profile image for Dr Elisavet Vasilopoulou

Dr Elisavet Vasilopoulou

Kidney Research UK Fellow

Medway School of Pharmacy


Elisa Vasilopoulou graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Applied and Human Biology from Aston University in 2006 and was awarded a PhD in Reproduction, Genes and Development from the University of Birmingham in 2010 (supervised by Dr Shiao-yng Chan and Professor Mark Kilby). Elisa’s initial research experience at the University of Birmingham focused on the role of thyroid hormones at the feto-maternal interface.

In 2012, Elisa joined Dr David Long’s laboratory at UCL Institute of Child Health, where she developed an interest in understanding the biological mechanisms of kidney disease progression and developing new treatments. In 2015, she was awarded a 3-year Kidney Research UK Post-Doctoral fellowship to investigate the therapeutic potential of the anti-inflammatory peptide, thymosin-beta4, in kidney disease.

Elisa joined Medway School of Pharmacy in 2017 as a Kidney Research UK Fellow. She also holds an Honorary Research Associate position at UCL Institute of Child Health.

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End stage kidney disease (ESRD) is a devastating condition that requires life-long dialysis or transplantation. The incidence of kidney disease is currently rising and there is urgent need for new treatments. Damage to the glomerulus, the filtration unit of the kidney, is one of the leading causes of end-stage kidney disease. Elisa’s research addresses two processes that contribute to glomerular damage:

i. changes in the architecture of podocyte cells - an essential component of the glomerular filtration barrier - leading to defective filtration and proteinuria,

ii. infiltration of leukocytes, particularly macrophages, in the glomerular area leading to inflammation and fibrosis.

Using in vivo and in vitro models, Elisa is currently exploring the potential of thymosin-beta4, a moonlighting peptide that regulates actin assembly and has anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties as a novel therapy for kidney disease.

Elisa is a member of the Urinary System Physiology Unit . She also works closely with Dr David Long’s group at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and has established collaborative links with Professor Paul Riley (University of Oxford) and Professor Alan Salama (UCL Royal Free Hospital).


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  • Vasilopoulou E, Kolatsi-Joannou M, White KE, Robson MG, Sebire NJ, Riley PR, Winyard PJ, Long DA. (2016) Loss of endogenous thymosin-β4 accelerates glomerular disease. Kidney Int. 90(5): 1056-1070
  • Vasilopoulou E, Winyard PJ, Riley PR, Long DA (2015) The role of thymosin-β4 in kidney disease. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 15 Suppl 1:187-90
  • Chan SY, Susarla R, Canovas D, Vasilopoulou E, Ohizua O, McCabe CJ, Hewison M, Kilby MD (2015) Vitamin D promotes human extravillous trophoblast invasion in vitro. Placenta 36(4):403-9
  • Vasilopoulou E, Loubière LS, Lash GE, Ohizua O, McCabe CJ, Franklyn JA, Kilby MD, Chan SY (2014) Triiodothyronine regulates angiogenic growth factor and cytokine secretion by isolated human decidual cells in a cell-type specific and gestational age-dependent manner. Hum Reprod. 26(6):1161-72
  • Vasilopoulou E, Loubière LS, Heuer H, Trajkovic-Arsic M, Darras VM, Visser TJ, Lash GE, Whitley GS, McCabe CJ, Franklyn JA, Kilby MD, Chan SY (2013) Monocarboxylate transporter 8 modulates the viability and invasive capacity of human placental cells and fetoplacental growth in mice. PLOS One 12;8(6):e65402
  • Loubière LS, Vasilopoulou E, Glazier JD, Taylor PM, Franklyn JA, Kilby MD, Chan SY (2012) Expression and function of thyroid hormone transporters in the microvillous plasma membrane of human term placental syncytiotrophoblast. Endocrinology 153: 6126-6135
  • Vasilopoulou E, Loubiere LS, Martin-Santos A, McCabe CJ, Franklyn JA, Kilby MD, Chan SY (2010) Differential triiodothyronine responsiveness and transport by human cytotrophoblasts from normal and growth-restricted pregnancies. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 95:4762-4770
  • Loubière LS*, Vasilopoulou E*, Bulmer JN, Taylor PM, Stieger B, Verrey F, McCabe CJ, Franklyn JA, Kilby MD, Chan SY (2010) Expression of thyroid hormone transporters in the human placenta and changes associated with intrauterine growth restriction. Placenta 31:295-304 (*Joint first authors)
  • Chan SY, Vasilopoulou E, Kilby MD (2009) The role of the placenta in thyroid hormone delivery to the fetus. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab 5:45-54
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Last Updated 04/03/2019