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Joint Seminar of HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology and George Mason University

This June, first-year undergraduate students of the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology took part in an online seminar at George Mason University (USA). The seminar was part of the Coronavirus Research Update summer course, taught by Professor Ancha Baranova.

Joint Seminar of HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology and George Mason University

Students of HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology reported the results of the work that they conducted during a research seminar led by Dean Alexander Tonevitsky. Their research projects were supervised by faculty members of the International Laboratory for Microphysiological Systems, who involved students in the real scientific work. The reports were united by a common topic, which is now relevant for everyone: the research on SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

  • Daria Dobrovolskaya and Ulyana Kashcheeva talked about the features of the genome of the coronavirus.
  • Anna Chechenina, Olga Chechekina, and Veronika Shatalina made a presentation about using a microfluidic chip with intestinal cells to study the pathways of the virus into the cell.
  • Alexandra Gorbonos, Ksenia Kirdei, and Milena Chekova spoke about the interaction of the virus with microRNA cells.
  • Ivan Antipenko and Alina Pokryshchenko presented their design of a test system for SARS-CoV-2 detection using the fast and cheap method of isothermal amplification of nucleic acids.

The seminar took place during the exam session, so setting aside time for a research seminar was no easy task. Good level of English allowed the students to not only make excellent presentations, but also answer questions from American colleagues.

I’ve got an invaluable experience of real scientific work. It’s incredible—right away, in the first year of studies we have an opportunity to understand what we are preparing for, why we are really studying. This is very motivating,' says Alina Pokryshenko. 'It was also interesting to make a report in English. Moreover, 4-year students, who are older than we are, listened to us. And they asked questions. It was just like a real international conference.'

Following the results of this joint seminar, students will receive personal certificates, and most importantly, they will be able to continue their research in the International Laboratory of the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology.

George Mason University is a long-standing partner of HSE University: the first cooperation agreement was signed in 2006. Since then, a number of projects have been implemented between universities, including joint academic and research projects, exchange of experience, joint events, and double degree programmes in economics and philosophy.