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Up to this day, the prognosis and diagnosis of diseases associated with unknown mutations required time consuming methods. On several occasions the importance of early diagnosis and at the same time valid prognosis is considered extremely important to patients’ health.

A research team from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Patras, led by Dr. Theodore Christopoulos, Professor of Analytical Chemistry specializes in an in vitro method for detecting unknown mutations that cause premature termination of protein synthesis. The in vitro method is simple to implement, quick and after a series of experiments and researches it was proven that it actually works. Few improvements remain to be perfected.

In 2011, the work of the research team was one of the 21 best proposals among the 295 submitted to the National Competition for Applied Research and Innovation, organized by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and Eurobank.

Analytical chemistry: “The science studying the chemical composition from samples of unknown substances

Guided by jellyfish

To be more precise, this is a method of prognosis and monitoring of diseases triggered by unknown mutations and causing premature termination of the synthesis of certain proteins. Such diseases are the colon cancer, breast cancer, thalassemia, muscular dystrophy, tuberous sclerosis, etc. The originality of this method is that the detection does not require radioisotopes and electrophoresis of the protein (similarly to what is required today), but it takes advantage of the strong luminescence of the photoprotein aequorin (jellyfish protein) and thus is the detection of the produced protein becomes feasible within 3 seconds, with high sensitivity.

Also, the research team develops a similar diagnostic technique using aequorin, which can identify mutations that are responsible for the different response of individuals to medication.

One of the activities of the group is also the specialization in technologies developing pharmaceutical products. Micro and nanotechnology in modern chemical analysis has also been studied by the team with particular emphasis on the development of technology for DNA / RNA and proteins analysis whereas it has exploited the recombinant DNA technology for the production of new tracers.


The selection of the best proposals was made by the Scientific Council of the competition, organized by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and Eurobank. 21 innovative proposals made it to the final phase of the competition out of the 295 submitted in total. The originality, the possibility of commercial exploitation as well as the contribution to the competitiveness of the country were some of the selection criteria.

The in vitro method of the research team of Dr. Th. Christopoulos excelled in its field and was one of the 21 best entries of the competition.



Christopoulos Theodore , Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Head of Department of Chemistry.

Research Team: Evangelos Petrakis, Ioannis Trantakis, Despina Kalogianni.