HSE Faculties of Chemistry and Biology and Biotechnologies to Open Joint Departments with RAS
The HSE Academic Council has approved the establishment of joint departments with five institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) at the new Faculties of Chemistry and Biology and Biotechnologies of HSE. Students will gain access to laboratory equipment and learn how to conduct modern research and develop new technology and medicines.
A joint department with the Shemyakin–Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the RAS will open at the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnologies. Alexander Gabibov, RAS member, will head the department.
At a meeting of the HSE Academic Council, Alexander Gabibov said that the Institute carries out large biotechnological production and has a license from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the development of genetically engineered medicines. The Institute specializes in computer biology and the creation of antidotes, the study of human and animal microbiota (development of new antibiotics), engineering of T-cells and so on. ‘We pay special attention to the institute laboratory equipment — we have modern systems of bioimaging,’ adds Gabibov. ‘In my view, students and doctoral students should learn by using modern equipment.’
Joint departments with four RAS institutions will open at HSE Faculty of Chemistry.
Andrey Yaroslavtsev, RAS Corresponding Member, will head the Joint Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Material Science with the RAS Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry. He stresses that the department is going to involve junior students in the department’s work and organize internships for them.
The Joint Department of Organoelement Chemistry with the Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds of Russian Academy of Sciences will be led by Denis Chusov, Leader of the Effective Catalysis Group at the Institute. He notes that he will draw upon his personal experience while organising students’ training. ‘The educational path I took led me from chemical lyceum to university to RAS, and I experienced all the advantages and disadvantages of this sequence,’ explains Chusov.
The Joint Department of Petrochemistry and Polymers of the Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences will be headed by Albert Kulikov, Deputy Director of the Institute. ‘We have various equipment,’ he says. ‘And most importantly, we hope students of our department acquire not only knowledge, but publications in peer-reviewing journals and patents as well.’
Professor Igor Svitanko will head the Joint Department of Organic Chemistry with the RAS Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry. ‘There are two institutes of the highest international rank at the Academy of Sciences — the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and the Institute of Organic Chemistry,’ he says. ‘Both institutes cooperate with HSE, and this is definitely a positive thing.’
Admission to the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnologies will begin in 2019. The Bachelor’s programmes in Chemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biotechnologies offer 30 state-funded places for each programme.
Russian Scientists Present New Application for Nanophotonic Sensor
A joint research team from HSE, Skoltech, MPGU and MISIS has developed a compact sensor for biochemical analysis, opening up a new frontier in the development of the ‘lab-on-a-chip’. Using bovine serum albumin film as an example, the researchers proved that the chip surface can be adapted for selective analysis of multicomponent solutions. Along with enabling accurate blood tests with only 3 to 5 microliters of blood, the chip will help doctors to detect specific disease markers. The study was published in Analytical Chemistry.
Scientists Create Uniquely Stable Trimeric Model of Coronavirus Spike Transmembrane Domain
A team of Russian scientists, including HSE MIEM researchers, have presented a 3D model of SARS-CoV-2 S-protein transmembrane (TM) domain. Previously, the TM domain had only been believed to anchor the S-protein in its viral membrane without being involved in rearrangement and fusion with the host cell. Yet according to recent studies, the TM domain appears to have a function in the transmission of genetic information, but its role is not yet fully understood. The researchers believe that the model they have created can contribute to a better understanding of viral mechanisms and potentially lead to the development of novel antiviral drugs. The study has been published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Fluoride Additive to Boost Production of Sedatives
Russian researchers from HSE University and the Russian Academy of Sciences Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds have come up with a new method of enhancing the chemical reaction involved in producing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) analogues used in sedative drugs. Adding fluoride to the catalyst more than doubled the yield of the pure product and increased the total reaction yield by 2.5 times. This approach is expected to make the production of certain drug components more efficient and less costly. The study has been published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry.
HSE University Launches New Master’s Programme in Chemistry
In 2023, the first Master's programme 'Chemistry of Molecular Systems and Materials' at the HSE Faculty of Chemistry will enrol students. Half of the study time will be devoted to research projects in the field of modern fundamental and applied research on the topics studied at five institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dmitrii Roitershtein, Academic Supervisor of the programme and Associate Professor at the Joint Department of Organic Chemistry with the RAS Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, spoke about the programme to the HSE News Service.
Research Finds Genes Associated with Most Aggressive Kidney Cancer
HSE researchers have found genes characteristic of the most aggressive subtype of clear cell renal carcinoma. Having studied data on tumour samples from 456 patients, Grigory Puzanov, research fellow at the HSE Faculty of Computer Science International Laboratory of Bioinformatics, identified cancer subtypes associated with either a favourable or unfavourable course of the disease. The paper is published in Scientific Reports.
Microfluidic Chip Used to Test Drug Toxicity
A team including HSE researchers has developed a way to use microfluidic chips to assess the toxic effects of drugs on humans. This device will help identify and minimise the side effects of drugs during the preclinical trial stage and reduce the need for animal experiments. The study is published in Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Russian Chemists Improve Seawater Desalination Membrane
A team of researchers of the HSE Faculty of Chemistry Joint Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Materials Science with the RAS Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry have designed a novel type of hybrid ion-exchange membrane. Such membranes can be used to produce drinking water from seawater, which is particularly relevant for areas with access to the sea and a shortage of drinking water. The study is published in Desalination.
‘We Want to Share Our Research with the Whole World’
The HSE University Faculty of Chemistry opened three years ago, and its first intake of undergraduate students is set to graduate in 2023. These students have already demonstrated impressive results in their research—half of second and third-year students have publications in journals indexed in WoS and Scopus, almost a third of which are in Q1 journals. Andrey Yaroslavtsev, Head of the Chemistry programme and Academic of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), told the HSE University News Service about the secret of this success.
Biologists Figure Out How Stem Cells Turn Into Other Types of Cells at Molecular Level
An international team of researchers including biologists from HSE University has developed a method that helps obtain information on changes in protein expression and properties during cells’ transition from one state to another. One of the most interesting transitions is the transformation of cells from undifferentiated stem cells to differentiated cells of various organs and tissues. The paper was published in Nature Communications.
New Data Gained on Double Perovskite Oxides
The Journal of Alloys and Compounds has published an article coauthored by the Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry (the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), the Donostia International Physics Centre, and the HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics on the characteristics of cubic double perovskite oxides. To date, experimental measurements of the minerals’ characteristics have not corresponded to the results of theoretical modelling. The work marks the first time that researchers have set themselves the task of explaining this disparity. The data obtained will allow researchers to improve low-temperature fuel cell technologies—one of the main alternatives to current sources of electricity.