Research Centre for Medical Genetics
1 Moskvorechye St,
Moscow 115522, Russian Federation
Mo-Fr: 9:00 - 17:00

RCMG participated in the NAUKA0+ National Festival, organized by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education during the Year of Science and Technology

The festival's lecture tracks and interactive exhibition display the topics of the Year of Science and Technology - new medicine, space exploration, climate and ecology, genetics, artificial intelligence, human and society. The RF Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the Government of Moscow, Lomonosov Moscow State University and the Russian Academy of Sciences host the festival for the 17th time. NAUKA 0+ Festival traditionally includes more than 10,000 free events for the widest audience in 80 regions of Russia; this year there were 5 Nobel Prize winners' online presentations, competitions for children and adults, the largest interactive exhibition, virtual laboratories, children science shows, discussions about the future of humanity, science movies, robot competitions, science fights Science Slam, quizzes and quests. The main lecture area was the Shuvalov building of Lomonosov Moscow State University. The lecture program in the Shuvalov building of Lomonosov Moscow State University included presentations by Olga Shchagina, Candidate of med. sci., head of the Molecular Genetic Diagnostics-1 Laboratory, leading researcher of the RCMG DNA-diagnostics Laboratory, and Svetlana Smirnikhina, Candidate of med. sci, Head of the RCMG Genome Editing Laboratory.

In her lecture, Olga Shchagina explained why we could refer medical genetics to a personalized science. She told about the work required from geneticists and laboratory geneticists to make a diagnosis in complicated cases. It is necessary to identify one DNA variant out of thousands that has led to a fatal molecular mechanism disorder, using bioinformatic analysis, scientific literature analysis, deep analysis of disease manifestations, and in some cases they must create in silico or in vitro models to understand whether a change in DNA has any effect. 

“Large-scale popular science events are necessary for people far from science to understand what scientists, whose activities are paid for, including by taxpayers, are doing. It is important that they make the achievements of Russian scientists evident. Geneticists believe that, despite the rarity of certain hereditary diseases, they are a great burden on the general population, and such trouble can affect anyone. For families faced with a hereditary pathology, it is necessary to know where to go for help, who deals with their disease, and to be able to ask questions directly to specialists. For me, it is a very interesting experience to speak thereabout with a wide audience using simple language without special terms, using images and examples understandable to everyone,” Olga Shchagina shared her impressions. 

Svetlana Smirnikhina in her lecture "Genomic editing - the future of therapy" told about the successes achieved by the RCMG Genome Editing Laboratory and separately dwelled on the ethical problems caused by the method used in medical genetics. Svetlana Smirnikhina noted that medical geneticists around the world have decided on a moratorium on experiments on genome editing of embryos.  

“My presentation on the problems and successes of genomic editing in medical genetics raised many questions from the audience. It is obvious that students are interested in this field, and both from the scientific and ethical point of view. It is extremely important to discuss technologies that can fundamentally change approaches in medicine from different perspectives, and the discussion among students and young professionals is necessary to form their worldview,” Svetlana Smirnikhina said.

Vladimir Strelnikov, Dr. of biol. sci., Head of the RCMG Epigenetics Laboratory and Andrey Vasiliev, Dr. of med. sci., senior researcher at the RCMG Stem Cell Genetics Laboratory, Head of the General Pathology Department, Professor of the Educational Activities Department of the Central Research Institute of Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery under the Russian Ministry of Health, attended the lecture program of the Russian Science Foundation.

They spoke in detail about their research supported by the Russian Science Foundation.

“Our research shows that it is possible to create some new informative methods for diagnosing cancer diseases, predicting the effectiveness of therapy, and even expanding the field of application of existing targeted drugs. Studies of methylation and other epigenetic factors may become routine for oncologists in the future, and these studies can in many cases change treatment approaches and improve the prognosis for the patient. The audience at the RSF lecture hall included both medical students and those who were just about to enter medical school. Perhaps they will be the ones who will use the tools that we create today as part of fundamental scientific research,” Vladimir Strelnikov said.

RCMG presented its stand on the main exhibition area of the festival at Expocentre in the Genetics and Quality of Life section. Families with children with hereditary pathologies were among the thousands of guests of the festival. Parents were interested in the RCMG diagnostic capabilities and the possibility to make an appointment with doctors. Medical students were interested in the opportunity to enter the RCMG residency program. The visitors of the RCMG stand in the Genetics and quality of life section of the NAUKA 0+ National Festival used the unique opportunity to get answers to various questions about medical genetics from the competent personnel of the leading Russian medical genetics institution.