The University of Western Australia

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Foteini Hassiotou

Dr Foteini Hassiotou

Research Fellow
Chemistry and Biochemistry, School of

Contact details
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of Western Australia (M310)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 4467
PhD W.Aust.
Dr Foteini Hassiotou graduated from the Aristotle University of Greece in 2005 with a B.Sc. in Biology and First Class Honours in Microbiology. She then migrated to Australia and started a PhD in 2006 in Plant Physiology at The University of Western Australia (UWA), which she completed in 2009. Shortly after, she joined the Hartmann Human Lactation Research Group of UWA, commencing a second PhD on breastfeeding physiology, the cellular composition of breastmilk, and breast cancer. Her second PhD included ground-breaking reports, such as the discovery of pluripotent stem cells in breastmilk, and the development of tools to assess the health status of the lactating breast. She also conducted novel research in molecular determinants of cancer. Dr Hassiotou is now a Research Fellow at the UWA Hartmann group, directing the Cellular Biology team of the group. Her research concentrates on the maternal cells that are present in breastmilk and their involvement in health and disease. She also directs a team of researchers concentrating on understanding the causes of cancer and developing novel non-invasive therapies for this disease. Her focus is on breast and brain cancer. She is the recipient of the 2014 Ehrlich-Koldovsky Award (International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation), and Editor for the Journal of Human Lactation.
Key research
Pluripotency genes and associated pathways controlling self-renewal and differentiation in normal stem cells and in cancer stem cells.
The properties of breastmilk stem cells and microRNAs, and their function in the development of the breastfed infant.
The potential of breastmilk stem cells to be used in regenerative medicine.
Tools to successfully and rapidly diagnose mastitis, understand its causes, and develop potential clinical management avenues.
The etiology and management of low milk supply, such as in mothers of preterm infants.
Appetite control mechanisms in the breastfed infant, and the protective function of breastfeeding against obesity later in life.
Effects of maternal diet on breastmilk composition and the function of the lactating breast.
Using breastmilk stem cells as models to give insight into the etiology of cancer.
Cancer stem cells in glioblastoma and gliosarcoma.
Hassiotou F., Geddes D.T. (2015). Immune cell-mediated protection of the mammary gland and the infant during breastfeeding. Advances in Nutrition (in press).

Jackson M., Hassiotou F., Nowak A. (2015). Glioblastoma stem-like cells: At the root of tumor recurrence and a therapeutic target. Carcinogenesis 36:177-185.

Hassiotou F., Hartmann P.E. (2014). At the dawn of a new discovery: The potential of breastmilk stem cells. Advances in Nutrition 5:770-778.

Mortazavi N., Hassiotou F., Geddes D., Hassanipour F. (2014). Mathematical modeling of mammary ducts in lactating human females. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering doi:10.1115/1.4028967.

Bode L., McGuire M., McGuire M.K., Rodriguez J.M., Geddes D.T., Hassiotou F., Hartmann P.E. (2014). It’s alive: Microbes and cells in human milk and their potential benefits to mother and infant. Advances in Nutrition 5: 1–3.

Hassiotou F., Geddes D.T. (2014). Programming of appetite control during breastfeeding as a preventative strategy against the obesity epidemic. Journal of Human Lactation 30(2) 136–142

Hassiotou, F., Hepworth, A.R., Williams, T.M., Twigger, A.-J., Perrella, S., Lai, C.T., Filgueira, L., Geddes, D.T., Hartmann, P.E. (2013). Breastmilk cell and fat contents respond similarly to removal of breastmilk by the infant. PlosOne (in press)

Prabhakaran, P., Hassiotou, F., Blancafort, P., Filgueira, L. (2013). Cisplatin induces differentiation of breast cancer cells. Frontiers in Oncology 3:134. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00134

Hassiotou F., Hepworth A., Beltran A., Mathews M., Stuebe A., Hartmann P.E., Filgueira L., Blancafort P. (2013). Expression of the pluripotency transcription factor OCT4 in the normal and aberrant mammary gland. Front. Oncol. 3:79. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00079

Hassiotou F., Hepworth A.R., Metzger P., Lai C.T., Trengove N., Hartmann P.E., Filgueira L. (2013). Maternal and infant infections stimulate a rapid leukocyte response in breastmilk. Clinical and Translational Immunology 2: e3.

Hassiotou F., Geddes, D.T., Hartmann P.E. (2013). Cells in Human Milk: State of the Science. Journal of Human Lactation 29(2): 171-182.

Twigger, A.-J., Hodgetts, S., Filgueira, L., Hartmann, P.E., Hassiotou, F. (2013). From Breastmilk to Brains: The Potential of Stem Cells in Human Milk. Journal of Human Lactation 29(2):136-139.

