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Dr. Despo Fatta-Kassinos, Director of the Laboratory

Dr. Despo Fatta-Kassinos is an Associate Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Director of Nireas International Water Research Center at the University of Cyprus. She holds a Diploma in Chemical Engineering from National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), an M.Sc. in Environmental Management and Education from the European Association of Environmental Management and Education and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from NTUA.

In 2003, she was offered the position of Lecturer at the University of Cyprus. Since then and especially during 2004, all her efforts were directed towards the establishment from scratch, of a laboratory able to provide a solid basis for developing research in the field of water/wastewater treatment technology. This was achieved in Mid-2005 when GAIA- Laboratory of Environmental Engineering was up and running, being the first environmental engineering research laboratory of the University of Cyprus and in Cyprus in general. GAIA was fully equipped for carrying out measurements in the field of characterization of the quality of aqueous matrices and water/wastewater treatment and the first graduate students were employed. Since 2011, she directs and coordinates all the scientific and administrative activities of Nireas-IWRC, which is one of the Research Units of the University.

Currently, her group is participating in 8 EU-funded research projects (H2020, PRIMA, Water JPI, ERANETMED), while she has participated in more than 70 research projects. She was the Coordinator of the ANSWER project "Antibiotics and mobile resistance elements in wastewater reuse applications: risks and innovative solutions" (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015/675530) (2015-2019) (with budget: 3.7 M€), and the Chair of the COST Action NEREUS ES1403 "New and emerging challenges and opportunities in wastewater reuse" (2014-2018). She was the leader of the WG5 'Wastewater reuse' of NORMAN Association (2013-2019) and a founding member of the International Ph.D. School on Advanced Oxidation Processes and member of its Scientific and Management Committee. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the project "Cross-Research in Environmental Technologies of the University of Santiago de Compostela (CRETUS)"of the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and the Chair of the Advisory Board of the African Center of Excellence in Water and Environment Research (2019-2024). She is a member of the core group of the Global Panel on Chemical Pollution of the Environment (GPCPE), which is an initiative of the French National Water Academy (since January 2019), and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), in Spain (since January 2020). She serves on numerous scientific evaluation panels (e.g. National Research Funding Agencies from Europe, Middle East, Asia, Canada, USA, the European Science Foundation and the European Commission). She has also served as the Chair of the Scientific and Technological Advisory Board of the European JPI 'Water Challenges for a Changing World' (2015-2019).

Assoc. Prof. Fatta-Kassinos is the Editor of the Journal Environmental Chemical Engineering, Elsevier. Her publication record includes 146 papers in referred journals, 3 environmental books (co-editor) and various book chapters, and more than 180 presentations at international conferences. Currently, her group is participating in 8 EU-funded research projects (H2020, PRIMA, Water JPI, ERANETMED), while she has participated in more than 70 research projects. In 2012, she received Nikos Symeonides 2011 National Research Award by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, for her work on wastewater treatment and xenobiotics (highest national research recognition). In 2017, she received an honorary award for her long-standing contribution and activity in the research area of Environmental Protection by the Hellenic Open University. Dr. Fatta-Kassinos is a Highly Cited Researcher 2018, in recognition of the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Cross-field, and a Highly Cited Researcher 2019 in the field Environemnt and Ecology, awarded by Web of Science, Clarivate Analytics. She developed the concept and text of a children’s book on water, entitled "The Secret Handbook of Blue Circle", published by Papadopoulos Publishing House, in Greek (2018) and by IWA Publishing, in English (2019). 

Her research expertise includes water and wastewater treatment and reuse; contaminants of emerging concern; advanced chemical oxidation processes; advanced biological treatment; advanced chromatographic analysis for the identification of microcontaminants in environmental matrices; assessment of the biological potency of microcontaminants and wastewater flows through the application of bioassays; antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment; uptake of microcontaminants by crops during wastewater reuse.


