Eleni Athanasakos is a Paediatric Clinical Scientist within the departments of Paediatric Surgery and Gastroenterology. Her main area of interest is the pathophysiology and psychosocial aspects in children suffering from bowel conditions such as idiopathic constipation, faecal incontinence, anorectal anomalies, Hirschsprung’s Disease and other allied gastroenterology conditions.

Eleni’s journey started with a BSc (Hons) at the University of Sydney (Australia) majoring in anatomy, physiology and neuroscience. This was followed by a MSc at the University of Sydney, on the clinical outcomes of Hirschsprung’s disease. She then moved to the UK, where she was fortunate to undertake a PhD at Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health, and studied the determinants of psychosocial morbidity in patients with congenital anorectal anomalies. Post PhD, Eleni went to study Medicine at Dundee University, however, it was during her studies, that her dream of setting up a specialised anorectal physiology service for children, was becoming more apparent to her, due to the gap in the specialty. She came back to London, as a Clinical Fellow at UCLH, within GI Physiology where she was trained both in Upper and Lower Gastroenterology and it was during this period that she gained both clinical and managerial skills to set up a similar service in Paediatrics.

In August 2016, Eleni started working at the Royal London Hospital with Mr. Stewart Cleeve where funding was obtained from the Health Foundation Innovation for Improvement. This grant made it possible to set up a specialised service: Children’s Anorectal Physiology Service (CAPS), for children with bowel conditions. This service has been running for the last year and is in the process of being nationally and internationally recognised.

Eleni has also been teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students within Medicine and has been an Anatomy Prosecutor since 1998. She has published papers and abstracts within the field including a chapter on IBS. Her future aspiration is to further advance both clinically and academically within CAPS, and improve the management of these patients.