Recently, Papalamprou was one of two Cedars-Sinai postdocs who were awarded the New Investigator Recognition Award from the Orthopaedic Research Society at its 2022 annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. The award recognized her research using induced pluripotent stem cells to create clinically relevant tendon progenitor cells to induce regenerative responses when transplanted into injured tendons. Here, we learn more about what inspired her pursue a STEM career.
What inspired you to become a scientist?
Science and math were among my favorite subjects early on, and I was naturally good at them. I was also very much interested in human biology. When I first learned about cells and how the human body is organized, I thought it was all miraculous, and I wanted to understand it better.
Who is your science hero?
My first mentor, Dr. Georgina Ellison-Hughes. Her passion for science inspired me to pursue a PhD. She combines the rare qualities of being a very bright and kind individual that embodies the values of hard work, discipline and integrity.
What has been your greatest scientific achievement in your career so far?
I've had the pleasure to find myself in newly established laboratories both for my PhD and postdoctoral training. As such, I had to set up brand-new projects from the beginning, which required a lot of legwork. In both cases, I was able to get results in terms of publication output and awards. Personally, I consider my greatest scientific achievement so far to be my contribution during my PhD training to the method for the development of a patented extracellular matrix biomaterial.
How do you want to change the world?
As a principle, I strive to have a positive impact in the world around me. In practical terms, I strive to be helpful and of value to my colleagues and our team. With regards to my personal motivation, I'd like to contribute to science that will have a direct impact on patients' lives, which is what attracted me to the field of regenerative medicine.
If it wasn't for science, what else would you see yourself doing?
It's hard to think of this question because I love science, but I would probably enjoy being a chef. It also requires a lot of creativity, a hands-on skillset, and constant learning and exploration to incorporate new cuisines and techniques to develop new recipes.