NEWSRAU Researchers Win 6 Science Grants from EIF and PMI Science

RAU Researchers Win 6 Science Grants from EIF and PMI Science

Researchers of Russian-Armenian University won 6 science grants in the competition organized by Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) through the support of Philip Morris International (PMI) Science.
Among the 126 applications submitted for the grant program, RAU academics and students won 3 Faculty Research Grants and 3 grants for Ph.D. Research Support. The winning researchers will explore innovative approaches to current challenges in biomedical sciences and technology through grant assistance worth millions of AMD. 
Associate Professor Ashkhen Hovhannisyan Head of RAU Department of Biomedical Chemistry and Biotechnology won 2 grants for the projects Elicitors and Nanoparticles as an Alternative Way of Plant Growth Regulators and Green Silver Nanoparticles: Testing Strategies to Establish Safe Commercial Use.
She mentioned that the researchers of their Laboratory, Sh. Kazaryan, A. Arutiunian and S. Ohanyan, Ph.D. student L. Farsiyan and undergraduate student E. Ghrejyan were actively involved in the projects. “Our research efforts focus on obtaining nanoparticles of various metals, their application in various branches of science and industry. In medicine, nanostructures with ferromagnetic properties are used as diagnosticums, for visualization, early diagnosis, targeted drug delivery development, discovery of new methods of treatment of various diseases. Nanoparticles can also be used as plant growth regulators,” she said.
Head of RAU Department of Materials Technology and Structure of Electronic Technique Associate Professor Vladimir Gevorgyan received grant assistance to conduct his research Synthesis of micro-porous matrices based on inorganic composite compounds with various pore sizes and study of their physical characteristics.
Inorganic microporous matrices with through microchannels and micropores are of great practical interest for the selective filtration of various gases, aerosols and liquids from unnecessary impurities and chemical compounds. What we aim to achieve is development of the method for the synthesis of microporous matrix; investigation of the physical parameters of the microporous matrix,” elaborated Associate Prof. V. Gevorgyan.
Siranush Ginosyan, a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry received grant assistance for her research project In silico screening for potential targets for antimalarial drug artemisinin and its derivatives. Siranush expressed sincere gratitude to the grant program organizers and highlighted that it was an honor that her project had been selected by the Ph.D. Support Program panel. She said that the money received from the grant would be used to foster research activities within the framework of the project.
Artemisinin is a secondary metabolite of the medicinal plant Artemisia annua. Artemisinin and its derivatives exhibit many activities, such as antiviral, antimalarial, antitumor, anti-inflammatory and other. However, the exact molecular targets and the mechanism of action of artemisinins are not well understood. Therefore, this study will allow us to improve their clinical use, including the management and improvement of the properties of artemisinins, as well as the development of new derivatives in the treatment of cancer and malaria without the occurrence of resistance,” she explained.
Another Ph.D. researcher, Harutyun Sahakyan, a Ph.D. student in Mathematical Biology and Bioinformatics, is doing his research on Development of new cytostatics inhibiting colchicine binding site.
This program has provided me with a new incentive and will help accelerate my research related to new drugs design, which we conduct at the Laboratory of Computer Modeling of Biological Processes at the Institute of Molecular Biology, RA National Academy of Sciences. Our laboratory investigates molecular mechanisms behind familial Mediterranean fever and looks for new therapeutic solutions. The project funded by EIF and PMI will become a new research area at our laboratory,” he confided.
In silico screening for potential quorum sensing inhibitors that make the antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa vulnerable for human immune system is Narek Abelyan’s (RAU Ph.D. student in Mathematical Biology and Bioinformatics) research focus. He will continue to investigate antibiotic resistance, “My research is devoted to one of today’s most pressing issues, antibiotic resistance, the phenomenon when bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. The main reason behind antibiotic resistance is the assemblage of bacteria into communities, where they begin to demonstrate social behavior when reaching a certain concentration. In these communities, bacteria make collective decisions to adapt to the environment and protect themselves. This ability to communicate in bacterial communities is provided by the quorum sensing system. Traditional antibiotics are no longer effective against these communities, as biofilms developed by these bacteria protect them from antibiotics. In our research, we use methods of bioinformatics to investigate quorum sensing to find out ways to disarm pathogenic bacteria, instead of destroying them. We have already identified several compounds that can become a basis for development of a new generation of drugs.”
Organized by Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) through the support of Philip Morris International (PMI) Science, Faculty Research Funding targets research and scientific proposals in the following areas: Applied Mathematics; Applied Physics; Simulation and Modeling, Multi-physics Modeling, Algorithms; Sensing Technology; Analytical Chemistry; Biomedicine, Toxicology; Material Science, etc. Ph.D. Support Program focused on Data Science; Material Science; Industrial engineering; Electronic engineering; Power Management; Experimental Physics; Mathematical Modeling; Artificial Intelligence; Machine Learning; Mechanical Engineering; Sensing Technology.