Bohdana-Myroslava at her USC graduation ceremony

Bohdana-Myroslava Briantseva was a student at Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv in Ukraine when the Russian invasion started in 2022. She received EACR Ukraine Grant funding to help her move to the UK for a placement in Dr. Marco Saponaro’s lab at the University of Birmingham, which you can read more about here.

Since completing her placement, she began studying a Master’s programme at the University of Southern California. Bohdana-Myroslava caught up with the EACR recently to let us know that not only has she now graduated from USC with an impressive 4.0 GPA, she was selected as a graduate student commencement speaker at her graduation ceremony. She delivered an inspiring speech to her fellow graduating peers from the USC Keck School of Medicine, which you can watch in full on YouTube here.

“Sometimes extreme circumstances allow us to view a completely new perspective”

Bohdana with Peter and Patricia Rowland

It was wonderful to learn from Bohdana-Myroslava that she is still very much in touch with the people she met during her time in the UK. She even had two attendees at her graduation, Peter and Patricia Rowland, who travelled all the way from Liverpool for the occasion. “It was a very special and touching moment for me to see them that day”, she says.

Bohdana-Myroslava is currently working as a Research Technician in Dr. Andrew McMahon’s lab at USC while she continues to look towards the future, applying for PhD programmes for 2024 admission.

“I learned that your shoulders can be enough to hold someone’s world, and that there is always a world that needs a shoulder,” she says. “I am grateful to the EACR, Dr. Marco Saponaro, Dr. Andrew and Jill McMahons, Dr. Francesca Mariani, Dr. Sudha Sundar, Dr. Juraj Bracinik, and Dr. Paloma Garcia for your shoulders. By supporting Ukraine, you support a peaceful and fair world where everyone has a chance to live and choose their own future.”

Hearing about Bohdana-Myroslava’s inspiring journey since evacuating from Ukraine makes us reflect on a quote she shared in her first The Cancer Researcher article. One of her hosts, Dr. Sudha Sundar, told her that “in order to become gold, you have to go through fire – and this is your time of becoming gold”. We thank Bohdana-Myroslava for sharing her heartwarming update with us.

“There will come a time when your life will sparkle with new colours”

Supporting Ukraine’s Researchers

As an international community of cancer researchers, the European Association for Cancer Research stands united in support of our scientific colleagues in Ukraine. We offer financial support to displaced researchers from Ukraine in the form of funded short-term placements in international cancer research labs to help give them time and safety in which to plan their next move or apply for other roles. You can learn more about this support here.