Niovi Santama, Ph.D. is Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cyprus. She is a molecular cell biologist, trained at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany (post-doc), and at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK (post-doc, Ph.D., M.Sc.), following her basic studies in Biology at the University of Athens. She was the recipient of long-term postdoctoral Fellowships from EMBO and the Marie Curie HCM Programme (EU). In 2016 she was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Award to conduct experiments at the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Her research background and contributions are in the fields of the molecular and cell biology of molecular motor proteins and ciliogenesis in mammalian cells, the mechanisms of nuclear envelope formation and Endoplasmic Reticulum morphogenesis in human cells and the molecular physiology of neurodegenerative disease. Earlier work focused on neuropeptide gene expression in the brain and the structure and function of subnuclear domains in mammalian neurons.
Published articles in international refereed journals are accessible via https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Santama_N. She collaborates with research groups internationally (Singapore, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the UK and the USA). She has attracted external research funding from the European Commission, the US Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Telethon Foundation (Cyprus), the A.G. Leventis Foundation (France), the Research Promotion Foundation (Cyprus) and internal funding from the University of Cyprus.
Niovi Santama has supervised 8 post-doctoral researchers, 5 doctoral students (plus 1 currently in progress), 14 M.Sc. and 24 undergraduate students in her lab. Members of her group received short-term Fellowships during their studies in her group (from EMBO and FEBS) to visit European laboratories for collaborative research. At the University of Cyprus, she designed and taught 6 new undergraduate courses and 4 new postgraduate courses.
She represented Cyprus at the EMBC (executive council of EMBO), is the National Contact Point for the EMBO Young Investigator Award, and was an invited Reviewer in Life Sciences (Panels LSC1, LS3) of the European Research Council (ERC, Starting Grants) (2007-14), in European Commission-funded programs and invited reviewer for the Wellcome Trust, UK (Neuroscience and Mental Health Projects), the Israeli Science Foundation and the Greek Secretariat of Research. She serves as reviewer in several international peer-reviewed scientific journals.
She has served as President of the Board (2015-2019) of the national authority for administering the Erasmus+ Programme in Cyprus (IDEP; Foundation for the Management of European Lifelong Learning Programmes). She has served as Chair and Vice Chair (2 terms) of the Department of Biological Sciences, Member of the University of Cyprus Senate, Member of the Council of the School of Pure and Applied Sciences (3 terms) and Member of the Council of the Postgraduate School of the University of Cyprus.
Niovi Santama is a founding member, president of the Interim Board (2021) and president of the first Elected Board (2021-2024) of the βιος-Society of Biological Sciences in Cyprus (βιος-SBSCy).
She published her first poetry collection entitled Mediterranean in 2021 (Iolkos Publishing, Athens, GR, ISBN 978-960-640-051-3).