Dr Elissavet Nikolaou

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Eliza obtained a first class BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Sunderland in 2004 and continued further her studies with an MRes in Bioinformatics at University of Newcastle upon Tyne. In September 2005 she was awarded a 3 year studentship from University of Aberdeen to join Aberdeen Fungal Group (AFG) for a PhD in Molecular Biology, completed 2008. Her PhD project combined bioinformatics with laboratory-based experimentation to study the evolution of stress responses in fungal kingdom. After the completion of her PhD studies, Eliza worked for 5 years as a Clinical Biologist in the Microbiology/Hematology and Molecular Biology departments of “MEDISYN, Cooperative of Laboratory Medical Doctors”, diagnostic institute in Athens, Greece. In January 2015, Eliza joined the Professional Services team of Liverpool University, Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology (CIMI) as a Core Laboratory Technician. During this time she also worked alongside Paxton and Pollakis Group investigating viral and host factors associated with HIV-1 transmission and disease progression.

Eliza has been a member of the Respiratory Infection Group since February 2016 and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate within the team. She currently leads the microbiology site of the Experimental Human Pneumococcal Challenge (EHPC) infection programme. Her work focusing on expanding the pneumococcal research into the molecular epidemiology of natural carriage and infection.

Current Projects

Her research aims to:
1. Optimize novel non-invasive sampling methodologies in adults and children to study bacterial carriage and transmission
2. Study the epidemiology and antimicrobial potential of natural circulating pneumococcal strains and their transmission in community
3. Find alternative treatments to vaccines against pneumococcal diseases such as nasal probiotics

Research Funding

Director’s Catalyst Fund, LSTM & Wellcome Trust (2020)
Establishment of home sampling as a surveillance tool for understanding the role of the human oral and nasal microbiota in respiratory disease

Jean Clayton Fund Award, LSTM (2017)
Investigating the association of colonisation, fitness and AMR potential of commensal circulating pneumococcal strains in Liverpool


Her educational research interests focus on exploring the impact of internalization to the educational goals of UK universities. She currently teaches on LSTM TROP975 Medical Bacteriology and TROP938 Current Clinical Challenges in Tropical Medicine and acts as project supervisor at the LIFE363 BSc (Hons) Tropical Disease, University of Liverpool.


European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Microbiology Society
Royal Society of Biology

Fellow: UK Higher Education Academy
Communication officer of the LSTM Early-mid Career Research (ECR) Committee

Selected publications

  • German, E. L., Solórzano, C., Sunny, S., Dunne, F., Gritzfeld, J. F., Mitsi, E., Nikolaou, E. et al. (2019). Protective effect of PCV vaccine against experimental pneumococcal challenge in adults is primarily mediated by controlling colonisation density. Vaccine 37, 3953-3956.

    de Steenhuijsen Piters, W.A.A., Jochems, S.P., Mitsi, E., Rylance, J., Pojar, S., Nikolaou, E., et al. (2019). Interaction between the nasal microbiota and S. pneumoniae in the context of live-attenuated influenza vaccine. Nature Communications 10, 2981.

    Nikolaou, E., Jochems, S. P., Mitsi, E., et al. (2018). Experimental human challenge reveals distinct mechanisms of acquisition or protection against pneumococcal colonization. bioRxiv.org, 459495.

    Nikolaou, E., Mitsi, E., Ferreira, D. M., et al. (2018). Assessing the ideal microwave duration for disinfection of sinus irrigation bottles-A quantitative study. Clinical Otolaryngology 43, 261-266.

    Weight, C. M., Venturini, C., Pojar, S., Jochems, S., Reiné, J., Nikolaou, E., (2018). Microinvasion by Streptococcus pneumoniae induces epithelial innate immunity during colonisation at the human mucosal surface. Nature communications 10, 1-15.

    Connor, V., German, E., Pojar, S., Mitsi, E., Hales, C., Nikolaou, E., et al. (2018). Hands are vehicles for transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae in novel controlled human infection study. The European Respiratory Journal 52, 1800599.