The International Research Council Evaluated SUSU’s Work on the Development of International Research Laboratories


On the final day of the third meeting of the International Research Council, the curators of the international research laboratories from SUSU and representatives of the university’s institutes and schools presented the results of their work and strategies for advancing the university in field-specific international ratings to the international researchers.

The project for organizing flexible creative collectives and attracting leading international researchers to perform advanced research was started at SUSU as part of the road map program in the 5-100 Project for Russian academic excellence. In 2016, under the leadership of leading international specialists, 8 international research laboratories were founded at South Ural State University:

  1. The Laboratory of Large-Scale Modeling of Polyfunctional Compounds
    Laboratory head: Masunov Artem Eduardovich, Ph.D., the University of Central Florida, USA
  2. The Laboratory of Molecular Electronics
    Laboratory head: Dr. Wolfgang Haase, doctor, Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany.
  3. The Laboratory of Migration Studies
    Laboratory head: Jeff Sahadeo, Ph.D., Carleton University, Canada
  4. The Laboratory of Synthesis and Analysis of Food Ingredients
    Laboratory head: Dr. Shirish H. Sonawane, National Institute of Technology, Warangal, India.
  5. The Laboratory of Neurohepatology
    Laboratory head: Julio Licinio, professor, Flinders University, Australia
  6. The Laboratory of Mechanics, Laser Processes, and Digital Manufacturing Technologies
    Laboratory head: Philippe Bertrand, Ph.D., National Engineering School of Saint Etienne, France
  7. The Laboratory of Technical Self-diagnostics and Self-control for Instruments and Systems
    Laboratory head: Dr. Henry Manus, Oxford University, Great Britain.
  8. The Laboratory of Problem-Oriented Cloud Spaces
    Laboratory head: Andrey Chernykh, Ph.D., professor, the Center of Scientific Research and Higher Education, Mexico.

The strategic development of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is tied to the development of the area of studies called “digital duplicates”. This is a complex project involving tasks related to informational security, the automation of technological processes, and the analysis of large data.

“This project perfectly blends the tasks associated with cloud computing,” explains the curator of the Laboratory of Problem-oriented Cloud Spaces, director of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer science, Gleb Radchenko, “The main goal that we set for ourselves in the work of international laboratories is analysis and design of methods to manage computational resources in cloud computing environments for the completion of so-called ‘digital duplicates’. A digital duplicate is a kind of computational model which is realized as a separate computational service. These models can be of various quality – a finite element computational model, models based on the digital processing of big data, static models, and so on. Each of them is only able to use concrete kinds of computational resources. Our goal is to discover which resources we can present for each of these models so that cloud computing resources could be used with maximum efficiency in solving various tasks tied to the design of digital duplicates.”

The ideas of the “digital duplicates” project are on one plane with the development of the technologies of Industry 4.0, and therefore were of great interest to the President of the International Research Council, Edward Monser. The president of the Emerson Corporation suggested that they could look at the possible forms of partnership with SUSU in this area in the future.

“The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science researches practically all elements of Industry 4.0. However, a no less important result of our research is starting up international partnerships: the head of the laboratory, professor Chernykh, has come to our university twice to hold lectures, and SUSU specialists visited the Laboratory in the International Research Center of Ensenada in Mexico. Three scientific articles were released on the results of our research, and two more articles are in consideration to be published in highly-rated international journals. There are three more publications which might appear before the end of 2017,” says Gleb Radchenko.

