Arailym Nurpeissova, CEAMS, NLA to win  TechWomen grant  in Silicon Valley

Arailym Nurpeissova, CEAMS, NLA to win  TechWomen grant  in Silicon Valley

October 25, 2018

This year five girls from Kazakhstan, among them is Arailym Nurpeissova, were selected out of  3 300 applicants from  Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa by experts of Institute of International Education (IIE), which is  managing TechWomen.

During the five-week program, all participants engaged in project-based mentorships at leading companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, participated in professional development workshops and networking events, and traveled to Washington, D.C. for targeted meetings and special events to conclude the program.

On October 19, all participants presented their projects in Silicon Valley on solving socially significant problems in their countries like poverty, illiteracy, poor quality of medical services, environmental pollution and so on. The team from Kazakhstan came up with the idea of ​​creating an online platform “” on the issue of domestic violence.

The goal of the Kazakhstani  project is to create an information environment for raising public awareness of victims of domestic violence, obtaining legal and psychological assistance for  victims, and creating a society of mutual support. The girls analyzed that annually in Kazakhstan the number of deaths of women from domestic violence ranges from 400 to 500 people, so girls decided to take as an example the experience of the American company “Madre” in California. This organization, which protects victims of violence, has been able to reduce the mortality rate of women over the past 10 years and bring it to a minimum so that the number of women who die from domestic violence has become 0.   

It is know, that the mission of TechWomen is to empower, connect and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by providing them access and opportunity to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and become role models for women and girls in their communities.

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). TechWomen, launched in 2011, supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry.

Sino-French-Kazakh Workshop on Innovative Therapeutic Solutions for Cancer and Ageing diseases at NU

Sino-French-Kazakh Workshop on Innovative Therapeutic Solutions for Cancer and Ageing diseases at NU

October 23, 2018

Sino-French workshopOn October 18-19 researchers of NLA took part at the Sino-French-Kazakh Workshop on Innovative Therapeutic Solutions for Cancer and Ageing diseases, that was organized by International Bio-Business Services (IBBS) with the support of the French Embassy in Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev University and the Sino-French School of Oncology.

The workshop brought together Kazakh, Chinese and French participants from academic and medical institutions as well as industrial players to share their views and knowledge in order to strengthen international cooperation and establish new interactive programs.

Ainur Akilzhanova, head of Laboratory of Genomic and Personalized Medicine, NLA and Ulykbek Kairov, head of Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Computational Systems Biology, NLA  presented their research on clinical interpretation and implications of whole genome/ whole exome sequencing for cancer and aging diseases.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and whole exome sequencing (WES) are increasingly applied in clinical medicine and is expected to uncover clinically significant findings regardless of sequencing indication. The promise of personalized medicine depends on the ability to integrate genetic sequencing information into disease risk assessment for individuals. Genomic sequencing technology is moving rapidly from the research setting into clinical medicine but significant technological and interpretive challenges remain.

Aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of WGS/WES in a group of healthy Kazakh population regarding the detection of genetic variants associated with predisposition to various clinical conditions and drug response.

Researchers presented findings from an exploratory study of 115 participants, most of whom identified themselves as Kazakh (up to at list 3 generations). Participants aged 18-65 years answered questions about the reasons they consented to study and about what they anticipated would come of genomic sequencing, demographic data, risk factors, family history and ancestry questions. None of the study participants had manifest inherited disease. gDNA was extracted from blood. DNA libraries were performed using Nextera DNA Library Preparation Kit (Illumina, USA). For WES gDNA was fragmented, then DNA libraries were performed using SureSelect Human All Exon V5+UTRs kit (Agilent Technologies). Sequencing was performed on Illumina HiSeq2000 platform with min coverage 30x (WGS) and 100x(WES). Bioinformatic analysis was done. Data was compared with data of existing international databases (COSMIC, ESP600, ClinVar, PharmGKB etc) to identify clinical genomic variants in our data. Mendelian variants were compared with ACMG-reportable genes, HGMD. Molecular diagnostics requires accurate and consistent classification of sequence variants (i.e., single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and deletion/insertion (indels) variants). Detection of a pathogenic or “actionable” variant may influence a patient's diagnosis and/or prognosis, family planning, and lifelong health management.

Several genetic variants with clinical implications were identified in all healthy participants. Detected variants are presented grouped into categories in the report delivered to healthy person – predisposition to clinical conditions, inherited disorders (if any), cancer, cardiovascular risks, drug response etc. More promising using targeted NGS for molecular characterization of cancer and aging disease. Compared to broader approaches, such as WGS, targeted sequencing is a more cost-effective method for investigating areas of interest. Targeted resequencing enables researchers to focus on regions that are most likely to be involved in the phenotype under study, conserving resources and generating a smaller, more manageable data set. Targeted approaches can also deliver much higher coverage levels, allowing identification of variants that are rare and more expensive with whole-genome or Sanger sequencing.

WGS/WES seems be the method of choice not only in cases with a specific clinical phenotype in need of reaching a diagnosis but also in the context of carrier screening. The disclosure of the NGS results to the patient is not an issue, if genetic counseling by a healthcare provider with genetic background is provided before and after test according to international guidelines. Targeted approaches using next-generation sequencing (NGS) allow researchers to focus time, expenses, and data analysis on specific areas of interest.

During the Sino-French-Kazakh Workshop were presented also reports  on the possible applications of electromagnetic fields for cancer treatment (Dinara Begimbetova, senior researcher, Laboratory of Translational Medicine and Life Sciences Technologies, NLA), reports on robust approach for analysis and interpretation of tumor transcriptomes from high-throughput genomic platforms for investigation of hidden signals (Ulykbek Kairov, Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Computational Systems Biology, NLA) and others.    

