National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA)

InstitutionNTUA National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA)

Department: Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Products Chemistry


Role in project: NKUA is the coordinator of the project and responsible for WP2 (Chemodiversity), WP 6 (Dissemination) and WP7 (Management). Also, NKUA will be implemented at WP1 (Bioprospecting) and WP5 (Development)


  • Coordinator
  • Leader of WP2, WP6 & WP7
  • Participation in WP1, WP4 & WP5

Brief description of Organisation:
The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the leading and most renowned academic institution in Greece. The main research activities of the Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Products Chemistry of Faculty of Pharmacy are related to the discovery of novel biologically active natural compounds for several applications such as pharmaceuticals, food supplements, cosmetics and agrochemicals. The last 20 years the exploration of Mediterranean biodiversity as well as global biodiversity thought collaborations has lead to the establishment of a library that contains 700 plant species (80% endemic of the Mediterranean), 2500 extracts and more than 500 unique isolated compounds. In addition NKUA has access to other global hotspots through official collaborations with other countries like Mongolia, Cameroon and Nigeria, under respect of biodiversity agreements. NKUA has established a collaboration with USDA/ARS in USA for the evaluation of natural products to act as agrochemicals and with many cosmetic companies for the development of new natural cosmetics.
The last eight years, 200 scientific articles have been published in high cited peer reviewed journals (Nature Med., Oncogene, Chem.Biol, J.Med.Chem, J. Agric. Food Chem., J.Nat.Prod., Phytochemistry, Tetrehedron Lett., etc) and they have been cited in more than 2000 scientific articles.
The EU project “NATFORCE – 206570” under “Capacities” of FP7 started early in 2008 with the aim of the technological reinforcement of the Department and achieving excellence in the area of the exploitation of natural compounds under the coordination of Prof. Skaltsounis. The “OLITEC” project IAPP 2008 for the Industry/academia exchange of know  how under “People” coordinated also by Prof. Skaltsounis will start early in 2009.The Department has implemented numerous other research scientific projects correlated to natural products funded by National or European organizations and private sector. (LIFE 00 ENV/gr/000671 – MINOS project, LIFE 00 ENV GR/000223 – DIONYSOS project, EUREKA 2005). In 2008 the Department organized the 7th Joint meeting of ASP, GA, PSE, AFERP and SIF in Athens.


Key Personel:

  • A-L Skaltsounis, Ph.D, Professor in Pharmacognosy and director of the department, is an author of 150 scientific publications, and inventor of 10 patents. He is awarded with 20 research grants of EU, GSRT (Greece) and other organizations. He leads a research group of more than 20 researchers .
  • E. Mikros, Ph.D, is Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He is a specialist in structural elucidation, Molecular Modeling and the software development of the chemical library.
  • P. Magiatis PhD, is Assistant professor is responsible for the development of the chemical library and works on the discovery of new molecules.
  • N. Aligiannis, PhD, is Lecturer and he is expert on isolation techniques and NMR applications.
  • N. Fokialakis, PhD, is Lecturer and he is an expert in isolation & identification of natural products.
  • M. Halabalaki, PhD, is a Researcher and she is a specialist in metabolomic profiling of plant extracts (HPLC-DAD, LC-MS).


Relevant Experience

1. Pharmacognosy and Natural Product Chemistry

2. Extraction, Isolation and Structural elucidation of Natural compounds

3. Metabolomic profiling of plant extracts

4. Scale up production of natural products


Selected publications in line with scope of the project:

  1. N. FOKIALAKIS, C. CANTRELL, S. O. DUKE, A. L. SKALTSOUNIS, D. E. WEDGE Antifungal Activity of Thiophenes from Echinops ritro  J. Agr. Food Chem., 2006, 54, 1651-1654
  2. F.BAZOTI, E. GIKAS, A.-L. SKALTSOUNIS, A. TSARBOPOULOS Development of a Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-ESI MS/MS) Method for the Quantification of Bioactive Substances present in Olive Oil Mill Waste Waters Analytica Chem. Acta, 2006, 573, 258-266.
  3. R. GROUGNET, P. MAGIATIS, S. MITAKOU, A-L. SKALTSOUNIS New Lignans from the Perisperm of Sesamum indicum J. Agr. Food Chem., 2006, 54, 7570-7574.
  4. M. KOTSOS, N. ALIGIANNIS, V. MYRIANTHOPOULOS, S. MITAKU, A.L. SKALTSOUNIS Sesquiterpene Lactones from Staehelina fruticosa L. J. Nat. Prod. 2008, 71, 847-51