Specialization: Chemistry, Doctor of Medicine. Internship: The University of Queensland, Australia.
At seventeen, Gulzhaukhar arrived at the capital’s Nazarbayev University straight from her native Kyzylorda, and studied chemistry for four years. And after graduating she filed an application for the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation grant competition, and having won went to Australia for an internship in pharmacology.
Tell us – what was your internship?
I trained at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland. I chose it because one of the best professors in the world in the field of pharmacology works there. I participated in a project to develop a vaccine against S.Pyogenes, a bacterium that causes many diseases from pharyngitis to cardiovascular diseases. I worked under the guidance of Professor Istvan Toth. And this experience made me a real researcher. I learned not to let difficulties overwhelm me, for example when I did not manage to synthesize a light-weight protein. I persisted and eventually synthesized this most complex protein.
Did you get good results? Did you create a vaccine?
On average Experts in this field work from fifteen to several hundred years before they get a vaccine. Even if I failed to synthesize the whole vaccine, I learned how to synthesize proteins using microwaves. I strengthened my skills using the latest technologies, such as spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, etc. Before, I knew about these technologies only in theory, now I’ve mastered them in practice. The professor has been working on a vaccine for the past 20 years. Compared to this 2 month internship, of course, my experience is nothing. I gained experience working in a team, and understood how to develop my laboratory skills. The internship helped me to understand that after chemistry I want to study medicine and specifically – pharmacology. And who knows, it may be possible sometime to open a medicine factory.
What’s next, Gulzhauhar?
I set a goal for myself – to find a remedy for currently incurable diseases. I’m sure I will succeed if I combine my experience as a chemist with my experience in medicine. And an internship in Brisbane showed that my ideas are not unfounded. In 2022, when I graduate from the school of medicine, I plan to enroll in a doctoral program abroad in the field of pharmacology.
Well, besides science, what are your interests?
I spend my free time in fitness classes, in the gym and independently study various computer programs, but this is also about science. Now it’s hot and summer, I’ve home for the holidays to relax, but I take online medicine courses and learn Spanish.
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