Mariia Soloviova on her Ukraine Grant: “this visit supported me and my family during a very difficult period in our lives”

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.

Mariia Soloviova was a postdoctoral researcher at Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine when the Russian invasion started. She received EACR Ukraine Grant funding to help her take up a placement at the University of Murcia in Spain between June and October 2022, and has since begun a postdoctoral position in the MOLAB at the University of Castilla La Mancha.

She writes here about her experience.

How did you come to apply for an EACR Ukraine Grant?

In February 2022, I was forced to leave my home in Ukraine. I travelled to Murcia, Spain with my elderly mother, as I had some friends there. On arrival, I started to search for a job, and the academic position in the University of Murcia was the perfect option for me to take immediately. I was told about this grant offered by the EACR by Professor Victoriano Mulero at the University of Murcia, which enabled me to continue searching for other positions.

Did you have a personal mentor or anyone who particularly helped you?

Professor Victoriano Mulero helped me a lot. He proposed the field of research, filled me in on the topic, and helped me to adapt to the new environment. He was also very helpful with everyday problems that refugees face, like finding a place to live and dealing with bureaucratic issues.

Have you learned any specific knowledge or technique that could benefit your home lab in future?

I have learned to analyse the scRNA-seq data using R and command line tools: reading the count data into R, quality control, normalisation, dimensionality reduction, cell clustering and finding marker genes.

Mariia and Professor Victoriano Mulero at the University of Murcia

How has this visit been beneficial to your research and your career?

During my stay at the University of Murcia I was able to find a wonderful postdoctoral position in another university. So this visit supported me and my family during a very difficult period in our lives. I am very grateful that this grant opened up the opportunity for me to return to the Academy, to find a good job and to do research in which I can make an important contribution.



A short summary of Mariia’s current research: I have started the project “Mathematics against fibrous dysplasia: Biomarker discovery and treatment optimization”. Fibrous dysplasia is a genetic disease  in which scar-like tissue grows in place of normal bone. MOLAB are working to develop mathematical models of the disease to find novel biomarkers and propose alternative treatment schedules for FD patients. A relevant use of mathematical models in FD is their ability to describe the patient’s response to treatments in silico, so that they can be used as test beds for different treatment schedules. The first step for this is the construction and validation of ODE-based mathematical models of normal bone remodeling using the state-of-the art in biological knowledge.

Want to find out more?

To find out about our Ukraine Grants, please click here for more information: EACR Ukraine Grants.