Dr Athanasios Nikolaou

Postgraduate Research Student
I have graduated with a BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science degree at the University of Sunderland in 2016 and then I further studied an MSc Medical Microbiology (Euromasters) degree at the University of Surrey (2018).

Academic and research departments

School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.


My research project


Farzad Foroutan, Jamie McGuire, Priyanka Gupta, Athanasios Nikolaou, Benjamin A. Kyffin, Nicole L. Kelly, John V. Hanna, Jorge Gutierrez-Merino, Jonathan C. Knowles, Song-Yi Baek, Eirini Velliou, Daniela Carta (2019) Antibacterial Copper-Doped Calcium Phosphate Glasses for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Calcium phosphate glasses are a promising new generation of biomaterials that can simultaneously induce tissue regeneration and controlled release of therapeutic molecules. In this work, novel calcium phosphate glasses containing 0, 2, 4, and 6 mol % Cu2+ were synthesized via room temperature precipitation reaction in aqueous solution. The effect of Cu2+ addition on the glass properties and structure was investigated using thermal analysis, 31P solid-state MAS NMR, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. All glasses crystallize at temperature >500 °C and are mainly formed by Q1 groups. The release of P, Ca, and Cu in solution over time was monitored via inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy. It was found that with increasing Cu content, the amount of P and Ca released decreases whereas the amount of Cu released increases. The effect of Cu2+ release on the antibacterial activity against S. aureus, a bacterial strain commonly found in postsurgery infections, has been investigated. The addition of copper has been shown to infer the glasses antibacterial properties. As expected, the antibacterial activity of the glasses increases with increasing Cu2+ content. Cytocompatibility was assessed by seeding human osteoblast-like osteosarcoma cells Saos-2 (HTB85) on the glass particles. A significant increase in cell number was observed in all the glasses investigated. The copper-doped calcium phosphate glasses have proven to be multifunctional, as they combine bone regenerative properties with antibacterial activity. Therefore, they have great potential as antibacterial bioresorbable materials for hard tissue regeneration.

Farzad Foroutan, Athanasios Nikolaou, Benjamin A. Kyffin, Ruan M. Elliott, Monica Felipe-Sotelo, Jorge Gutierrez-Merino, Daniela Carta (2020) Multifunctional phosphate-based glass fibres prepared via electrospinning of coacervate precursors: controlled delivery, biocompatibility and antibacterial activity

There is an increasing demand for new biomaterials that both rapidly stimulate healing and prevent infections. Being bioresorbable, phosphate-glass fibres can simultaneously induce tissue regeneration and deliver therapeutic agents (e.g. antibacterial ions) in a controlled way. Here we present a series of copper-doped phosphate-based glass fibres in the P2O5-CaO-Na2O-(CuO)x system (x = 0, 1, 3, and 5 mol%) prepared for the first time via electrospinning of coacervate precursors. This method presents several advantages over the conventional high temperature melt spinning; the synthesis of the coacervate occurs at room temperature and in aqueous solution allowing the incorporation of temperature sensitive molecules. Moreover, electrospinning is an inexpensive, sustainable, easily scalable manufacturing process. The fibres produced are cotton-like, fully amorphous with an average diameter in the range 1–3 µm. Dissolution studies on cations (Ca2+, Na+ and Cu2+) and phosphate anions (PO43−, P2O74−, and P3O105−) show a gradual release of all species in solution over time, ideal for controlled drug delivery applications.

The antibacterial activity against both Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli) bacteria was found to increase with increasing Cu2+ content and was found to be more effective against E. coli than against S. aureus. Interestingly, Cu2+ content seem to have a positive effect on cytocompatibility. Tests performed on osteoblast-like MG63 osteosarcoma cells have shown that the copper doped phosphate-glass fibres have a significantly better capacity to regenerate bone tissue than the undoped glass fibres. These findings suggest that phosphate-based glass fibres are promising multifunctional biomaterials for both antibacterial activity and tissue regeneration.