September 2021 - BME Blaze: Antonios Pouliopoulos

Sep 01 2021

In this monthly spotlight, get to know the alumni, students, and scientists of Columbia's Department of Biomedical Engineering. Read what our BME folks are up to, from our labs' latest research, to our students' plans for the future, to our teams' innovations, start-ups and other career successes.

We enjoyed catching up with Columbia BME associate research scientist Antonios Pouliopoulos, as he told us about the exciting research taking place in Prof. Elisa Konofagou's lab, his role as a mentor to more than 80 high school and college level students, and his future plans in academia. Read below to get to know Antonios!

 

Antonios Pouliopoulos, Ph.D.

  • B.Sc. in Physics – 2011 – Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • M.Sc. in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine – 2013 – University College London, UK
  • Ph.D. in Bioengineering – 2017 – Imperial College London, UK

 

Where are you from?

I am from Thessaloniki, Greece. A beautiful city in the north of Greece, you should visit!

 

What drew you to the field of Biomedical Engineering?

I am a physicist by training and I've always been fascinated by the application of physics and engineering principles in medicine. Biomedical Engineering drew me because it is the convergence of so many different fields toward the common goal of diagnosing and treating disease. It is challenging to juggle between physics, biology, medicine and engineering, but it’s quite fun as well!

 

What is your current role?

I am currently an associate research scientist in the Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging Laboratory, led by Professor Elisa Konofagou. My main task is to conduct exciting and useful research, but I have also been actively involved in mentoring high school, undergraduate and graduate students in their research projects. I’ve mentored more than 80 students over the last 8 years – only this year they are 23!

 

Why did you choose Columbia BME?

I chose Columbia BME primarily because of my PI, Professor Elisa Konofagou, who has been a leader in my field for almost two decades. Also, it has been a childhood dream to live and work in New York City. Columbia BME combines cutting-edge research with the most attractive location in the world. What more could you ask for?!

 

What are some of your favorite projects/memories from Columbia BME?

Loads of memories! The most vivid memories are from the conferences we attended with my colleagues around the world. I have made many life-long friends while working for Columbia BME, having gone through both happy and stressful times. It was a great experience to volunteer in outreach activities, such as Saturday Science at Zuckerman Institute. I also loved the BME Christmas parties, especially when winning ugly sweater contests!

 

What was your proudest moment at Columbia so far?

The day we treated the first human subject with our ultrasound technology. I was really proud to see what we’ve been working on for years be finally applied in an Alzheimer’s disease subject. Also, we recently treated our first pediatric brain tumor patient. Proud moments keep coming!

 

How has your experience with Columbia BME contributed towards your goals?

The research I was able to conduct here and the network I established definitely helped me achieve my academic goals. Starting November 2021, I will be an assistant professor at King’s College London. I wouldn’t have been able to successfully compete at an international level without the unwavering support from Columbia BME. The workshops on academic applications were especially pivotal in crafting a successful package for a faculty position!

 

What are your thoughts on the strength of Columbia BME's network and how has that influenced your career path?

The reputation of Columbia BME has been a defining factor in establishing my network and career trajectory. I had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world, and also mentor students from diverse backgrounds and under-represented minorities from local communities. This shaped the way I think and teach.

 

Any words of wisdom or tips for prospective BME students/researchers?

I am definitely not the first person to say this, but it is quite common to overwork and forget to let go and relax at times. Maintaining our mental health is vital to being productive and avoiding burn-outs. I’d use all the facilities and perks Columbia has to offer to relax and have fun. My favorites were the chair massages during postdoc appreciation week, and all the discounted tickets for Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera from the Arts Initiative. Plus, all the happy hours organized by OPA – thank you Amanda and Ericka!

   

The reputation of Columbia BME has been a defining factor in establishing my network and career trajectory. I had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world, and also mentor students from diverse backgrounds and under-represented minorities from local communities. This shaped the way I think and teach.

Antonios Pouliopoulos, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University Department of Biomedical Engineering

Images (left to right):

1. Friends and colleagues during a conference in Japan

2. First treatment of an Alzheimer's disease subject using our clinical ultrasound system

 

  

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