School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Pavlina Theodosiou

Research Associate


About me

I am a postdoctoral research associate at the group of Environmental Engineering working on the EPSRC funded BIOHEAT project (PI: Dr Elizabeth Heidrich). Through the project I am aiming to develop a fundamental understanding of the heat transfers in microbial systems in order to be able to engineer and husband them. At the end of the project we will be able to link heat energy to growth which will provide us with a deeper understanding of the biology of anaerobic systems. Overall this project contributes to the bigger picture of developing large scale biological systems to extract energy from wastewater such as Bioelectrochemical Systems (BES) or Anaerobic Digesters (AD), that are industry ready and can work consistently under fluctuating temperature conditions.


Pavlina has a background in Biological Sciences (BSc) and an Engineering PhD with a focus on Bioenergy and Self-Sustainable Systems from UWE, Bristol. Her PhD was funded by the European Commission under the project name EVOBLISS (FP-7) and she conducted her work at University of the West of England under the supervision of Prof. Ioannis Ieropoulos. Prof. John Greenman and Dr Jonathan Winfield. On EvoBliss she worked with partners from Denmark (IT University of Copenhagen), Italy (University of Trento), Germany (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Scotland (University of Glasgow). For her thesis Pavlina presented the work she achieved using the robotic platform EvoBot, a 3D-printer turned to robot, which she used as an automated Robot-Chemostat for culturing and maintaining Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs). Her work resulted in improved MFCs which were robotically cultivated and then used on board the 2018 edition EcoBot-II, resulting in almost continual motion (movement every 45 seconds). Her work was awarded the "Best Biology Paper" at the 6th Living Machines Conference in Stanford University. Before moving to Newcastle University she completed a post-doc at the Bristol Bioenergy Centre where she worked on the PeePowerTM  technology, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and OXFAM. Her role was in researching and developing Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) systems for practical applications. During that project she travelled to East Africa slums and camps where she installed and maintained these systems, the MFCs were installed in toilet blocks and provided lighting at night by converting urine into electricity.

Furthermore, Pavlina is a passionate science communicator, she is a trained STEM ambassador and has delivered numerous science outreach activities in schools and science festivals. She has both delivered and assisted in the delivery of MFC workshops to local primary and secondary schools. She has also delivered conference and summer school workshops on MFCs and self-sustainable robots, to postgraduate researchers and academics, both in UK and abroad. 

Google Scholar: Click here

ResearchGate: Click here




Research Interests

Pavlina's research interests include but are not restricted to;

  • Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs)
  • Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) 
  • Environmental Engineering 
  • Low-power robots 
  • 3D-printing
  • Malleable and biocompatible structures 
  • Sustainability and Resources 
  • Bioenergy 
  • Wastewater Treatment 
  • Thermodynamics 
  • Renewable Energy

Esteem Indicators

Reviewer for Journal of Power Sources (awards for outstanding contribution in reviewing 2017 & 2018), Indian Journal of Micorbiology and Bioresource Technology.


    Teaching Activity 

    Guest lecturer at:

    • Scientific Frontiers and Enterprise - Department of Health and Applied Sciences, UWE Bristol
    • Sustainable Energy Technologies - Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics, UWE Bristol
    • Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Genetics - Department of Health and Applied Sciences, UWE Bristol
    Supervisory and co-supervisory role in the following projects:
    • A review of pilot-scale Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) - PG Level Project (MSc)
    • Paper-based Microbial Fuel Cell biosensors for toxicity detection – UG Project (BEng) 
    • Development of a wastewater treatment process using graphene filter and Microbial Fuel Cells – UG Project (BEng)
    • Exploration of 3D-printed ceramics as membranes for Microbial Fuel Cells - UG Project (BEng)
    • Low-power vision for EcoBot-II for food exploration – PG Level Project (MEng)
    • Energy-sufficient PeePower feeding system for autonomous MFC stacks – PG Level Project (MEng)