Fulbright Scholar Olga Bakina Graduates

Olga Bakina, a Fulbright scholar from the Ukraine, received her M.S. in biomedical science at FAU’s graduation ceremony this morning. Bakina will be pursuing a Ph.D. at Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich, Germany.

Olga Bakina, 25, is a Fulbright scholar from the Ukraine (seated, center) who has been working in the Kantorow Laboratory at FAU for two years.

By gisele galoustian | 5/6/2016

Olga Bakina, 25, is a Fulbright scholar from the Ukraine who reached out to Marc Kantorow, Ph.D., professor and assistant dean of graduate studies in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, two years ago, because she was familiar with his research program and wanted to work with him in his laboratory. She was the first Fulbright scholar in the Biomedical Science Graduate Program in FAU’s College of Medicine. Bakina, who also has a medical degree (M.D.) from the Ukraine, works as a master’s thesis student in the Kantorow Laboratory. Both of her parents are also physicians in the Ukraine.

While working in the Kantorow laboratory, her research efforts were focused on understanding protective mechanisms that defend against eye disease. Kantorow’s group focuses on the eye lens and the retina as models for understanding cell differentiation, cell function and disease. Work ranges from analysis of the functions of genes identified to cause eye diseases when mutated, to the direct effects of UV-light and other agents associated with the development of eye disease on mitochondrial and other cell functions.

Following graduation, Bakina will be pursuing a Ph.D. at Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich, Germany, working alongside professor Joachim Graw, Ph.D., investigating molecular eye disease within the Institute of Developmental Genetics.  

As an exceptional graduate student, researcher and Fulbright Scholar, Bakina also was awarded FAU’s Provost Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year. She recently co-authored a paper with Kantorow and research colleagues titled “Integrin αVβ5-mediated removal of apoptotic cell debris by the eye lens and its inhibition by UV-light exposure,” published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

On May 6, Bakina received her M.S. in biomedical science with her mentor Kantorow in attendance along with Lisa Brennan, Ph.D., associate research professor in the Kantorow Laboratory in FAU’s College of Medicine and member of her thesis advisory committee. This was an especially proud day for Kantorow as he also “hooded” Daniel Chauss, who has been working in his laboratory for more than four years, during graduation as he received his Ph.D. in biomedical science. Chauss will be going on to do a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where has been awarded an intramural research training award.