Costas Michael

Dr. Costas Michael graduated in chemistry (1969) and got his PhD in chemistry (1974) from the Athens University, Greece. He has been Lecturer and then Assistant Professor at the department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, Athens University (1970-1978). He worked for 29 years at the multidisciplinary State General Laboratory in Cyprus from which he left as its Director. He has long experience in the separation, identification and quantitation of organics and inorganics at trace levels, particularly in the domain of the environment, with state-of-art instrumentation. He is now a scientific associate at GAIA Lab. As a special scientist he is teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cyprus.

His research interests fall within the area of environmental measurements and assessment with focus on the wastewater quality and treatment and the removal of xenobiotics from waters and wastewaters through advanced oxidation processes. He published over 30 papers in peer review journals and in proceedings of national and international refereed conferences. He has participated in many National and EU funded projects.



Irene Michael-Kordatou

Dr. Irene Michael-Kordatou is a Chemical Engineer graduated from the School of Chemical Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens in July 2008. She has received her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cyprus in May 2012 and since then, she has been a Senior researcher at the Nireas-IWRC of the University of Cyprus.

Her core research area focuses on the assessment of the fate and behaviour of various contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) after their release in the environment through urban wastewater reuse practices and the determination of their potential biological potency. One basic pillar of her research is the study of the degradation of various CECs (with particular interest on pharmaceutical compounds) frequently detected in urban wastewater effluents through the application of various advanced oxidation processes (e.g. light-driven oxidation, ozonation, etc.). She has participated as a guest researcher at the Plataforma Solar de Almería funded by the European Commission (SFERA project), wherein she acquired extensive experience in the design, development and operation of solar-driven pilot plants for the removal of various CECs and dissolved effluent organic matter present in urban wastewater effluents. She is also studying the effects of advanced treatment processes on the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and resistance genes in wastewater.

She has participated (or she is currently involved) in a number of collaborative water-related research projects (more than 20) funded by the EU. She is the Scientific Manager of the ANSWER project (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015/675530). She is participating in the COST Action ES1403 "New and emerging challenges and opportunities in wastewater reuse (NEREUS)", in which she is a Management Committee Substitute and the Grand Holder Administrator. She has (co)authored more than 20 refereed journal papers in high-impact international scientific journals and 8 book chapters, and she presented her work in a number of scientific conferences.



Lida Ioannou-Ttofa

Dr. Lida Ioannou-Ttofa received her first degree from the Department of Chemical Engineers, of the Technical University of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2008. She also completed her master course (MSc) at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Cyprus as a full-time student in December 2009, and her PhD from the same university in November 2013 (PhD in Environmental Engineering). She has been a senior researcher at the Nireas-IWRC of the UCY since November 2013.

Her research focuses on biological processes, advanced chemical oxidation processes and membrane separation processes, as well as their combination for the treatment of agro-industrial wastewater (i.e. winery and olive mill wastewater) and for the removal of contaminants of emerging concern from urban wastewater effluents; and on the Life Cycle Assessment of these technologies.

She has participated (or she is currently involved) in a number of collaborative water-related research projects (more than 12) funded by the Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation, the European Regional Development Fund, and the EU. She has participated in a number of scientific conferences and has already published 11 refereed journal papers in high-impact international scientific journals (while more are in preparation) and she has co-authored two book chapters (Springer, Elsevier). She was member of the Coordinating team and the Dissemination & Outreach Manager of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network project ANSWER (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015/675530) (2015-2019) (total budget: 3.7 M€) and she was participated in the NEREUS COST Action ES1403 (2014-2018). Currently, she is the Dissemination Manager of a Partnership for Research and Innovation project DSWAP (Decision support-based approach for sustainable water reuse application in agricultural production) (PRIMA/1822).


Popi Karaolia

Dr. Popi Karaolia received her first degree in Biology, from the University of Nottingham, UK in 2006 and an M.Sc. in Environmental Management from the same university. Moreover, she received an M.Sc. in Environmental Health from the Cyprus University of Technology in association with the Harvard School of Public Health. She has successfully defended her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Cyprus in February 2019 and since then, she is a researcher at Nireas-IWRC of the University of Cyprus.

