Assistant Math Professor at UTC, Eleni Panagiotou, received a $537,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue her research on human cells this past August. 

Panagiotou is a foundational piece for the research going on in the Math department. She is originally from Greece and has held math positions everywhere from Switzerland to California. She came to UTC when the Math department was looking for someone to lead research. 

“It’s exciting to be a part of this department,” said Panagiotou. “It’s a big opportunity to have a leadership role and be an example to students.” 

A typical work week for Panagiotou is filled with research and exploration and she says that “time blurs together” while working on big projects. 

Panagiotou also noted that a lot of time, her weeks blur into weekends and include lectures, meetings with students, and engagements with other faculty.  

“Because we enjoy what we do, it’s not work,” said Panagiotou. 

According to Panagiotou, the research itself is a lot of exploration, asking questions, and looking for answers.

“Research takes a lot of various shapes,” said Panagiotou, “Sometimes it’s programming. Sometimes it’s reading research papers. Sometimes it’s finding meaning in the data.” 

This new grant is a massive boost to Panagiotou and her research. The grant itself is a very prestigious award that is only available to Assistant Professors. 

“Everyone encouraged me to apply,” said Panagiotou, “I had a ton of support from UTC and the math department.” 

After months of preparation and drafting, Panagiotou sent off her request to the NSF, where she was competing against thousands of others. 

Finally, the National Science Foundation awarded the $537,000 grant to Panagiotou in August. Panagiotou said she remembers feeling an overwhelming feeling of grateful excitement.

“When you find someone who’s excited about your work, it motivates you to continue,” said Panagiotou. 

The grant is a five year grant and will help a total of eleven students. It covers the cost of research as well as expenses needed to travel to national conferences and workshops. 

The grant will also allow Panagiotou and her students to study the complex inner workings of macromolecules in human cells. 

“It’s a subject that scientists don’t know a lot about,” said Panagiotou. 

Panagiotou plans to use her skills in mathematics to calculate the organization of these cells. 

“If we know more about this subject, it will give us a way to interfere with the process and maybe control cell division,” said Panagiotou. 

This process can help with many genetic problems and conditions like Alzheimer's.  

More information about Panagiotou and her research can be found at

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