University of Crete

The Medical School

The Medical School of the UoC was established in 1983 and received its first students in 1984. Since 1989, it has been operating at its new campus which includes a spacious and functional 24,000 square meter, ten-wing building and a modern, well-equipped 62,000 square meter University Hospital. Its library includes more than 2,000 titles and 450 biomedical journals. An on-line system provides access to major international databases. The Faculty consists of ten Departments: Basic Sciences, Morphology, Laboratory Medicine, Radiology, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Mother and Child Health, Neurology and Sensory Organs, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Social Medicine. In its 33 years of existence, the achievements of the Faculty of Medicine in education, research and patient care are numerous. Scientific interactions and collaborations established with other departments at the University of Crete, the Foundation of Research & Technology Hellas (FORTH) as well as the broader academic and research community in Greece and Europe enriches the research of its faculty and establishes a local environment which is ideal for the training of undergraduate, MSc, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. The Faculty has achieved international recognition, as evidenced by the participation of several of its staff members in the executive boards, administrative committees and councils of European or global scientific associations and professional organizations. Faculty members are active members of the Editorial Boards of scientific journals as well as the decision-making bodies of funding institutions. Several Divisions of the Faculty of Medicine and individual faculty members have a longstanding collaboration with the Commission of the European Union and the World Health Organization (both the global Headquarters and the Regional Office for Europe). The Medical School infrastructure includes a recently established Good Manufacturing Practices Cell Therapy Unit and a Genomics Facility equipped with robotic high-throughput Applied Biosystems ViiA7 Real Time PCR, microscopy workstation (with scanning and transmission electromicroscopy, laser confocal, reverse-phase and fluorescence microscopes), live-cell imaging facility, equipment for visually-guided (using DIC or fluorescence), flow cytometry analysis workstation for measuring of various membrane or intracellular cell markers.
The University Hospital of Heraklion (Pa.G.N.I.) is the largest hospital facility in Crete and one of the largest public hospitals in the country. The Pa.G.N.I. provides secondary and tertiary health care in a wide range of clinical specialties, diagnostic and laboratory tests. The University Hospital provides the setting in which the clinical activities of the Faculty of Medicine take place. It was inaugurated in October 1989. It is one of the five largest in the country, with a capacity of 708 beds in full expansion. It is located just across from the complex of the Faculty of Medicine and the Departments of Physics and Biology buildings, about 7 km from the centre of Heraklion. The University Hospital is closely connected to the Faculty of Medicine under which its clinics and laboratories operate. It provides primary, secondary and tertiary specialized care. The Hospital has two major aims: first, to provide the highest level of clinical training and education to the medical students of the University of Crete, and second, to provide outstanding secondary and – mainly – tertiary specialized health care to the people of Crete and the southern Aegean islands. Serious basic research is also carried out in the University Hospital. It must be noted that many research projects are carried out in collaboration with well-known academic and medical institutions from North America and Europe, thus enriching education and research activities of the Hospital. The highly dedicated and well-trained personnel, in conjunction with the state-of-the art biomedical technology contribute to the provision of highly specialized clinical care, advanced research activities and high standards of education for undergraduate students and graduate staff.

The Thermos Lab

The major research objective of Dr Thermos’ laboratory has been to gain insights on the role of the neuropeptide somatostatin in CNS function and dysfunction, with emphasis on brain basal ganglia nuclei and the retina (used as a model of the CNS). Collaborative projects also aimed at the investigation of the role of somatostatin receptors in hepatocellular carcinomas (biopsies and HepG2 cells), in Kupffer and Merkel cells, and in T47D human breast cancer cell line.

Most recently, her lab focuses on the preclinical investigation of new neuroprotective agents targeting the neurodegeneration component of retinal disease. Experimental animal models of retinopathies [ex vivo model of chemical ischemia, in vivo excitotoxicity model and streptozotocin (STZ) model of diabetic retinopathy] are employed to assess the neuroprotective/antiapoptotic effects of somatostatin, cannabinoids and neurosteroids and the mechanisms involved in the neuroprotection.

The Materials Department

University of Crete (UoC) was founded in 1977 and it is one of the major Universities in Greece. It is composed of five schools and 17 Departments. The School of Physical Sciences, composed of seven Departments, is among the most successful schools in Europe regarding research on Physics and Materials Science. The department has become a significant research center in the field of Materials Science both in Greece and worldwide and aims to meet the needs of the modern industry in this field. Materials research at the Department of Materials Science and Technology covers a broad spectrum of material systems, applications and technical approaches with the common goal of fundamental understanding of materials properties which will allow the development of new materials and innovative technologies. The faculty members carry out cutting edge work, both theoretical and experimental, aimed in a broad research area covering soft matter, biomaterials, semiconductors, optoelectronic and magnetic materials, nanophotonics and complex photonic systems in different length scales.
A large research activity in the UoC partner is devoted to the investigation and analysis of artificially structured materials with peculiar and unique electromagnetic properties, known as metamaterials. This activity, which is a joint activity between University of Crete and Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) is mainly represented by the “Photonics, Phononics and Metamaterials group”, which is among the world pioneer groups in the study of photonic metamaterials, including photonic crystals and plasmonic structures. The group has been involved in the study of these materials since the birth of the related fields and has played a crucial role in many of the most important achievements in the fields, such as some of the first negative refractive index meta-materials in the visible. Regarding plasmonic materials in particular, Prof. Economou, member of the team, has written one of the pioneering papers in plasmonics [E. N. Economou, Surface plasmons in thin films, Phys. Rev., vol. 182, p. 539-554 (1969)], which still gets an increasing number of citations among the people dealing with surface plasmon polariton excitations.
Regarding infrastructure, the UoC team has available a variety of both computational and experimental facilities for the characterization and analysis of wave propagation in complex photonic structures. The experimental characterization approaches include transmission and reflection measurements in frequencies ranging from microwaves to near optical region. The related equipment includes Microwave network analyzers, Fourier transform infrared spectrometers and THz time domain spectroscopy setup. The theoretical and computational approaches include a variety of methods for the calculation of transmission and reflection properties of complex electromagnetic systems, such transfer matrix method, finite difference time domain method, and various commercial software tools. All these approaches will be applied for the determination of the electromagnetic response of the systems analyzed in the framework of the current proposal.

Bio-Organic Materials Chemistry

The Bio-Organic Materials Chemistry Laboratory (BOMCLab), led by Dr. Maria Vamvakaki [link #1, #2], is a joint activity between the IESL and IMBB institutes of FORTH to provide the research infrastructure for the synthesis and characterization of organic polymers, bio-polymer- and polymer-inorganic hybrids, polymer thin films and polymeric colloid particles. These materials form the basis for the development of novel polymer-based systems and the resource for tailor-made polymer derivatives for the broad requirements of the FORTH-IMBB/IESL setting.

PPM Group

The Photonic, Phononic and Meta- Materials Group of IESL focuses on the development and study (mainly theoretical but also experimental) of artificial composite materials for the control of electromagnetic and elastic waves. The present emphasis is mainly on photonic and phononic crystals, on left-handed or negative index materials, on random lasers and on plasmonic materials.
In addition, the study of the electromagnetic and/or elastic wave propagation in composite materials is used for the understanding of the nature, the structure and the behavior of existing materials of considerable importance (such as soft-matter and biological systems).