Faupel-Badger J., Arcaro K., Balkam J., Eliassen A.H., Hassiotou F., Lebrilla C., Michels K., Palmer J., Schedin P., Stuebe A., Watson C., Sherman M. (2012). Postpartum remodeling, lactation and breast cancer risk: towards improved risk assessment and prevention. Summary of a National Cancer Institute Sponsored Workshop. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 105(3):166-74.

Hassiotou F., Beltran A., Chetwynd E., Stuebe A.M., Twigger A.-J., Metzger P., Trengove N., Lai C.T., Filgueira L., Blancafort P., Hartmann P.E. (2012). Breastmilk is a novel source of stem cells with multi-lineage differentiation potential. Stem Cells 30: 2164–2174.

Hassiotou F., Geddes D. (2012). Anatomy of the human mammary gland – Current status of knowledge. Clinical Anatomy 26: 29-48.

Hassiotou F., Renton M., Ludwig M., Evans J.R., Veneklaas E. (2010). Photosynthesis at an extreme end of the leaf trait spectrum: how does it relate to high leaf dry mass per area and associated structural parameters? Journal of Experimental Botany 61(11): 3015-3028.

Roth-Nebelsick A., Hassiotou F., Veneklaas E.J. (2009). Stomatal crypts have small effects on transpiration: a numerical model analysis. Plant Physiology 151: 2018-2027.

Hassiotou F., Evans J.R., Ludwig M., Veneklaas E. (2009). Stomatal crypts may facilitate diffusion of CO2 to adaxial mesophyll cells in thick sclerophylls. Plant, Cell and Environment 32: 1596-1611.

Hassiotou F., Renton M., Ludwig M., Veneklaas E., Evans J.R. (2009). Influence of leaf dry mass per area, CO2 and irradiance on mesophyll conductance in sclerophylls. Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 2303-2314.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Dr Hassiotou directs the Cellular Biology team of the Hartmann Human Lactation Research group. She supervises Honours, Masters and PhD students on projects that address her key research areas. Dr Hassiotou's expertise spans the following fields:
Stem Cell and Cancer Biology
Human Lactation
Human Nutrition
Plant Physiology and Photosynthesis
Funding received
Jackson M, Hassiotou F, Nowak A (2014). Expression and significance of embryonic stem cell associated genes in glioblastoma and gliosarcoma. WA Department of Health, Australian Government
Hassiotou F (2014). New horizons for regenerative medicine using breastmilk stem cells. American Association of Anatomists
Equipment Grant RA/1/466/183. National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia
Hassiotou F (2014-2015). Illuminating the Life-Giving Properties of Human Milk. Unrestricted research grant by Medela AG (Switzerland)
Hassiotou F (2012-2013). Physiology of Human Lactation. Unrestricted research grant by Medela AG (Switzerland)
Hassiotou F (2011). Examination of the properties and function of pluripotent stem cells from breastmilk. GRST Grant (University of Western Australia)
Hassiotou F (2010-2013). Women and Infants Research Foundation Scholarship
Hassiotou F (2010-2013). Medela AG Scholarship
Hassiotou F (2009). Robertson Fellowship
Hassiotou F (2007). ARC-NZ Research Network for Vegetation Function Research Grant
Hassiotou F (2006-2009). Australian Postgraduate Award
English and Greek
International Society for Stem Cell Research
Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research
International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation
American Association of Anatomists
Society for Reproduction Biology (Australia)
Endocrine and Reproductive Biology Society of WA (Elected President 2013 onwards)
American Nutrition Society
Nutrition Society of Australia
Honours and awards
Ehrlich-Koldovsky Award, International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (2014)
Postdoctoral Platform Award Nominee, Experimental Biology, American Association of Anatomists (2014)
Fisher Biotec Young Investigator Award (2013)
Best Publication in Biological Sciences in 2013, The University of Western Australia
International Society for Stem Cell Research Travel Award (2012)
Best Poster Prize, Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium (2012)
American Association of Anatomists Travel Award (2012)
International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Travel Award (2012)
GSK-AusBiotech Excellence Award – National Winner (2011)
Australasian Society for Stem Cell Research Travel Award (2011)
UWA Convocation Travel Award (2011)
Fisher Biotec Oral Presentation Award (CBSM, Perth) (2011)
Best Postgraduate Publication Award 2010 – School of Plant Biology, UWA (2010)
Australian Society of Plant Scientists Travel Grant (2009)
Grieve Memorial Travel Award (2009)
UWA Teaching Internship(2008)
The Biochemical Journal Young Investigator Award (2007)
Australian Society of Plant Scientists Travel Grant (2007)
Mary Janet Lindsay of Yanchep Memorial Fund (2006)
Supervisor to Honours, Masters and PhD students
Current external positions
Endocrine and Reproductive Society of WA Elected President (2013 onwards)

Journal of Human Lactation (Editorial Board)
Useful links
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Monday, 1 October, 2012 4:15 PM