All I want is to offer through research
Dr. Hara Nikolakopoulou was honored with the Top New Investigator award during the Tenth World Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL), held in Vancouver, Canada. Among many young scientists from around the world who competed for this award, Hara Nikolakopoulou finally won it for her research on the use of Omega-3 fatty acids on skin and oral cancer.
Speaking to ellines.com, the Greek scientist noted that “The results of my research were very interesting and promising. It seems that there is great hope in the use of Omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment and prevention of these cancers. It’s still early and, of course, this research has to continue, however the results so far can be considered very encouraging”.
Hara Nikolakopoulou studied at the Department of Biology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and continued her studies with an MSc in Immunology at Imperial College of London, “My initial plan was to stay in London for a year and then come back. But every so often there were opportunities for me to work in research that led to a scholarship for a Ph.D. that finally kept me here”. As she points out, she always had a keen interest in research on cancer, the curse of the century as she prefers to call the disease, because it affects so many people. “It is a difficult and complicated condition and I think we should obtain more information on its mechanisms of action in order to discover new treatments for the disease”.
The specific study was recently published in the international scientific journal Carcinogenesis and there are plans for the continuation of this study in the future. At present, Hara Nikolakopoulou is working as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Imperial College of London, studying the immune system responses on patients who undergo open heart surgery.
As for the sacrifices science demands, she says that when you do what you really love then it’s not a sacrifice “It requires too much work and studying. The only sacrifice for me is that I am away from my country and family since I have chosen to study and work abroad in order to have more opportunities in this field”.
Greek scientists are forced to expatriate because our country lacks sufficient funding for research as well as job availability for young scientists. She wishes to return to Greece, however she is concerned about the crisis in the labor market of the country.
“Greece is my home country, the country where I was born and grew up, the country where my family and my friends live in. I am disappointed by the current situation in Greece and it hurts me that there are so many socioeconomic difficulties. I hope things will take a turn for the better permitting me eventually to come back”.