Athanassia Athanassiou since September 2014 has an appointment as Tenured Senior Researcher, responsible for the Smart Materials Group of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa. She has graduated in 1996 in Physics at the University of Ioannina in Greece. In 1997 she got the Master of Science (MSc) in Laser Photonics and Modern Optics from the University of Manchester, Laser Photonics Group, Manchester, UK. In 2000 she became Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of Salford, Laser Photonics and Non-Linear Optics Group, Manchester, UK. In 2000 she got a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (I.E.S.L.), Foundation for Research and Technology–Hellas (FO.R.T.H.) in Heraklion, Crete, Greece, where she became associated researcher from January 2003 till the end of 2005. From September 2003 to September 2005 she also had an appointment at the Technological University of Crete, School of Applied Technology, Department of Applied Informatics & Multimedia, as Academic Staff/Scientific collaborator. From January 2006 to December 2010 she was a Senior Researcher at NNL-National Nanotechnology Laboratory, CNR-Istituto di Nanoscienze in Lecce, Italy, responsible for the Nanocomposite and Responsive Materials Division. From January 2011 she became coordinator of the Smart Materials Platform at the Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia IIT@UniLe, Lecce. In September 2012 she moved to the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa with all the group of Smart Materials.
She has a broad range of experimental experience in fields such as development, processing & characterization of composite nanomaterials, smart materials responsive to external stimuli, laser-matter interactions, steady state/transient spectroscopy, surface science, nanofabrication. In material science her field of expertise is the tailoring of properties such as optical, superficial, electromagnetic, thermal, and mechanical of a variety of materials like polymers, nanocomposites, functional organic molecules, nanocrystal coatings etc. More resent research activities deal with the development of nanocomposite materials based on natural polymers, generated from agricultural wastes or other natural sources, that can replace a large number of the existing synthetic polymers or synthetic nanocomposites. Finally, self-growing materials with a variety of properties based on fungal mycelia is another emerging field of research of her group. She has published about 250 articles in refereed journals, she is the author or co-author several book chapters, she is the inventor of 20 patents, 12 of them already filed, and she has several oral and invited contributions to international conferences.
External research grants have been established with some of the industry leaders in different sectors, such as fibers, polymers, textiles, paper, etc. :
1. AQUAFIL SPA (Registered office and plant: via Linfano, 9, 38062, Arco, Trento)
2. ONDULIT (Direzione Generale e Sede Legale: 95/E Via Portuense, Roma)
3. ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA HOLDITALIA S.p.a. (Sede Legale: Via Roma 99/100, Trivero (BI))
4. RENO DE MEDICI S.p.A. (Sede Legale: Via Durini 18, Milano)
5. NOVACART (Garbagnate Monastero (LC))