Kulyash Zhumadilova

A 22-year-old Nazarbayev University graduate, originally from Shymkent, Kulyash is studying molecular and structural biology. She performed her research during summer of 2014 at the Center for Structural Biology, Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. This summer, as a recipient of Philips Kazakhstan LLP scholarship, Kulyash joined the EIT summer school in Digital High Tech Campus (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), where she will learn how to create startups in the field of healthcare.

1. Why did you choose Molecular Biology as your major in the University?

I was always attracted to science for its ability to explain the world. However, I did not realize the focus of my work until after studying anatomy and physiology in school. That is when I began a more thorough study of biology and participate in the Olympiads. At Nazarbayev University I focused on molecular biology. Today in biology the whole emphasis is on understanding the molecular processes of cell and how these processes affect cell growth, development or its illness. The specialty requires an interdisciplinary approach, so I started to study physics and mathematics. Structural biology – the scope of my project – studies the structure of molecules and their functions accordingly, which is the synthesis of biology, physics and mathematics.

2. What was the most difficult part in the competition?

Waiting for the results, I guess. As we were given an explanation at the beginning of the qualifying stage, the Foundation has its own understanding of which candidate should be on board, and which not. So I decided to just be myself. For the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation it was the first cohort of the Research Internships program participants.

3. Can you recall any memorable experience that happened during the internships?

There are just so many! I was lucky enough to be in the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. I attended various seminars and was fortunate to attend the lectures of Nobel laureates in physics – Saul Perlmutter and George Smoot. I loved the atmosphere in the laboratory, the new knowledge, experimentation, and most importantly, the people. It was very interesting to chat with scientists, researchers, and local students. Also we were pleasantly surprised by San Francisco that is just across the Bay. We went on a small tour with the fellow students of the University of California, visiting Stanford and Caltech.

4. How would you describe the impact of the internship on you personally?

I think I grew up personally and professionally. I understand now what it means to work in a laboratory not only during the working day but as long as it is required by the experiment. Learning how to plan my time, work in a team, and to navigate quickly in an unfamiliar space are other lessons that I have learned in the States. The very dynamics in the Berkeley sets the right mood. Culture wise I also acquired a lot: made new friends and even a little got infected by the freedom of Californians.

23.10.17, Success stories

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