Chelyabinsk has never seen such a big number of scientists with a worldwide reputation. Today, the South Ural capital has become a powerful platform for the implementation of one of the greatest science and education projects of the recent years. We are talking about the creation of 8 world-class scientific laboratories on the basis of South Ural State University. Throughout the year, Russian professors and students will be working hand in hand with famous experts from America, Britain, Germany, France, Australia, Mexico and other countries, generating scientific discoveries. The laboratory research areas are highly popular: stress management, nanoelectronics, improving product quality and product useful life, and others.
How did it become possible?
Last year, SUSU won the competition as part of Project 5-100. The competition was held by an independent International Expert Council. Only 46 Russian universities took part in the competition. About 20 of them were admitted to the final and only 6 universities were selected, including SUSU.
Project 5-100 is a federal program aimed at support of the biggest Russian universities in their internationalization of education and science. The Project encourages creation of joint research teams with leading international experts. SUSU has already established 8 world-class scientific laboratories.
International Scientific Council
Since the end of last year, the International Scientific Council has been functioning at SUSU. Its main aim is an independent evaluation of research projects and activities of the SUSU laboratories by the leading scientists. The SUSU International Scientific Council consists of 11 researchers famous in engineering, supercomputing, materials science, and medicine and biology.
The Council is headed by Edward Monser, the President of Emerson Corporation. The Council includes Prof Jaewan Kim from Korea Institute for Advanced Study, specializing in quantum computer; Academy Prof Ron de Kloet from the University of Leiden who is known for his discoveries in the field of stress influence on the brain; the editor of “Molecules” Prof Panayotis Koutentis from the University of Cyprus; the Australian physicist Dr Mohammed Milad from Harvard Medical School; Prof Ashokkumar Muthupandian from the University of Melbourne who studies applications of ultrasound in food and dairy ingredients
Occasionally, the experts hold their open lectures at SUSU, which are also a great opportunity for the academic staff to exchange their knowledge and experience.
In October 2016, 11 pilot projects for SUSU laboratories were submitted for the Council approval. The initial plan allowed for 4 laboratories to be established at SUSU. On the Council recommendation, 8 laboratories opened at SUSU.
Ultrasound food processing, stress management and alternative energy
SUSU scientists’ research results implemented in the new laboratories will be available to customers. For example, anti-stress bread with herbal fucoidan adaptogen created in the Laboratory for Synthesis and Analysis of Food Ingredients under the supervision of Indian Professor Shirish H. Sonawane. The development will soon be patented and can cause a sensation in modern dietetics, stress management, cancer studies, diabetes studies, and so on.
Another task is to preserve the product properties during its processing, ensuring the product useful life not by the use of preservatives, but by eco-friendly ultrasound that helps to keep products fresh for a long time.
Another laboratory studies neurogepathology. The scientists research the mechanisms of stress formation and ways to fight it. SUSU researchers hypothesize that one of the key body organs involved in stress formation is the liver. To mitigate the stress damage, it is necessary to find the right effective measures that can positively affect the human body. Such measures include the development of functional nutrition and drug and non-drug treatment for stress.
One of SUSU research directions will be migration research. Historically, Chelyabinsk was the transit center of the East and the West, a point of inspection and migration. The same points were created in Germany and America at different times. The scientists are faced with the task of conducting the historical study, systematizing the experience, and summarizing the use of digital technologies in this field.
The University is developing a popular topic of alternative energy. In particular, SUSU scientists study the substance creation process for converting sunlight into electricity. The idea is to develop different converters for prospective solar panels. The Laboratory for Molecular Electronics is aimed at the creation of substances that have electronic conductivity and are much smaller, more plastic and more efficient than the current equivalents.
One of the laboratories will be engaged in modeling the properties of materials. This research area implies the supercomputer creation of chemical compounds. That is, the substance is mixed not in a test tube, but virtually. First, scientists simulate the connection, and then proceed to the substance production. Thus, it is possible to shorten the working time for obtaining the desired result. One of the application areas of material properties computer simulation is pharmaceutics.
When will the first results appear?
Reports on the laboratory research activities will be prepared at the end of the year. The International Scientific Council will evaluate the laboratories effectiveness and decide whether or not to continue their functioning. All laboratory research results are planned to be made public and published in the cited journals. In 2018, SUSU is planning to create even more research platforms and dive in the other research areas.