Kirill Antonets and Anton Nizhnikov, winners of the 2020 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists
The prize was awarded for the discovery of amyloid proteins in plants and symbiotic bacteria, and the description of their functional importance.
Kirill Antonets was born in Leningrad on August 6, 1990. He is a senior researcher at the National Research Institute of Agricultural Microbiology. Holds a PhD in Biology.
His research interests include microbiology, genetics, agricultural sciences, and biotechnology.
Scientometric indicators (publications/Hirsch index): WoS – 32/8, Scopus – 29/9, RSCI – 96/9. Total number of patents – 4.
Anton Nizhnikov was born in Leningrad on August 3, 1987. He is the lead researcher at the National Research Institute of Agricultural Microbiology. Holds a PhD in Biology.
His research interests include microbiology, genetics, agricultural plants selection and seed breeding, and biotechnology.
Scientometric indicators (publications/Hirsch index): WoS – 50/10, Scopus – 42/11, RSCI – 121/11. Total number of patents – 4.
The team was the first in the world to discover specific functional proteins – amyloids – in plants and symbiotic bacteria. They show unique resistance to digestive enzymes and can survive in an external environment for years. This discovery revealed the universal nature of forming amyloids, previously known in humans and animals as pathogens associated with the development of incurable diseases (diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), as well as important functional agents involved in forming long-term memory and other critical processes.
This achievement was possible thanks to the unique bioinformatics algorithm developed by the researchers, which shows efficiency that exceeds other similar algorithms. With its help, for the first time ever, the entire set of proteins was studied, and it was determined with high accuracy that plant seed reserve proteins, which are a critical component of the human diet, as well as symbiotic bacteria proteins responsible for their interactions with the plants, have a propensity to form amyloids.
The obtained bioinformatic data were confirmed during an experimental study of amyloid protein properties in bacteria and plants. It transpired that the latter have a unique ability to convert superstable amyloid folds into protein molecules which seeds need to germinate. These properties are not known in animals or humans, which largely accounts for the inability to treat neurodegenerative diseases. The presence of amyloid conversion in plants is indicative of the potential for controlling the amyloidogenesis process and significant prospects for developing functional foods and symbiotic plant-microbial systems with desired properties.
The authors’ results form the foundation for amyloidomics, which is an innovative research discipline. The discovery is of great importance for biomedicine and agriculture.
Yevgenia Dolgova, Yekaterina Potter and Anastasia Proskurina, recipients of the 2020 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists
The Prize was awarded for formulating a new ideology to treat patients with malignant tumours. This ideology hinges on the well-coordinated performance of innovative medication with nucleic acids and cross-linked cytostatics.
Yevgenia Dolgova, Ph. D. (Biology), was born on August 17, 198, in the city of Novokuznetsk. She is a senior research associate with the Federal Research Centre Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Academic interests: Molecular biology and oncology.
Scientometric indicators (number of publications / Hirsch index): Web of Science (WoS)-32/7, Scopus-41/10, Russian Science Citation Index: 88/10. Total number of patents: 13.
Yekaterina Potter, Ph. D. (Biology), was born on July 26, 1988 in the city of Gazalkent, Uzbekistan. She is a senior research associate with the Federal Research Centre Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Academic interests: Molecular biology and oncology.
Scientometric indicators (number of publications / Hirsch index): Web of Science (WoS)-28/8, Scopus-38/10, Russian Science Citation Index: 81/10. Total number of patents: 13.
Anastasia Proskurina, Ph. D., was born on August 9, 1985 in the city of Novosibirsk. She is a senior research associate with the Federal Research Centre Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Academic interests: Molecular biology and oncology.
Scientometric indicators (number of publications / Hirsch index): Web of Science (WoS)-36/8, Scopus-45/10, Russian Science Citation Index: 102/13. Total number of patents: 16.
The inventors have developed and tested two unique technologies for treating tumours of various etiology that are based on previously unknown principles, and which have received scientific experimental and clinical substantiation.