Her research focuses on the removal potential of biological and advanced oxidation processes of antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes and other genetic biomarkers of human pollution. She is also currently working on the investigation of the presence of illicit drugs in urban sewage, and the subsequent application of a wastewater-based epidemiological approach for the evaluation of drug consumption in urban areas. Moreover, she is occupied with the occurrence of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics and their transformation products (TPs) in treated wastewater, their accumulation in soil irrigated with treated wastewater and their subsequent uptake by various crops under both hydroponic and real agricultural field conditions.

She is actively involved in several collaborative water-related research projects funded by various Cyprus-based, European and international funding bodies. Dr. Karaolia has participated in a number of scientific conferences, has published more than 11 refereed journal papers in high-impact international scientific journals, has co-authored 3 book chapters, she has taught various university courses and has given numerous seminar presentations on water-related
topics, in Cyprus and abroad.

Magda Psichoudaki

Dr. Magda Psichoudaki is a Chemist who graduated from the University of Patras where she also received her MSc in Environmental Chemical Analysis (University of Patras, Dpt of Chemistry, Award of Excellence from the same University). She defended her Phd in Chemical Engineering in 2014 (University of Patras, Polytechnic School). Her doctoral and postdoctoral work (University of Gothenburg, Dpt of Chemistry & Molecular Biology, Sweden) focused on the interactions of atmospheric organic compounds with water and their cloud formation ability, the physicochemical characterization of atmospheric emissions and their photochemical oxidation,  source apportionment, novel instrument development and optimization for atmospheric nanoparticles sampling and measurement, and analytical method parameterization. She has previously worked as a chemical analyst and research project manager at the private sector, focusing mainly on Persistent Organic Pollutants, (POPs) e.g. toxins and pesticides analysis of food and environmental samples, chromatography-based method development, method validation and quality assurance. She has participated in various European research programmes (e.g. MEGAPOLI, THALIS, PEGASOS, Vinnova) and collaborated with various European and American Universities and Institutions.

Magda's instrumental experience includes Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry-based techniques (e.g. Chemical Ionization MS, Aerosol MS, Gas Chromatography-MS/MS, Liquid Chromatography MS/MS, Ion Chromatography, High Performance Liquid Chromatography), as well as particle number and size distribution, Organic Carbon measurement, etc. Her previous work has been presented in more than 20 European, American and international conferences and published in high-impact journals (11 publications). She is a member of various committees and she is often selected as a reviewer in various journals.

Stella Michael

Stella Michael holds a 5-year Diploma in Environmental Engineering (BSc & MSc equivalent) from Technical University of Crete. Over the past years, Ms. Michael has worked as an Environmental Engineer in the consultancy sector and has been involved in a number of projects in the fields of Environmental Policy, Water & Flood Management, Waste & Pollution Management, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA & SEA) and Renewable Energy Sources. Since January 2015, she is a full-time Ph.D. candidate and her research focuses on the removal of contaminants of emerging concern from wastewater by advanced treatment processes.


Iakovos Iakovides

Iakovos C. Iakovides is a Chemical Engineer with a B.Sc. from the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras (2012). He obtained his M.Sc. in October, 2015 in ‘Energy and Environment’ from the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras with a grade 9.05 out of 10.

His M.Sc. thesis focused on the use of physicochemical methods for the treatment of agricultural and industrial by-products that was carried out at the Laboratory of Transport Phenomena and Physicochemical Hydrodynamics (TPPH) of the University of Patras. During his postgraduate studies, he got involved in several scientific projects funded by the General Secretariat of Research and Technology of the Ministry of Development in Greece and Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (FORTH/ICE-HT). His research interests lie in the field of investigation, analysis and optimisation of wastewater treatment processes for the efficient removal of pollutants, and the recovery of resources in the form of nutrients and energy, that could help provide environmental solutions to pressing environmental issues.

Currently he is a full-time Ph.D. candidate and a Marie Curie “ANSWER” Early Stage Researcher. His research focuses on the removal of contaminants of emerging concern from urban wastewater through the use of a membrane bioreactor (MBR) followed by light-driven oxidation.


