Olga Kuharenko – PhD at the interplay of chemistry and biology
Olga Kuharenko moved 1000 km to start her PhD project Cluster Tox at the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden. Halfway through her project, she will move another 500 km to Saarbrücken to finalize her work at Leibniz Institute for New Materials. Read here why she chose this path:
Dear Olga, tell us about your professional background.
I completed my bachelor’s and master’s in chemistry at the Belarusian State University (BSU) in Minsk. During my studies I worked for four years at the Research Institute for Physical Chemical Problems of the BSU in the field of polymer chemistry. The projects I was involved in were mainly devoted to the synthesis of well-defined macromolecular structures, their characterization and application.
What will be your job in the project?
I will synthesize nano-sized hybrid polymer/inorganic advanced materials and investigate how their architecture and macromolecular functionalization influence their cellular uptake and intracellular targeting, stability, as well as toxicity. Understanding the behavior of these nanoclusters in living cells in the future could for instance be used to develop targeted drug delivery systems for cancer treatment.
What made you decide to work in this particular project?
I see the interdisciplinary nature of the research as a great possibility for my professional development. For instance, I will be gaining knowledge and hands-on experience in cell biology – a totally different research field with new investigation approaches, analysis techniques and so on.
Where do you see the biggest challenge?
For me personally working as a chemist and as a biologist in a highly interdisciplinary environment will be a main challenge and also the greatest benefit.
How do you deal with the fact that you will be working at several institutes and that several research institutes are involved in your project?
I see this as a unique opportunity that will broaden my horizon and give me new knowledge, skills and contacts useful for my future scientific career.
Thank you Olga and welcome to the research alliance!. We are looking forward to working with you.