Young scientists conference

Published in FEBS News, issue 1/January 2008, p.12-13.
News from the FEBS Societies: Armenian Association of Biochemists

The Young Scientists Conference 2007 was conducted at the H. Buniatian Institute of Biochemistry, of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, Paruir Sevak str. 5/1, 0014 Yerevan, Armenia from 25 to 29 of June 2007.  The Conference was organized under the auspice of the Armenian Association of Biochemists (AAB).  The organizers were Prof. Guevork Kevorkian, Director of the H. Buniatian Institute of Biochemistry, Vice President of AAB and Dr. Varduhi Knaryan, AAB Secretary, Dr. Hripsime Hayrapetyan and Dr. Ljudmila Arakelyan.  Two postgraduate students affiliated at the Institute of Biochemistry, Nune Hayrapetyan and David Poghosyan, provided extensive and invaluable help in each step of the event.  Financial assistance has been received from the National Academy of Sciences of RA, Center of Organizing Youth Activities of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs of RA, and Delta Ltd.Co (Armenia).

The message of the Conference was to bring together young Armenian scientists, giving them unique opportunity to present own studies in front of large auditorium of their young colleagues and faculty, then exchange thoughts, share experience of working and teaching in the field of biological sciences.  Working languages were Armenian, Russian and English.

Participants were students, research fellows, (BSc and MSc degree holders), candidates of biological sciences (PhDs), and faculty from Departments of Biochemistry, Pharmacology, General and Bioorganic Chemistry of the Yerevan State Medical University; Departments of Biochemistry, Biophysics, Microbiology, Plant and Microorganism Biotechnology of the Biological Faculty of the Yerevan State University; H. Buniatian Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of RA, in total more than 50 attendees with average age of 35, with 80% prevalence of female.

Invited chairpersons comprised of Prof. Hakopyan V. P. (National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia); Prof. Trchunyan A. H. (High Quality Attestation Committee of Armenia);  Prof. Vardevanyan P. H. (Head of the Department of Biophysics, YSU), Prof. Vahradyan H. G. (Department of Biochemistry, YSMU); Prof. Mardanyan S. S (Institute of Biochemistry).

Twenty five selected candidates presented scientific reports on their studies in enzyme biochemistry, cellular and tissue morphology, biophysics of membrane structures and lipid content in microorganisms, modeling of planar lipid bilayers with patterns of their applications, biochemistry and pharmacology of drug-to-receptor interactions in experimental stress-related conditions.  Presentations were followed by intellectual discussions and recommendations for the further development of the initiated projects.  The Questionnaires and Voting lists helped to summarize the meeting and select the best presentations.  All participants were cheered with Certificates, some received Diplomas with special gifts for the best presentations.  The whole meeting went in a warm and friendly atmosphere, accompanied with open talks and interactions, especially during delicious coffee and lunch breaks.

The Young Scientist Conference in Yerevan was adapted to the time of 5 years of AAB in the FEBS as an Associate member.  The apparent advantage was that during the past five years more than 20 young scientists from Armenia benefited attending FEBS Advanced Courses and Congresses due to travel grants provided by FEBS. Two of them, Hovik Panosyan (PhD) and Konstantin Enkoyan (PhD) briefly spoke about recent FEBS Forums for Young Scientists, where they also took part.

Finally, guests and organizers, supervisors and young participants appeared with enthusiastic speeches, emphasizing significance and necessity of this initiative after years of break.  They outlined that such gatherings could be the way to encourage and attract youth to the investigations in biological sciences.  All were happy and enjoyed the event; for the vast majority this was the first experience to perform. It is remaining to do hope for continuation of this practice and putting efforts to organize international youth meetings in Armenia.