NLA researchers  to win  National Competition on Innovations

NLA researchers to win National Competition on Innovations

October 18, 2018

 The  initiative scientific research results of NLA researchers from the Laboratory of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine was recognized as one of the most innovative by the results of the 2018 National Competition of Innovations and the rating of innovative companies.

The cash prize as the second place holders in the amount of 800 thousand tenge was awarded to our scientists in the nomination “The best technological solution among startups”. The national innovation competition was held under the auspices of the National Agency for Technological Development, JSC with the support of the Ministry of Investment and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The winners of the competition were determined by an independent commission from among the authoritative leaders of the startup ecosystem of Kazakhstan, as well as a commission from among the heads of republican mass-media.

According to Sholpan Askarova, Head of the Laboratory of Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine, who is also the head of the start-up team of the “AstanaBiomedGroup”, they won the jury awards for developing the topical  remedy for psoriasis “A-psorin”.

 -Psoriasis is a chronic and widespread skin disease that affects both men and women of all ages, regardless of ethnicity, in all countries of the world. We developed and tested a thermosensitive hydrogel for the treatment of vulgar (simple) psoriasis, containing poloxamer 407 and polyethylene glycol as the basis for and auxiliary substances, characterized in that 6-aminohexanoic acid, belonging to the group of fibrinolysis inhibitors, is used as an active substance,- said Sholpan Askarova .

In the near future, as scientists expect, “A-psorin” will be released not only in Kazakhstan, but also in the Eurasian market. Now they are actively working on this in “AstanaBiomedGroup”.

Проекты Фонда науки получили коммерческий доход в размере 400 млн тенге

Проекты Фонда науки получили коммерческий доход в размере 400 млн тенге

October 4, 2018

Эти деньги получили в 2018 году. Всего же Фонд науки реализует 95 проектов на общую сумму 20,4 млрд тенге.

В 2018 году Фонд науки запустил 12 производств новых инновационных продуктов. По девяти проектам за восемь месяцев этого года получен коммерческий доход в размере 400,5 млн тенге от продажи инновационных товаров и услуг, сообщил председатель правления АО "Фонд науки" Ануарбек Султангазин на втором международном форуме "Коммерциализация технологий – инструмент интеграции науки и бизнеса".

"12 проектов запустили, девять из них уже дают продукцию. Мы обеспечиваем потребность населения в этих товарах. Сейчас мы активно ведём работу по налаживанию сотрудничества с Фондом Сколкова. Уже четыре наших проекта представлены этим Фондом. Начиная с третьего года реализации проектов, объём реализуемой продукции составит не менее 30 млрд тенге, объём налоговых отчислений составит 2,7 млрд тенге, планируется выпуск 253 новых видов продукции и создание 951 нового рабочего места. При этом доля казахстанского содержания в этих проектах составит 18%", – отметил он.

Один из проектов – карагандинское предприятие "Асфальт technology", уточнил директор проектной дирекции АО "Фонд науки" Курмангазы Омаров. По его словам, всего в Караганде было одобрено около пяти проектов.

"Суть разработки "Асфальт technology" заключается во внедрении в производство модифицированного вида битума, который позволит повысить качественные характеристики асфальта. В сентябре в Шымкенте открылся цех по производству блоков питания для светодиодного освещения. Это первое производство подобного рода в Казахстане. До сегодняшнего дня во всех светодиодных лампах применялись зарубежные аналоги. По цене дешевле, но по качеству превышают", – подчеркнул Курмангазы Омаров.

Ещё одна актуальная разработка – производство комбикорма из пищевых отходов.

"В Алматы открылся большой комбикормовый завод, который предполагает при производстве корма использовать отходы пищевой промышленности. Это очень актуально: с одной стороны решается вопрос утилизации отходов, а во-вторых, при утилизации используется продукт, который востребован животноводческими компаниями", – пояснил директор проектной дирекции.

В сфере пищевой промышленности также был открыт цех на базе агрофирмы "Родина".

"На базе агрофирмы "Родина" открыли линию по производству уникального продукта "НӘР", в состав которого входят пять полиштамов, которые были выделены из таких эндемичных продуктов, как кумыс, айран, шубат. Это разработка учёных Назарбаев Университета. Они передали эту технологию агрофирме "Родина", и уже с апреля 2018 года этот цех работает", – отметил Курмангазы Омаров.

Всего в реализации у АО "Фонд науки" находятся 95 проектов на общую сумму 20,4 млрд тенге, гранты по которым уже одобрены. 12 уже работают, ещё 20 откроют до конца года. Остальные проекты на стадии становления. Основное условие для получения гранта – это завершение научно-исследовательских работ, которые позволяют заявителям вывести на рынок новый вид инновационного проекта или услуг.

"Они должны не только обосновать научную новизну, но и доказать эффективность при внедрении. Грант – это безвозмездные бюджетные средства, которые государство даёт нашим казахстанским разработчикам, изобретателям для того, чтобы они воплотили свои идеи в жизнь", – заключил он.

Депутат Сената Бакытжан Жумагулов считает, что необходимо увеличить общий объём выделяемых средств Фонду науки как минимум в два, а то и в три раза.

"5,4 млрд – это разве деньги? Разве этими деньгами можно двигаться вперёд? Если мы хотим чего-то добиваться, надо увеличивать (финансирование. – Авт.). Финансирование 0,13% – это очень мало. Например, у Китая также было меньше 1%, но как только они увеличили финансирование, у них патенты пошли вверх. Сейчас у них более 2% выделяется на научные исследования. А Китай с нами сравним по ВВП на душу населения. Поэтому было бы правильнее ещё раз поднять вопрос на правительственном и парламентском уровнях", – отметил Бахытжан Жумагулов.