Funded through a generous grant of the Neva Foundation, a new Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Imaging and an extensive exchange program for Russian students and faculty have been created at EPFL.
The partnership agreement signed between the Neva Foundation, EPFL and the Perm National Research Polytechnic University (PNRPU) in Russia laid the foundations for a new Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Imaging as well as an exchange program for scientists.
In addition, the two research institutes established a joint PhD program giving the best Russian students a possibility to study at EPFL over the next five years.
Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions with estimated 285 millions of people suffering grom the disease worlwide. The economic stakes are high, and the European Union spends approximately 10% of its total healthcare budget on the fight with this disease.
The key area of study is metabolism at a cellular level and in particular the way in which motochondria (the energy producing elements of the cell) play a role in disease onset and development. EPFL has developed expertise in this area and it is hoped that together with PNRPU's track record of bringing new therapies to clinical trial, advances can be made in diabetes prevention and treatment.
The holder of the new Chair, Professor Elena Dubikovskaya, joined EPFL's Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering in 2011. She is an advocate of an interdisciplinary approach, combining synthetic chemistry, optical imaging, and an understanding of cellular functions at molecular level to find solutions to fundamental problems in biology and the medical sciences.
The exchange program is open to students and staff of the PNRPU, with the intention of extending the program throughout Russia in coming years. The first two postgraduate students have been selected and it is hoped that a total of twelve sudents will be able to take advantage of a year's study in Switzerland.
In addition, the program provides ten Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows and eight Professors the opportunity of a sabbatical of at least six months at EPFL, as well as a fund for new state-of-the-art research equipment for PNRPU's laboratories.
For further information please visit : http://lcbim.epfl.ch
Picture: N. Sikorsky