Chemists from St Petersburg University win the President of the Russian Federation Prize for young scientists
Andrei Shishov and Irina Timofeeva, Associate Professors of St Petersburg University, have won the annual Presidential Prize in Science and Innovation for Young Scientists for 2022. The prize winners were announced on the eve of the Day of Russian Science, the 299th birthday of St Petersburg University and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Nowadays, global industry and agriculture actively use pesticides, plasticisers, antibiotics and other organic and inorganic substances that, despite their useful properties, can cause significant harm to the environment and human health. For example, pesticides and antibiotics used in agriculture can get into the water, land and food being grown and then into the human body. This can lead to the emergence of dangerous bacteria and the development of antibiotic resistance.
Although a wide range of efficient analytical methods and tools has been developed to control pollutants, the chemical analysis process itself is time-consuming. Moreover, it requires a high consumption of often toxic solvents and reagents. It also generates large amounts of waste.
Young scientists at St Petersburg University are developing new ways of chemical analysis of food, natural, man-made and biological objects that will make the work faster and less harmful to the environment. According to Irina Balova, Director of the Institute of Chemistry at St Petersburg University, in nearly ten years of joint research, the University’s associate professors have managed to create more than 60 ways of chemical analysis of samples − from foodstuffs to building materials and oil − which are already in use nowadays.
Andrei Shishov holds a patent on creating a reagent for the quantitative spectrophotometric determination of ferrocene in petrol. The developed reagent makes it possible to significantly reduce harmful emissions and increase the life of a car’s engine.
I am sure that we are doing a really important thing, because the more accurate the chemical analysis of certain substances today, the more effective and safer the modern developments are. And, of course, reducing environmental damage is of particular importance. I am pleased that our scientific activities make it possible to achieve such results.
Presidential prize winner Andrei Shishov, Associate Professor in the Department of Analytical Chemistry at St Petersburg University
According to Irina Timofeeva, Associate Professor in the Department of Analytical Chemistry at St Petersburg University, being a prize-winner of the Russian Presidential Prize for young scientists is not only an award, but also a motivation for further research.
‘Of course, this award is a sign of recognition for our research and the significance of our results for science. It is particularly valuable when fundamental in-depth research leads to improvements in real-world production processes. For example, the methods we have developed are used at enterprises to control the quality of concrete mixes. This helps build safe housing,’ said Irina Timofeeva, a Presidential prize winner, Associate Professor in the Department of Analytical Chemistry at St Petersburg University.
The work of the young scientists also includes numerous grants from: the President of the Russian Federation; the Russian Science Foundation; the Russian Foundation for Basic Research; the Government of St Petersburg; St Petersburg University; and the Australian government. The grants have financed studies to develop various methods and techniques for chemical analytical control of: pharmaceutical substances; food products, including baby food; building materials; oil products; and bioassays for personalised medicine. Additionally, the scientists are also focusing on developing the most effective sample preparation methods for the relevant studies.