Vasiliki Beretsou

Vasiliki Beretsou is a Chemist with a B.Sc. degree from the Department of Chemistry of the University of Athens (Greece) (2013). During her B.Sc. studies, she had a four-month internship at the Pesticide Residues Laboratory of General Chemical State Laboratory (Greece).

She received her M.Sc. in October of 2015 with specialization in “Analytical Chemistry” from the same university and she conducted her master thesis under the supervision of Dr. Nikolaos Thomaidis. Her research interests are focused on the occurrence and fate of contaminants of emerging concern in engineered and natural environments, with emphasis on the identification of transformation products of pharmaceuticals by applying state-of-the-art analytical techniques (LC-QTOFMS), and suspect and non-target screening approaches.

Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cyprus and an Early Stage Researcher of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN “ANSWER”. Her research focuses on the investigation of the potential of transformation products of antibiotics formed during advanced wastewater treatment to induce biological adverse effects and antibiotic resistance.



Anna Korelidou

Anna Korelidou received her first degree from the Department  of Biology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 2013. She also completed her Master's degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of plants at the University of Crete in 2016. Her thesis focused on the biodegradation of toxic phenols by green alga. During her Master studies, she had an internship at the Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics in Spain, at the Laboratory of Molecular genetics and Biochemistry (2015). She has previously worked as a clinical laboratory analyst and as a microbiologist in the private sector.

She has gained work experience in microbiological analyses of food, water, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, air and sewage. Her research focuses on the removal of contaminants of emerging concern from wastewater by advanced treatment processes.


Maria Dionysiou

Maria Dionysiou is a graduate of the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Patras, since June 2015. Her research project was the separation and recovery of phenolic compounds and hydrocarbons from cocoa extracts. The target of the above project was the isolation of phenolic compounds from cocoa extracts for further utilization for pharmaceutical purposes and uses, due to its antioxidant capabilities and actions. For the isolation, three basic physiochemical methods were studied and used: extraction, filtration using membranes and absorption/desorption in resins.

She is currently attending a Master of Science course in Environmental Engineering at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the University of Cyprus, as a full-time student. Her independent study focused on the research of “Biochar as a means of reduction of crop uptake during treated wastewater irrigation”. Her M.Sc. thesis is titled "Determination and quantification of illicit drugs in urban wastewater in Cyprus".


Popi Karaolia

Thesis title: Evaluation of the efficiency of the combination of a Membrane BioReactor with selected Advanced Oxidation Processes for the removal of antibiotic-related microcontaminants, February 2019


Lida Ioannou

Thesis title: Advanced systems for the enhancement of the environmental performance of wineries - wastewater purification combining biological, advanced chemical and reverse osmosis treatment, November 2013


Μarlen Ines Vasquez Hadjilyra

Thesis title: Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Aqueous Matrices: An Integrated Approach for Assessing Effects, December 2012


Irene Michael

Thesis title: Investigating the solar-driven advanced chemical oxidation of ofloxacin and trimethoprim in sewage and other aqueous matrices, May 2012



Antigoni Achilleos

Thesis title: Application of advanced oxidation methods for the removal of selected pharmaceutical active compounds from urban wastewaters, May 2011


Rafael Papamarkou

Thesis title: Monitoring of cefotaxime-resistant bacteria in urban wastewater, May 2019

Morpho Kodjiamani

Thesis title: Removal of humic and fulvic acids during the application of light-driven oxidation processes, May 2016

Andreas Parpounas

Thesis title: Development of an analytical method for the assessment of the presence of veterinary antibiotics in environmental matrices, December 2015

Rafaella Andreou

Thesis title: Αbatement of parabens in secondary treated wastewater by ozonation and UV-C light-activated persulfate oxidation, May 2015

Maria Tarapoulouzi

Thesis title: Advanced bioassays for evaluating the effects of pharmaceuticals to organisms and humans, December 2014

Angeliki Panayi

Thesis title: Purification of olive mill wastewater by coagulation and solar Fenton oxidation at a pilot-scale, December 2014

Constastia Anastasiadou

Thesis title: Optimizing the solar photocatalytic treatment of parabens in municipal wastewater effluents: Evaluation of operational and kinetic parameters, May 2014