The intermediate results of the Laboratory of Mechanics, Laser Processes, and Digital Manufacturing Technologies were illuminated by its curator, the head of the Resource Center for Special Metallurgy at SUSU, Marina Samodurova:

“The international laboratory’s scientific direction is the creation of multifunctional and gradient coatings using laser deposition of detonation spraying and powder metallurgy. Through the laboratory’s work, we were able to increase publication activity – our scientific collective has published 5 articles. For students of the masters’ and bachelors’ programs we are now offering new courses entitled “Additive Technologies”, “Pressure Treatment of Non-Ferrous, Powder, and Composite Materials”, “Progressive Technologies of Metal Processing”, and “Special Equipment for Processing Powder Materials”. Through partnership with the largest Russian businesses we were able to realize such joint projects as “The Creation of a Robotized, Flexible Manufacturing Complex for Laser Alloying (Laser Deposition) in Creating Large, Complex Workpieces from Special Alloys and Ased on Titanium Aluminide” and more.”

The main area of work of the Laboratory of Large-scale Modeling of Polyfunctional Compounds is computer models, material and substance design, the prediction of helpful physical and chemical properties of materials, and modeling the structures of effective materials. The curator of the international laboratory Ekaterina Bartashevich spoke with us.

“We model both molecular structures and monocrystals. Modelling molecular structures is a typical task in science in the last fifty years, unlike the modeling of crystal structures. This is a current and more difficult task. This is the challenge we’ve taken on. We see our laboratory as developing simultaneously in two directions. First, fundamental research. Second, solving specific, narrow tasks related to the issues of effective structure and characteristics of materials which are needed today for leading international chemical companies.”

Vadim Tseylikman, curator of the SUSU International Laboratory of Neurohepatology offered a presentation on the work completed at the laboratory. The researcher shared the results of the most recent research on the state of the “brain-liver” axis in conditions of the experimental syndrome of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on laboratory rats. The studies were completed alongside the scientific collectives of the Center of Genetic Resources of Laboratory Animals SPF-Vivarniy, the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of SO RAS, the Institute of General Pathology and Pathological Physiology, the Institute of Human Morphology, and the Vitebskiy State Medical University.

«First, we developed a new model of PTSD. The model was constructed using multiple replications of signals of danger to rats in the form of predator smells (cat). Unlike the other models, this new model reproduces not just behavioral disorders, but also liver lesion, adrenal insufficiency, hypotension, impaired cardiovascular muscle tone, and more. Second, we established that the direct behavioral reactions to the actions of multiple stress signals are passive-defense and the active reaction is a form of the “fight or flight” reaction. A lowered corticosterone level was characteristic for rats with an active behavioral reaction. For rats with a low level of corticosterone, a decreased content of blood flow in the carotid artery was characteristic as well as a decrease in the content of N acetyl aspartate in the hippocampus,” said Vadim Tseylikman, sharing his results.

Under further investigation the laboratory’s researchers came to a conclusion on the reduction of the level of dopamine and serotonin as a result of PTSD with a simultaneous increase in the level of noradrenalin in the hippocampus (the “nosebrain”).

The presentations came to a close with direct connection to India online. The head of the International Laboratory of Synthesis and Analysis of Food Ingredients Shirish Sonawane discussed the results of joint work among SUSU research teams headed by professor of the SUSU School of Medical Biology and laboratory curator, Irina Potoroko.

“The result of our work was a pilot project for creating fermented milk products, rich biologically-active substances, and bread with additives from algae which can become an important discovery in the modern nutrition, prevention, and correction of stress,” noted the professor.

The laboratory is developing methods for synthesizing and modifying food ingredients based on electrophysical effects and their application in the production of food products to increase the body’s resistance to stressful situations.

All of the presentations were given high marks by the members of the International Research Council and called for lively discussion. The international colleagues noted that the project dedicated to creating laboratories at SUSU under the leadership of leading international specialists is developing and improving. The international colleagues gave their comments, wishes, and advice for improving the university’s activities within the development strategy for SUSU’s higher schools and institutes.

In closing, SUSU rector Aleksandr Shestakov noted, “SUSU has the potential to do much more, move much more actively and quickly towards the goals set within the 5-100 Project.”

The international-level laboratories’ research in breakthrough areas of development improve SUSU’s position in international university ratings and improve the university’s reputation in the international academic society.


Oksana Kuvakina; photos by Oleg Igoshin
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