The winners of the 2017 PhD Thesis Presentation Contest have been announced

Prof. Yarema Okhrin (Head of the PhD Contest Committee), Oleksandr Yagensky (first place), Natalia Korniy (third place), Prof. Olga Garaschuk (President of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society), Bohdan Tokarskyj (second place), Augsburg, 6 October 2017. Photo collage: private.

On the 6th of October 2017 in Augsburg the PhD Thesis Presentation Contest took place for the second time within the framework of the Annual Meeting of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society/ The UKRAINE Network. With this annual PhD Contest the Society aims to promote aspiring PhD candidates and foster academic cooperation with Ukraine. The contestants are either Ukrainians carrying out their PhD research abroad, or are involved in a bi- or multi-lateral collaborative research projects with Ukrainian scientists, or whose research topic is related to Ukraine. This year the six finalists came from Austria, Germany, the UK and Ukraine. The topics of their fascinating five-minute talks addressed yet unanswered questions in European law, molecular biology, material science, history of Ukraine and Ukrainian literature. The jury, consisting of the society members, who are each experts in fields of research represented by the contestants, faced a tough choice. The winners are:

  • Oleksandr Yagensky (International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Georg August University of Göttingen/ Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen): “Unraveling the Secrets of Alzheimer’s Disease”, the first place;
  • Bohdan Tokarskyj, University of Cambridge: “The Poetry of Becoming: The Exploration of Self in Vasyl Stus’s Palimpsests”, the second place;
  • Natalia Korniy (International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Georg August University of Göttingen/ Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen): “Shedding light onto the black box of protein synthesis”, the third place.

At the event a prominent economist Professor Oleh Havrylyshyn (Ottawa, Canada) gave a keynote talk and the book presentation entitled “The Political Economy of Independent Ukraine: Late Starts, False Starts, and Last Chance?” All the PhD Contest finalists were presented with a book prize: “Let the light of science never die” by physicist Vasyl Shenderovsky, signed by the author. This book is a collection of portraits of Ukrainian researchers, who have significantly contributed to the world science. In addition, the monetary part of the prizes, – EUR 300 for the first place, EUR 200 for the second and EUR 100 for the third place, has been endowed by Nomad Bioscience GmbH. This highly innovative biotechnology company was founded and is directed by Professor Yury Gleba, an active member of the Society. Moreover, the travel expenses of the finalists were kindly covered by the Global Business Management (Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Augsburg). The PhD Contest has also been supported by the Embassy of Ukraine in Germany.

Introducing the winners

Photo: courtesy of Peter Goldmann/ Max Planck Society

Oleksandr Yagensky, International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Georg August University of Göttingen/ Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany.

Talk title: “Unraveling the Secrets of Alzheimer’s Disease”

Oleksandr Yagensky was born in Lutsk, Ukraine. His interest in life sciences early on brought him in his final high-school year the bronze medal at the International Biology Olympiad in Mumbai, India (2008). He completed his Bachelor’s studies in Biotechnology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland), supported by a scholarship of the President of Ukraine (2008-2009) and a Rector scholarship of the Jagiellonian University (2009-2010). Oleksandr joined the International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology in October 2012 as a Master student, supported by a stipend of the Excellence Foundation for the Promotion of the Max Planck Society (2012-2013). Oleksandr has been carrying his PhD research at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen since May 2014. Using social media, he organized the community of Ukrainians in Göttingen with the goal of promoting a positive image of Ukraine in local community through various cultural and social events. Oleksandr is passionate about music (he formed a rock band with the fellow students from the PhD program) and entrepreneurship.

 

Photo: private

Bohdan Tokarskyj, University of Cambridge, UK

Talk title: “The Poetry of Becoming: The Exploration of Self in Vasyl Stus’s Palimpsests”.

Bohdan Tokarskyj was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in International Law at the Kyiv Institute of International Relations. He then went to study at the University of Cambridge, where he gained Master’s degree in European Literature and Culture (2014-2015). His Master Thesis was supported by a Cambridge-Ukrainian Studentship and distinguished with the Santander Academic Excellence Award. Since October 2015 Bohdan carries out his PhD research at the St John’s College/ University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Rory Finnin, the Director of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies. His PhD research is supported by the Gates Cambridge Scholarship and St. John’s Benefactors’ Scholarship.  In the summer 2015, Bohdan with a colleague embarked on a three-month trip around Ukraine and spoke to people from all walks of life (soldiers, volunteers, journalists, IDPs, etc.) to get an understanding of how the country has changed since the war started. Having recorded more than a hundred hours of interviews, they composed the verbatim play “The Summer Before Everything” that featured as part of the Hotbed Festival in Cambridge. Bohdan also is a Ukrainian Language Teaching Fellow since two years now and he has also taught a number of lectures on Ukrainian literature and culture at Cambridge.

Photo: courtesy of Irene Böttcher-Gajewski/ MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen

Natalia Korniy, International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology, Georg August University of Göttingen/ Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany.

Talk title: “Shedding light onto the black box of protein synthesis”.

Natalia Korniy was born in L’viv, Ukraine. She gained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a subsequent Master’s degree in Biochemistry from the Ivan Franko National University of L’viv in Ukraine. During her studies Natalia was distinguished with a Stipend of the President of Ukraine (2009), Honored Student Stipend of the Ivan Franko National University of L’viv (2009 – 2013) and the Victor Pinchuk Fund Scholarship (2012 – 2014). In 2013, she joined the International MSc/PhD Max Planck Research School for Molecular Biology at the Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany. A year later she obtained the Masters of Science degree, supported by the Max Planck Research School Master Fellowship. She then continued as a graduate student in the Department of Physical Biochemisry at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. Throughout her PhD she has been supported by a PhD fellowship from the Max Planck Society (2015-2016), followed by a PhD Fellowship from the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds. Natalia is interested in learning languages and keen on poetry, classical theatre and philosophy.

 

Background information:

This PhD Thesis presentation Contest was organised by the German-Ukrainian Academic Society. This event was held within the framework of the 2017 Annual Meeting of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society.

More information on the previous PhD Contest winners.

Nomad Bioscience GmbH is a plant biotechnology company founded in 2008. The company is developing a broad range of biotechnology products manufactured in plants. Corporate offices are headquartered in Munich, Germany and the company’s Research Division is located in Halle, Germany. NOMAD Bioscience GmbH has two subsidiary companies: Nambawan Biotech GmbH (Halle, Germany) and UAB Nomads (Vilnius, Lithuania).

Global Business Management (Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Augsburg)

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Augsburg combines research and teaching activities under the umbrella of Global Business Management (GBM). The subject is the in-depth, intra- and interdisciplinary exploration of all essential economic and business connections between international value-added networks, in order to give companies and economic policy orientation in the ongoing globalization processes. The aim is to investigate socially relevant questions in an interdisciplinary way, to make significant contributions to science and to ensure the transfer of the research results into university teaching and practice.