The first technology implies the use of the new Russian medication called Panagene together with chemotherapy. The medication was developed by the research team on the basis of a double-stranded DNA fragment. It has been proved that the preparation mitigates the negative consequences of chemotherapy and helps to activate anti-tumour immunity. The applicants have successfully conducted pre-clinical research, the first and second phases of the Panagene preparation’s clinical research, while treating breast cancer. Following the results of the technology’s clinical research, it was established that the five-year relapse-free survival rate of patients with the IIIB and IIIC breast cancer stages soared 2.5-fold, as compared to the Placebo group and historical control.
The second technology called Karanakhan [Sanskrit – “killing the source”] is a unique method for selecting the mode of cytostatic injections for blocking the division of cells and a DNA-based preparation for each tumour individually. The active performance of both active substances destroys tumour cells, including cancer stem cells. Trials of the technology were successfully carried out on experimental mice and human tumours. Therapy using Karanakhan technology is an independent option for treating malignant tumours, or it can serve as a “platform” for more effectively using any anti-tumour methods and technologies.
The inventors used the newly-developed technologies to formulate the main provisions of a new ideology of personalised anti-tumour medicine.
Vladimir Maksimenko, winner of the 2020 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists
The prize was awarded for the development of invasive and non-invasive brain-computer interfaces for monitoring normal and pathological brain activity.
Vladimir Maksimenko was born on December 17, 1989, in Atkarsk. He is a senior researcher at Innopolis University. Holds a PhD in Physics and Mathematics.
His research interests span radio physics, mathematical modelling, numerical methods and software solutions, and biophysics.
Scientometric indicators (publications/Hirsch index): WoS – 83/13, Scopus – 123/18, RSCI – 204/15.
Total number of patents – 19.
Vladimir Maksimenko has performed a large-scale study of communication mechanisms in neural networks based on the synchronisation of low-frequency and high-frequency rhythms of brain activity. His research helped explain the complex cognitive processes that take place during the processing of visual and auditory information and are implemented through the interaction between neurons from different parts of the brain.
The scientist has developed a number of original mathematical models of neural networks, as well as three neural control interfaces (brain-computer interfaces) that can prevent and block seizures in patients with epilepsy invasively (by means of electrical stimulation) when medication to relieve the seizure is ineffective; and simulate imaginary motor activity and measure a person’s concentration non-invasively (without penetrating the human integument), which is important in patient rehabilitation after a stroke, in teaching and in other areas.
Vladimir Maksimenko’s research results enabled him to develop unique neurocomputer interfaces that can be used in medicine, physiology and robotics.
Yevgeny Khaidukov, winner of the 2020 Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists
The prize was awarded for fundamental research into nanocrystals having anti-Stokes luminescence and the development of advanced technologies on their platform.
Yevgeny Khaidukov was born on October 29, 1984, in Volgograd. He heads a laboratory at the Crystallography and Photonics Federal Research Centre with the Russian Academy of Sciences. Holds a PhD in Physics and Mathematics.
Academic interests: Condensed matter physics and biophysics.
Scientometric indicators (publications/Hirsch index): WoS – 76/12, Scopus – 74/12, RSCI – 94/13. Total number of patents – 5.
Yevgeny Khaidukov's research has to do with the creation of a methodological platform for reproducible synthesis of nanocrystals. After being irradiated with low-energy electromagnetic waves and after a series of electronic transitions in the atoms, these nanocrystals re-emit photons of higher energy. The spectrum of such radiation can be set up in a controlled manner by building nanocrystals with a specific atomic structure. The nanocrystals synthesised by Khaidukov have prospects for a variety of applications.
His achievements include producing biocompatible photoluminescent nanoparticles for probing biological processes in cells and for practical use in medical diagnostics and therapy; a new method of photodynamic therapy of melanomas with the use of vitamin B2; the discovery of those molecules’ targeting properties, which ensure their accumulation in tumour cells; and a demonstration of the photoimmunostimulation effect.
A new class of nano-markings has been developed and tested, designed to prevent the production of counterfeit products and fraud reduction (for oil, banknotes, etc.). The markings based on nanocrystals have a ‘spectral signature’ that cannot be counterfeited due to the underlying physical principles.
He has proposed a revolutionary approach based on combining conversion of near infrared light into ultraviolet photons in nanomaterials and photopolymerisation of light-sensitive compounds, which opens up new possibilities in the field of 3D additive engineering technologies.