On September 15, 2022, a solemn Meeting of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology of PNU was held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its foundation. The permanent Head of the Department for 20 years was Doctor of Biological Sciences, Honored Worker of Science and Technology, Laureate of the Scopus Awards Ukraine and Web of Science Award Ukraine, Professor Volodymyr Lushchak. Employees, students, graduates of the department and invited guests gathered at the celebrations on the occasion of the anniversary.
The head of the Department, Professor Volodymyr Lushchak, gave a welcome speech. He talked about his path to science, cooperation with foreign partners and students, and thanked his family, teachers and friends who supported him. Rector of the university Ihor Tsependa congratulated the staff of the Department on the anniversary. He thanked the staff of the Department and personally Professor Volodymyr Lushchak for the titanic work in maintaining the university’s image and contribution to world science.
The rector also noted the important contribution of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology in the initiation of changes at the University, awarded the employees of the Department with diplomas from the University and thanks from the city Mayor.
The Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences Viktor Sluchyk, the Head of the Department of Biology and Ecology Myroslava Mylenka, the head of the Department of Geography and Natural Sciences Yaroslava Atamanyuk, the head of the Department of Professional Education and Innovative Technologies Oksana Jus also spoke with congratulations.
Video greetings were sent by our graduates and colleagues from Ukraine and foreign partner universities: Professor Kenneth Storey (Carleton University, Canada), Mihai Covasa (Scefan cel Mare University of Suceava, Romania), scientists from the O.V. Palladina Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine – professors Maryna Skok, Serhiy Kosterin, Mykola Velikiy and Lyudmila Drobot, professor Nana Voytenko from the O.O. Bogomolets Institute of Physiology of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Rector of Ternopil National Medical University Mykhailo Korda, Professor Hanna Kmita (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland), Professor Galina Ushakova (Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University), graduate of postgraduate studies – Candidate of Science Bohdana Rovenko (University of Helsinki, Finland). We also received a number of postal greetings from our colleagues.
The general organization of the celebrations and the warm atmosphere of the event were provided by Oleksandra Abrat, associate professor of the department.
Dmytro Gospodaryov, Associate Professor of the Department, made a wonderful presentation about the history of the establishment of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, its achievements and success in the scientific field.
History and main achievements of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology
The Department of Biochemistry of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University is a relatively young department, as it was officially founded in 2002 (according to order #169 dated September 10) by Professor Volodymyr Lushchak. Its creation was a long-standing dream of Professor Lushchak and the result of titanic efforts of himself and like-minded people who could have a great career either abroad or at one of the natural sciences departments at other universities. Instead, they chose Ukraine, they chose Prykarpattia and Prykarpattia University, which at that time had a strong school of physicists and chemists, but did not position itself as a powerful center of biomedical research.
Creating something new is always leaving the comfort zone. The creation of the Department was preceded by a preparatory period, a period of maturation. The first laboratory was located in the basement of the administrative building, next to the physicists’ laboratories, in a small room, which was also the “office” of Associate Professor Lushchak at the time. Volodymyr Lushchak managed to find like-minded people, to convince them to endure the initial difficulties. Some had to be persuaded to move to Ivano-Frankivsk. It was also necessary to get the reagents and equipment (which are usually not cheap) to operate the laboratory somewhere. Most people would probably refuse to take on so many responsibilities. However, the desire was irresistible, and thanks to him, it was possible to accomplish the almost impossible.
Later, the Department of Biochemistry added a biotechnological direction to its field of interest and in 2010 was reorganized into the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Today, the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology has grown in connections and created a powerful image for our university.
In particular, since 2002, at the invitation of both the Head and staff of the Department, a number of world-renowned scientists have visited our University: Nobel laureates in the field of physiology or medicine – Erwin Neyer and Bert Zackman, one of the most famous American researchers of free radicals processes Rodney Levin, former deputy minister of science.
It is worth noting that among the numerous scientific events held by the department staff, in 2016 and 2019 the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology co-organized two workshops with the support of the German Academic Exchange Service. As part of these schools, our city and, in particular, the Carpathian University were visited by a whole host of world-renowned German immunologists and experimental oncologists.
Professor Lushchak himself was repeatedly invited as a speaker at important international conferences. In 2016, he received an award from the world-famous Elzevir publishing house recognizing him as the most cited scientist of Ukraine in the field of biological sciences, and the Carpathian National University as the most cited university of Ukraine. The quality of Professor Lushchak’s publications was also twice awarded by Clarivate Analytics, the company that owns the Web of Science scientometric database and numerous social networks for scientists.
Professor Lushchak was also able to gather a circle of like-minded people, each of whom, being a member of a large team, has his own value. Associate Professor Oleg Lushchak is currently one of the most cited young scientists of Ukraine, who has long gone free swimming, does not hide behind his father’s image, having his own research team and cooperation with well-known Ukrainian and foreign laboratories.
Galina Semchyshyn, who stood at the origins of the department and now leads its direction, has repeatedly been the initiator of long-term and fruitful cooperation with German and Polish colleagues, won a number of grants for conducting workshops, as well as for student internships. She also organized a recent collaboration with Romanian scientists. Maria Bailyak is a worthy student of Professor Lushchak – whose achievements were recognized by the L’Oréal company award “For women in science, the Order of Princess Olga in 2021, who, in the end, received funding for her own research from the National Research Fund of Ukraine. Other students and associates of Volodymyr Lushchak – today’s employees of the Department – repeatedly interned in the laboratories of world-renowned scientists, won grants for trips, attended international conferences and also have a number of awards for their own achievements. The list of these achievements is very long. Recently, the department’s scientists completed the 2-year implementation of the Ukrainian-Romanian educational project on the diagnosis and prevention of diabetes and obesity in the population of the Carpathian region, and before that, the German-Ukrainian project on brain aging.
Now the department does not reduce the “tone”. On average, more than 20 articles and book chapters are published per year, most of which are published in international publications. A significant number of articles are co-authored by students. The Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology makes a significant contribution to the image of our university and the development of its infrastructure, and is extremely active in the media. I wish the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology to double its achievements in the coming years. Given her level, she definitely deserves a large number of applicants who will become talented scientists, diagnosticians, biotechnologists in the future, and will take an active part in the development of our state at a time when there will be an extremely high demand for their help, their talent and intelligence.
Despite the tragic and difficult situation in Ukraine caused by Russian military aggression, we try not to lose optimism, believe in our victory and continue to work for the good of our country.