Petros Koutsoftas

Thesis title: Removal of X-Ray Contrast Media by Μoving Βed Βiofilm Reactor, December 2013

Constantinos Yiannapas

Thesis title: Optimising olive oil wastewater treatment by coagulation-flocculation and solar Fenton oxidation, September 2013

Elena Eliadou

Thesis title: Heavy metals uptake by soil and crops in areas of intense wastewater reuse irrigation, May 2013



Julie Fotiou

Thesis title: Sonolysis and sonophotocatalysis for the treatment of wastewater laden with pharmaceutical compounds, May 2013


Lida Ioannou

Thesis title: Solar photocatalysis for the removal of sulfamethoxazole and amoxicillin from sewage, December 2009

Aleka Papaioannou

Thesis title: Solar photocatalysis for the removal of sulfamethoxazole and amoxicillin from sewage, May 2009


Chariklia Mavronikola

Thesis title: Removal of amoxicillin from aqueous solutions through the application of homogeneous photocatalytic process and investigation of the possible use of solar light as a photon flux source, June 2008


Maria Constantinou

Thesis title: Chemical degradation of recalcitrant and toxic herbicides and insecticides in aqueous solutions, June 2008


Nektaria Varnava

Thesis title: Homogeneous Catalytic Chemical Oxidation of Atrazine and Fenitrothion in Aqueous Solutions by Dark Fenton and Photo Fenton Reactions, June 2008


Costas Voskos

Thesis title: Assessment of the environmental impacts caused by the operation of livestock units in a selected area in Cyprus, June 2008


E. Nikolaou

Thesis title: Determination and monitoring of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of cefotaxime in E. coli in an MBR-treated wastewater effluent, May 2019

A. Evagorou

Thesis title: Microplastics in the marine environment: major sources and already identified effects, May 2018

S. Hadjiprokopiou

Thesis title: Guidelines on the minimization of the environmental impacts caused by the operation of Environmental Science and Technology Laboratories, May 2017

A. Theophanous

Thesis title: Water and wastewater management - A glossary, May 2017

P. Photiou

Thesis title: Insights into Solid Phase Extraction methods for optimum recovery of pharmaceutical compounds from complex environmental matrices, December 2016

P. Panayiotou

Thesis title: Adsorption behavior of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in soils, May 2015

M. Iakovou

Thesis title: Removal of clarythromycin from sewage and investigation of the parameters affecting the formation of bromate ions during ozonation, May 2015

P. Kitrou

Thesis title: Occurrence and fate of antibiotics in the terrestrial environment, December 2014

M. Parpi

Thesis title: An environmental and socioeconomic approach of olive mill wastewater management - Current status in some Mediterranean countries, December 2014

S. Christodoulou

Thesis title: A comparative study of the effects of chloride, sulfate and carbonate ions on the rates of decomposition of ethyl paraben by solar photo-Fenton, December 2014

E. Constantinou

Thesis title: Exploring the biological potency of wastewater matrices, July 2014

M. Michael

Thesis title: Development of public communication material using as examples winery wastewater management and the assessment of effects of pharmaceutical residues in the environment, May 2013

V. Sophokleous

Thesis title: Evaluation of the potential biological effects of mixtures of pharmaceuticals in aqueous matrices, April 2011.

D. Karalagas

Thesis title: Systems and methods for the treatment of olive oil wastewaters, April 2011.

G. Michaelides

Thesis title: Environmental Management Systems in wineries, Μay 2010

I. Elia

Thesis title: Wineries: Current situation, environmental impacts and environmental success stories, Μay 2010

E. Efthimiou

Thesis title: Occurence, fate and effects of antibiotics in the environment, May 2010

P. Kakouri

Thesis title: Occurence, fate and effects of pharmaceuticals in hospital wastewater, May 2010

E. Kassinidis

Thesis title: Evaluation of the impact caused by the presence of active pharmaceutical ingredients in environmental waters and wastewaters, Μay 2010

S. Panayiotou

Thesis title: Parameters affecting the cost and the efficiency of waste management schemes in islands. Particularities of island states and their comparison with mainland countries with islands, Μay 2009