Ella Minasyan determined to become a scientist while studying in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry at Yerevan State University when theoretical classes went hand in hand with experiments in the laboratory. Since the year 2015 Ella has been a junior researcher at the Scientific and Production Center “Armbiotechnology” of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. She is also engaged in the ADVANCE grant program by the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST).
How did your pathway as a scientist commence?
I was into chemistry and biology at school, so when I had to opt for a profession, the decision was made quite fast, and I applied for the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Yerevan State University. I was really keen on pharmaceutical work while at university. I also happened to work at the chemist’s but research has always been closer to me, thus that’s what I’m currently doing. I am an applicant at the Scientific and Production Center “Armbiotechnology” as well.
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
There are plenty of reasons to get up indeed, just like anybody else, but the arrangements for the upcoming day stand in the first place. That’s what motivates me to get up in the morning, to continue with incomplete tasks with renewed vigor.
How would you depict a scientist?
It goes without saying that one’s conceptions as a student are completely different, even stereotypical at times. Later on, once you’ve opted for that very career path, they alter altogether. Thanks to my scientific supervisor in both the bachelor’s and master’s programs, Candidate in Chemical Sciences Satenik Petrosyan, who is an extremely friendly person, I envisioned a scientist just like her, knowledgeable and smart but, at the same time, modest and friendly. Sadly enough, some people in our society are unaware of what a scientist does. I’d like such approaches to be altered through role models of young scientists.
Is pursuing science as tough as it is thought of?
As for me, it’s not at all tough. Quite the contrary, it serves as a platform for endless creativity. Science enables people to realize their potential, as well as to feel self-sufficient by means of discoveries.
Would you highlight any milestone in terms of your decision making to pursue a career in science?
Probably our research experiments throughout university years, which reinforced my passion for chemistry and pharmaceutics. My job at the chemist’s was another turning point for me to realize it was not what I needed.
Which discovery has impressed you the most within the scope of your scientific interests?
I find all inventions interesting and crucial, they come to enrich already existing knowledge, contributing to newer inventions and discoveries. As a researcher, who also conducts research on the identification of various substances, I would emphasize the importance of technologies which enable, for instance, medical quality control and assurance at all stages, starting from production up to its intake by the patient.
Are there any scientists whom you consider to be a role model and whose work has been a guideline for you?
I’ve studied works by foreign scientists in the field, I’m also well-aware of research being currently conducted. As for a scientist who inspired me, I’d highlight Marie Curie, who was the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields, in physics and chemistry. The best role models for me are Armenian scientists, who keep working and manage to get results in the toughest conditions.
What research have you currently been conducting?
By means of analytical equipment, we carry out qualitative and quantitative analyses of a substance of unknown composition, to figure out what elements they are made of. Those can be medicine, newly-synthesized substances, or plant extracts. Also, I’ve been working on a technology for extraction and purification of plant melanin, mostly present in low-cost agricultural waste, and have been carrying out multilateral research on physicochemical and biological characteristics of the extracted melanin, and detection of its structural elements and new fields of application.
What would you recommend to a child who wants to become a scientist?
Never give up, generate new challenging ideas and try your best to bring them to life in the future. I’d also tell them not to be scared of hardships. As for adults, I would urge them to encourage their children to pursue a career path that would benefit humanity.
What is your aspiration as a scientist?
Each scientist would definitely consider the much-coveted Nobel Prize to be their career peak. Broadly speaking, I would personally regard any beneficial and crucial invention for humankind as a career peak.
Previous interviews of the "10 questions to a scientist" series are below:
I decided to carry on with the family tradition of pursuing science. Karen Trchunyan
Nothing brings as much joy to a person as the feeling of the reward of a scientific result. Ani Paloyan
The story of Anoxybacillus karvacharensis found in the geothermal spring of Artsakh as a source of inspiration. Diana Ghevondyan
In an American lab 20 years ago I felt like in a Hollywood movie. Anna Poladyan
Science excelled all jobs because it is perspective: Sargis Aghayan
The easiest way to change the world is to do science: Sona Hunanyan