Successful START

News, 08 December 2022

In 2022, the JINR Student Programme began its work under the new name START (short for STudent Advanced Research Training). On 25 November, another Session of the Programme attended by 47 students from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Egypt, India, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan came to its end. 57 JINR specialists supervised students’ work on the projects.

The Programme gives JINR staff members an opportunity to find young specialists who are later on invited to take part-time internships at the Institute. 6-8 weeks that students spend in Dubna is enough for young people to understand how the work in the departments of the Institute is organised and how the main equipment operates, as well as to complete an advanced-level research project. The event programme offers traditional excursions to the exhibition “JINR basic facilities” and the laboratories of the Institute.

Here are several successful START stories of the Programme participants told by their project supervisors.

Yuri Severyukhin, researcher, Radiation Physiology Sector, LRB: A student of the Baku branch of Moscow State University Zahra Alieva was trained in our sector as part of the START programme. This year we decided to try a more comprehensive approach to work: instead of focusing on one particular task, the student mastered the entire range of methods and participated in each stage of the experiment.

As an introduction preceding her employment at JINR, Zahra got acquainted with the literature and methods of biostatistics. She started her work in Dubna with learning how to take care of laboratory animals, and studying of the anatomy and physiology of rats. As step number two, Zahra mastered important practical skills, such as injections, autopsy, selection and classification of organs, blood sampling, and hematological analysis. Next, the student tried on the role of an ethologist, a specialist in the study of animal behaviour, by conducting an experiment on the study of anxiety, motor activity and exploratory behavior of rats, using a video tracking analysis program. Afterwards she learnt how to work with a microtome and make sections of tissues and organs, which is the most important skill for a histologist. During the final days of her training, Zahra was actively involved in a time-consuming histochemical staining procedure for a pilot experiment on the investigation of the combined effects of cytotoxic drugs and proton radiation. We are now planning to write an article based on the work results that we have received.

Mikhail Zhabitsky, senior researcher, Scientific and Experimental Department of Colliding Beams, DLNP: A Master’s student from St. Petersburg State University Semyon Yurchenko was trained at our department. We were happy to find out that Semyon had an excellent understanding of physics and could confidently apply the tools used for data processing in particle physics. In a short time, he managed to implement a genetic algorithm to optimize the restoring of the momentum of a proton-proton collision in compliance with the measurements of the time-of-flight detector. Previously, the task had been solved by exhaustive search, the solution took up to several seconds, which led to significant computational time needed for processing the expected flow of experimental data. Semyon developed an algorithm that made it possible to reliably estimate the collision time, while reducing the computation time by several orders of magnitude. He has already reported his results at an international conference and is now writing an article. As a result of the training, Semyon joined the collaboration and will continue to work on the preparation of the SPD experimental programme.

Vladimir Zhaketov, researcher, Neutron Optics Sector, FLNP: We started our cooperation with Zaki Ebrahim, a PhD student at the University of Beni Suef from Egypt, back in March 2022. It is worth noting that he has quite a lot of experience in the research field close to mine. Ebrahim works with layered structures for photonics, develops signal amplification systems to study various objects. During his START programme training, we had an idea to apply his experience in photonics in the development of systems for neutron research, in particular, for the study of heterostructures with superconducting and ferromagnetic properties. In a short period of time, Ebrahim summarised all ideas and calculations in one article that we are currently finalising and preparing for publication.