Askarbek is a Nazarbayev University student, School of Science and Technology. Thanks to the Foundation grant, he spent the summer of 2016 at Boston University, where he did his research in the Laboratory of the Department of Dermatology under the supervision of Professor Vyacheslav Labunskiy (PhD).
1. Why did you choose this specialty as your major?
In eighth grade I have decided that I will get higher education in the field of biology. I just did what I liked and what I was good at. And I’d say that these are the two things that determined my choice. I studied at a Kazakh-Turkish Lyceum, where I often participated in Biology Olympiads. Later on I won the silver at an International Biology Olympiad. It was that same summer when I had graduated from high school. This achievement helped me a lot when applying to Nazarbayev University.
2. What was the most challenging for you in the competition for the internship?
I think it was the second round of the competition. It was hard to understand which of my many traits should have been presented because the jury’s choice based on that. I was very nervous before the competition; a lot of thoughts came to my mind. But on the other hand that time of reflection before the second round forced me to ask myself a lot of questions, which I had never thought of before. During the contest, I was quiet and reserved, but I felt excited and became more proactive later on. I realized that all I needed was just to be fully open and honest in order to show the jury who I am so they could make their choice.
3. What was the internship about?
The task of my research was to discover the cellular mechanisms that affect the rate of aging of the cell. I was been analyzing data about the activity of every gene in yeast cells to find genes and their interactions that affect this speed. I used clusters of supercomputers, various bioinformatics software and online genes database. All this was interesting, and I really liked it. I was really inspired by the internship.
4. The outcomes of the internship for you?
After the internship, I started thinking about getting a specialization in bioinformatics. For this I am continuing my work with my professor and now am taking courses in programming and bioinformatics. I plan to gain more experience in this discipline and will try to do scientific internship on the topic. My further goal is to enroll to PhD.
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