“I dream of developing a drug against blood cancer” — Yulia Romanchuk, the best pharmaceutical graduate from Belarus
When did you realize that you were interested in pharmacy?
As a child, I wanted to become a journalist, translator or philologist. But in the 9th grade, when we chose in-depth subjects, I was already interested in chemistry and everything connected with it. I went to a specialized medical class. In the 10th grade, I was sure that I would do pharmacy at university.
What attracted you?
Pharmacy is about the full life cycle of drugs: from development to marketing research with market launch. Essentially, pharmacists create medicines. My dream is to develop a cure for a rare disease. I am interested in certain types of cancer, especially blood cancer, because it has a high mortality rate.
They say medical school is hard. What was your first year like?
Studying in the first year turned out to be much easier than I expected. Classes in colloid chemistry fascinated me so much that I wanted to come to the laboratory every day and do experiments. The second year was the hardest. Then we had a lot of disciplines in different branches of chemistry. In my head, all the reactions and substances were literally confused.
You are an excellent student during four semesters. What subjects were the most difficult?
“Physics” and “Physical Chemistry”. I am a humanitarian to the core. Mathematics, physics, computer science and probability theory — for me this is a separate universe. I am grateful to classmates who helped to understand these terrible subjects
What is your favorite chemical element?
It is oxygen. This element is included in almost all compounds. Without it, the world would not exist.
You have nine scientific articles indexed in scientific databases. Why do pharmacists need science?
Now it’s time of crazy progress, many new drugs are developed to treat diseases. Science allows you to assemble and classify research results to find a formula for an effective drug. How drugs act on the body, how to organize the work of the pharmaceutical business, how to train specialists — all this is important.
What practice was the most memorable?
In the Botanical Garden of Moscow State University. We studied plants and collected a herbarium. I remember how I ate too many berries there, and when I returned home, I didn’t want anything from my grandmother’s garden. We also had internships in compounding pharmacies. These are pharmacies where you bring a prescription, and medicine is prepared for you right on the spot. Watching the manufacturing process is very interesting!
You are from Belarus. What is missing in Moscow?
I miss home. I miss family dinners and my parrot Richard. When I come home, he is the happiest member of the family. I squeeze him, drag him around the apartment, sit him to dinner at the table with us. Usually no one lets him do that.
What’s the first thing your mom will cook when you get home?
She’ll definitely cook mushroom soup and bake meat. My granny will make herring with beet and mayo.
What advice would you like to have heard in your first year, but you did not?
Appreciate the moment, because time at the university will fly by unnoticed. In my first year, it seemed to me that 5 years is an eternity. And now, after graduating university and entering postgraduate school, I understand that this is just a moment...
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