The cooperation between the two institutions dates back to 2016, as a result of which several Kazakh students have had the opportunity to study at the University of Debrecen for a longer or shorter period of time, and Gábor Sramkó, assistant professor at the Department of Plant Sciences of the Institute of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science and Technology, and head of the Evolutionary Genomics research group, has had the ooportunity to share his knowledge with Kazakhs as a guest lecturer.
Most recently, Karime Abidkulova, an assistant professor at the Department of Biodiversity and Biological Resources at al-Farabi Kazak National University, spent a semester in Debrecen, this time as a PhD student in the laboratory through the Erasmus+ programme. She prepared DNA extraction and quality control of tissue samples of rare plants collected in Kazakhstan, which she brought with her, to understand their genetic structure and to obtain population genetics data for conservation purposes.
This was not the first time Karime has visited the University of Debrecen, and in January 2022, as the leader of a group of Kazakh biology students, she had the opportunity to see how work is done under the trees of the Great Forest. And we can be sure that this will not be the last time she will expand her knowledge in Debrecen: she will return in April to continue her research.
The PhD student at the National University of Al-Farabi Kazak told hirek.unideb.hu that the molecular genetics work experience she gained in the lab of UD was very important for her.
- I had a great time, I managed to do what I had planned to. I enjoyed the lectures at the university. Unlike in Almaty, the relationship between students and lecturers is more indirect at UD and scientific issues are explained in a simpler way. It is a particular pleasure that everyone speaks excellent English, and I have been able to improve in this area too. The molecular genetics work experience I have gained in the university laboratory is crucial. I was able to work with instruments, chemicals and methods that are related to my field of expertise. I am a PhD student, in addition to being a lecturer, so when I go back I will be able to use the knowledge I have gained here in my lectures very well," Karime Abidkulova stressed.
She added that it was also a wonderful thing to have the Botanical Garden close by, and emphasised how useful it was to have field trips, which is a must for a biologist, and to learn about the natural treasures of Hungary, including the Zemplén Hills and the Nógrád Basalt Region.
Gábor Sramkó, Assistant Professor at the Department of Botany, Institute of Biology and Ecology, DE TTK, told us how the joint history between the universities started in 2016.
- I received an email some time ago from al-Farabi saying that they liked my work and asking whether it would be possible to send students to us. Since then, we have had several PhD students visit us and I have been out there, most recently last spring under Erasmus+. Now, Professor Zoltán Barta, Director of the Institute of Biology and Ecology, has been invited to a conference to mark the 90th anniversary of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biology at Al Farabi University, and I will be accompanying him. Thanks to this partnership, I have built up very good contacts and have been on several field expeditions to Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries. Now I am preparing another Lendület application, focusing on the comparison of Hungarian and Kazakh plants, and as a result of the cooperation I can count on their help. Although this cooperation has not yet received an official framework, we can still benefit from it," said Gábor Sramkó, and stressed that these contacts are very important from a professional point of view, as that region is the cradle of our ecosystem.
The example of al-Farabi Kazak National University also shows how popular the courses of the Faculty of Science and Technology in Debrecen are internationally, with 800 of the 2,800 students of the faculty currently being from foreign countries.
Press Centre - KSZD