 2011, Italy).
2."Macromolecular Powder Diffraction", "International Year of Cristallography – IYCr2014" & "Annee Internationale de la Cristallographie en France – AICr2014" UNESCO, Paris 2014.

Open access Articles:
1. European Synchrotron Radiation Facility Newsletter (ESRFnews) - Cover image and article on page 18 "The Power of Powder".
2. "Human insulin polymorphism upon ligand binding and pH variation: the case of 4-ethylresorcinol".
3. "Powder crystallography on macromolecules" (Review article).
4. "Preliminary insights into the non structural protein 3 macro domain of the Mayaro virus by powder diffraction".

Selected MSc theses (University of Patras):