Anna Nicolaou

Anna Nicolaou, BSc PhD CChem FRSC


  • Professor of Biological Chemistry, Pharmacy
  • Division of Pharmacy and Optometry|2.019c Stopford Building|Oxford Road|Manchester M13 9PT, UK

Personal profile


Anna Nicolaou is Professor of Biological Chemistry at the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, The University of Manchester. Her research focuses on bioactive lipids and mass spectrometry-based lipidomics, with emphasis on the molecular mechanisms that mediate the role of eicosanoids, endocannabinoids, ceramides and related mediators in inflammation, immunity, cellular communications and tissue responses. Prof Nicolaou has a long standing interest in skin inflammation and the role of lipids in acute and chronic cutaneous disorders. The involvement of fatty acids and their metabolites in cancer, neuroinflammation, reproductive tissues and the cardiovascular system are also of interest, and this work has been supported by research councils, charities and industry. Currently, she is a member of the ISSFAL board, and until recently, was the executive editor of BBA Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids.

Research interests

My research focuses on Bioactive Lipids and Lipidomics with emphasis on the molecular mechanisms that mediate the role of eicosanoids, endocannabinoids, ceramides and polyunsaturated fatty acids in inflammation, cellular communications and tissue responses. My lab specialises in mass spectrometry-based lipidomics that, when coupled to functional, metabolic, signalling, protein and gene expression and regulation studies, can bring about a greater understanding of the biological role of lipid networks in health and disease. One of my main research questions is to understand the role of eicosanonds and related bioactive lipids in skin inflammation and related disorders. I have used UV-irradiated human skin to follow the formation of lipid mediators during the initiation, maintenance and resolution phase of cutaneous inflammation, and performed nutritional interventions with anti-inflammatory omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to assess the prevalence of novel anti-inflammatory and pro-resolution metabolites. There is also a strong interest in the mechanisms mediating the cross-talk between epidermal and dermal resident cells both in supporting skin homeostasis and in response to inflammation, injury and wound healing. Further to this, and through collaborative studies, I am involved in a range of projects exploring the role of bioactive lipids in the ocular, cardiovascular and reproductive systems, cancer, immunity and neuroinflammation.


Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Royal Society of Chemistry (C.Chem, FRSC)
  • Biochemical Society (Biochem Soc)
  • British Mass Spectrometry Society (BMMS)
  • International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL)
  • European Federation for the Science and Technology of Lipids (EuroFedLipid)

Methodological knowledge

Lipid biochemistry mass spectrometry-based lipidomics, bioanalytics


1982-1987: B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Athens, Greece.

1987-1991: Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry, University of Athens, Greece and CNRS Saclay, France.

1998- 2003: PGCE in Higher Education, University of Bradford, UK.

Professional Qualifications:  FRSC, C.CHEM,  HEAM

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

International Lipidomics Society, steering committee of interest group on Lipid Functions

2020 → …

Executive Editor, BBA Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids


ISSFAL Board Member

2016 → …

EuroFedLipid Co-Chair Lipidomic Division

2010 → …

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Lydia Becker Institute
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing
  • Healthier Futures


  • Lipid Biology; Lipidomics


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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