Alumni Uni Würzburg - 1000 Careers One Story

Dr. Nelly Babayan, Armenia

Please describe your (scientific) work/research in a short way.

I am working as a head of the laboratory of Cell Technologies (Institute of Molecular Biology of NAS, Armenia), as well as a senior lecturer in molecular cell biology and cell/gene technologies at the Russian-Armenian University (Armenia) and at the Yerevan State University (Armenia). For several years, I was working on the development and implementation of 3Rs concept of Toxicology in Armenia. The 3Rs concept, also known as AltTox (alternative toxicology) is defined as Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of experiments in vivo, where the ideal situation would be the complete replacement of animals used for scientific and medical evaluations with efficient non-animal methods. Currently, my research focuses on the development of hybrid in silico / in vitro approaches for assessment of potential hazard of different chemicals for human health and/or environment.

Which aspect of a sustainable life, work and research is especially relevant for you and why?

The sustainable life, work and research may be due to the creation and following of the stable, strategically planned development concepts, and due to the vision of the future endpoints in the country itself. The problem of former USSR countries is a long-lasting re-evaluation of independence and difficult process of building the road maps of country development. In this case, it was important not to lose the potential of scientific community, however, during the 30 years of independence the impact of science on country prosperity was underestimated in Armenia, making it unattractive to new generations. Today, behind the funding and infrastructure modernization, it is important for me and many scientists in Armenia to be integrated into the international scientific community via traveling to conferences, short or long-term visits of scientists from abroad to Armenia and vice versa, knowledge and skills exchange. The knowledge accessibility is also a big concern, since there is a problem with subscriptions to the most scientific journals etc. I believe that productive science management, development of strategic scientific branches, global collaborative networking and enthusiasm of scientists can guarantee the stable development of science in Armenia.

What would be your wish for the future (and why) with this regard?

In a country in which the real war can start every second, despite the 21th century is around us, I wish peace. I wish the people would have opportunity to work and develop their countries in stable environment. I wish to make my country a participant and a part of worldwide technical progress and help to grow the generation of inventors, but not consumers. I wish about science without borders and education available for everyone in the world. 

How is the Corona crisis affecting you in your every-day life and work?

The Corona crisis has changed the understanding of different aspects of our life, however some concepts changed without missing the productivity, such as teaching via online platforms. During the Corona crisis my country was also exposed to the 44-day war, both were unexpected and imposed on us situations. Even so, the online courses and other possible formats of work, such as writing the manuscript etc. were accompanied with the daily reports on both disasters. It was difficult to handle, however it was the only way not to stop and face the collapse. The productivity of work especially has fallen in women population with small children. For me it was a big challenge to combine childcare with the work from home. Despite all this, the crisis proved how we are strong and can overcome everything if there is a wish.