Ph.D. Student from Kazakhstan Examines the Lipidomics of Human Breast Milk

Inal Bakhytkyzy started her master's studies at the Faculty of Chemistry of Gdańsk University of Technology participating in the EMQAL program. Fascinated by the research carried out here, she decided to stay and do her doctoral project. Currently she is involved in the work of the team which analyzes how mother's milk influences the development of a child.

 

Inal comes from Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. She moved there at the age of six, when her parents, who were born in China, decided to return to the land of their ancestors after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Astana Inal graduated in chemistry in 2015. At that time her supervisor suggested that she should take part in the EMQAL international study program, whose participants studied for one year at the Faculty of Chemistry of Gdańsk University of Technology.

"There are many Polish people living in Kazakhstan and I managed to get to know their culture and language a bit. My father, who is a historian fascinated by the Solidarity movement, was also supporting me", Inal says.

EMQAL is a very prestigious program, which accepts only the best graduates of at least 1st degree studies from countries outside the European Union. It covers a number of subjects related to the organization of analytical laboratories, including control and assurance of the quality of results, data analysis and methodology. The students who participated in it spent a year at Gdańsk University of Technology, after which they left for another university. Inal chose the University of Barcelona, ​​but after graduating in Spain she returned to Gdańsk University of Technology.

"I decided to do my Ph.D. at GUT. Prof. Piotr Konieczka, the EMQAL II program coordinator, kept repeating that there would always be a place for the program participants at the university. The Faculty of Chemistry possesses outstanding research equipment, which I did not have access to while studying elsewhere. I asked Prof. Agata Kot-Wasik from the Department of Analytical Chemistry to become my supervisor, because I was impressed by her high-performance liquid chromatography classes", Inal recalls.

Inal was convinced to stay at our university not only because of the high quality of our research, but also because of the people she met here.

"Prof. Konieczka was very kind to all the participants of the EMQAL program, and Mrs. Monika Czerepak from the Department of International Academic Cooperation helped me to find accommodation. Prof. Agata Kot-Wasik as a supervisor gives me a lot of freedom in conducting research", she says.

Inal joined the team which conducts lipidomic analyzes of human breast milk. Scientists from the Department of Analytical Chemistry study how the ingredients of mother's milk meet the nutritional needs of an infant necessary for its proper development and provide the baby with effective protection against diseases during the creation of its own immune system.

"Lipidomics is a young, fascinating scientific discipline. Dealing with it I can start a promising research career and maybe even go into the history of science", Inal Bakhytkyzy hopes.

In the picture (from the left): Prof. Agata Kot-Wasik, Inal Bakhytkyzy and Weronika Hewelt-Belka, Ph.D. Eng. Photo by Piotr Niklas