Innovation Day with foreign ambassadors at the Biomedical Research Center SAS
The objective of the so-called Innovation Days, which are gradually organised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic (MZVEZ) for foreign ambassadors accredited in the Slovak Republic, is to raise the profile of innovative Slovak companies and scientific and research institutions with strong international potential and to help establish new cooperation. The eighth Innovation Day took place on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, at the Biomedical Research SAS.
At the Institute of Virology of the Biomedical Research Center SAS, the Diplomatic Representatives, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ingrid Brocková, State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, Ľudovít Paulis, were welcomed by prof. RNDr. Pavol Šajgalík, DrSc., the Director of BMC SAV prof. RNDr. Silvia Pastoreková, DrSc., and MVDr. Juraj Kopáček, DrSc., Research Director of the Institute of Virology of BMC SAV.
“The Slovak Academy of Sciences is a place of cooperation of the best scientists in Slovakia. It is a key research organisation in terms of its own top basic research, as well as making scientific infrastructure available to others interested in the implementation of technically demanding research and cooperation with practice in applied research and development,” said State Secretary of MZVEZ SR, Ingrid Brocková. Due to the current pandemic situation and the huge share of BMC SAV in its solution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the SAS, decided to present the work of the Center, and especially the Institute Virology of BMC SAV, to diplomats.
The President of the SAS prof. Pavol Šajgalík briefly introduced, after introductory words, the SAS as a scientific-research institution, its structure and areas of activity. He recalled a recent FOCUS public opinion survey, which reaffirmed the credibility of the SAS, becoming the most trusted of the 15 institutions compared for the fourth time in a row. “The SAS clearly and effectively responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and the pandemic,” emphasised the President of the SAS, highlighting the share of SAS institutes across all science departments in resolving the pandemic situation.
The activities of the Biomedical Research Center SAS, a multidisciplinary institution focused on basic, translational and clinical research in biomedicine, were presented by the Director of the BMC SAV, prof. Silvia Pastoreková. The Center was established by merging five originally independent SAS institutes: Institute of Experimental Endocrinology SAS, Cancer Research Institute SAS, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research SAS, Institute of Virology SAS and Institute of Neurobiology SAS. Of the 400 employees of the BMC SAV, 250 are research scientists who focus their research on the molecular and physiological mechanisms of human diseases and comorbidities and the development of new diagnostic, stratification and therapeutic strategies. According to S. Pastoreková, 46 laboratories have developed international cooperation. “The coronavirus pandemic was a great challenge for the Biomedical Research Center SAS, but its scientists grasped this situation with excellence, as evidenced by several specific results - validation of RT PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 virus, sequencing and isolation of its variants, pilot studies of testing strategies or serological diagnostics,” said S. Pastoreková, the Director of the Institute, naming some of its achievements.
The Chairperson of the Scientific Council of BMC SAV and Head of the Department of Virus Ecology RNDr. Boris Klempa, DrSc., introduced the guests in an image-rich lecture on the activities of the BMC SAV in the fight against the pandemic and international activities (European Virus Archive Global project). He discussed in more detail the isolation and archiving of SARS-CoV-2 viruses, testing, as well as the development of RT PCR tests and sequencing. “When dealing with the pandemic, we also realised how important it is to inform the public about scientific knowledge,” stated B. Klempa. During the lecture, he also emphasised the need to vaccinate as many people as possible in order to achieve herd immunity. He also declared the readiness of the Institute of Virology BMC SAV to address other epidemics (e.g. mosquito monitoring).
In the end, the guests have taken a look at the BMC SAV workplaces-laboratories: for external safety Bio-safety Level 3 - a laboratory for highly infectious pathogens, the department of tumour biology and the department of molecular oncology and the Center for Physical Activity associated with a roll-up presentation of the metabolic disorders research department.
Edited by Andrea Nozdrovická
Photo: Katarína Gáliková