Ademi Zhakyp

Specilization: Biomedical Sciences. Internship: Massachusetts General Hospital, USA.

Ademi is just 21 years old, however she managed to do research in Massachusetts General Hospital under the aegis of Harvard Medical School. The graduate-to-be of the University is one of 6 children of her big family who once lived all together in a small village in the South of Kazakhstan. What did the internship from the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation give to a girl from a small village in the South of Kazakhstan?

She became interested in biology in her childhood because she wanted to become a doctor. Her mother was always saying: “If you are going to be a doctor, please study biology, darling”.

How did you apply for the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation grant?
In 2015 a group of student volunteers organized a series of mini-lectures in the University to introduce us to student life. I heard about the Foundation during one of those events. Keeping this information in mind I started to develop little by little both professionally and personally. When time came to apply for the foundation’s competition, I suddenly realized that I might not be qualified enough to win the research grant. Nevertheless, I tried. I think that I maybe look like a modest person however I am an ambitious and self-motivated. Therefore I won the grant.

How was the internship in the States?
I learnt to work with animals and to work with instruments such as Flowjo, Prism, Imaris. While learning technical knowledge like Flow Cytometry and Intravital Imaging, I also learnt to work in a multicultural environment. Open-mindedness, showing respect to every culture, the ability not only to understand others but also being understood, these are necessary for career development, that’s what I started believing during the internship. I visited an immunology conference where I met a few accomplished scientists and got familiar with their research. In addition, I had an opportunity to attend scientific and clinical seminars that are open to members of the Harvard Medical School. But work and the internship were not the only spheres of my interest. Seeing whales was on my wishlist, and I fulfilled the dream by taking a whale watching cruise.

What was the outcome of your research?
The most important thing was that we began studying the impact of checkpoint blockade on regulatory T cells in tumour microenvironments. To put it simply — it’s one of the researches that will enable serious progress in oncology. Of course I contributed to the paper, that will be published by the end of this year. And now I’ve come to Boston for a second time to help wrap up the project.

What’s next, Ademi?
I am finishing my bachelor’s degree now, and after graduation, I am planning to pursue a graduate degree in immunology.

And finally what do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy singing. I also enjoy volunteering in my spare time. I noticed that I am able to inspire and motivate people with my stories and anecdotes.

4.07.19, Stories

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