Arailym Maikenova

Specialization: General medicine. Internship: New York University, USA.

Arailym is from the town of Shar in Eastern Kazakhstan, a historical place associated with both the Mongol invasion and the construction of Turkestan-Siberian railway. Today Arailym is a student university student, and for her medicine is not just a profession, it’s her life. Having won a grant from the Shakhmardan Yessenov Science and Education Foundation,  the future physician moved to New York, to work in a laboratory which investigates issues of health and fertility.

— My internship took place in the Langone Health – Fertility center under the direction of Professor David Keefe. First I worked in the laboratory, and then with patients. During the orientation week, the team got to know me better and I passed safety training at work. I was not just trying to get results from experiments to publish a scientific article, I wanted to better understand one of the causes of infertility and find ways to eliminate it. In particular, I studied the effect of heavy metals on the development of stem cells — said Arailym.

Tell us more about working with patients?
– I worked with couples whose are infertile for various reasons, met patients and conducted consultations. I learned about a number of reasons why people today resort to in vitro fertilization. And I made sure that infertility is not a life-sentence, that regardless of age and the cause of the problem there is always a solution.

But it was not only science that filled the three months that Arailym lived in new York, the “capital of the world,” as she says. She loved seeing the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and many other places every day. And once she was even in the crowd on the set of a television shoot on Madison Square.

– There are a lot of museums in new York. The most interesting for me was the American Museum of Natural History. We often had dinner together with the laboratory staff and talked about various topics not related to work. At the end of the internship, they gave me a handmade photo album, with kind wishes and parting words. To this day I keep in touch with them.

What have you achieved as a result of your internship?
– Everything I did there, I did for the first time. For me it was a huge experience. I could not even imagine that I would work with expensive reagents in such high-tech installations. I’ve only seen it in books and videos before. At university, we were often told about karyotyping and that this test helps to study the chromosome set of a person. But when I did it myself in the lab it made me unbelievably happy. I also cultivated stem cells.

What will happen next in your career, Arailym?
– The internship was like a breath of fresh air for me, a door to the unprecedented. I have discovered a world of possibilities that I have already started to use. Together with a group of other scientists I was able to find a relationship between air pollution and fertility. On my return, I did a similar study in Kazakhstan so we could compare the results in the two countries. I was supported by my university – Astana Medical University. Now I have my last year of undergraduate study, then begins a new stage of training –  an internship. I plan to continue my education in the specialty “Obstetrics and Gynecology”. This area is interesting and close to me. I also passed the national selection and became a member of the IQAA Accreditation Council. I want to devote all my time to medicine, because it brings me pleasure. Most of all I like that you can see the results of your work by yourself – by the smile of the patient and by the words “Thank you, I feel better”. I want to inspire people to make new discoveries, to motivate them. Now junior students come to me and ask about the internship, and I am glad that I am able to open people’s minds.

27.03.19, Stories

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