University Structure

Infochemistry Scientific Center

Ekaterina Skorb
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Booklet for prospective Master’s students

The establishment of the Infochemistry Scientific Center at ITMO University was prompted by the development of interdisciplinary fields, which made it possible to look at one of the university’s main research areas – information technologies – on the molecular level and through the lens of chemical systems. 

Infochemistry is one of today’s most promising research fields, and working in this direction will allow ITMO University to become a scientific standard-bearer. This field brings together not only chemists but also biotechnologists, information scientists, biologists, physicists and other specialists; the development of the research area is impossible without an interdisciplinary approach. The Infochemistry Scientific Center is part of the School of Biotechnology and Cryogenic Systems, and also actively collaborates with the School of Computer Technologies and Control, the Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations, and the Institute of International Development and Partnership

The Center includes seven research groups headed by leading researchers and world-class scientists. 

From 2013, the director of the Infochemistry Scientific Center and head of one of the research groups Ekaterina Skorb led a research group at Max Planck Institute (Potsdam, Germany). In 2016–2017, she was a visiting professor in the group of George Whitesides, one of today’s most cited chemists, at Harvard University. In September 2017, Ekaterina Skorb moved to Russia to join ITMO University as a professor and founded the Infochemistry research group, which was then transformed into the Infochemistry Scientific Center. 

The Center’s scientific consultant is Jean-Marie Lehn, a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  

Main areas of the Center’s research activities include: 

  • Creation of an artificial chemical cell; 

  • Chemical computing;

  • Statistical processing of large arrays of data and multisensor systems;

  • New materials for regenerative medicine;

  • Nanostructuring of metals;

  • Quantum-chemical calculations of complex systems;

  • Functional nutrition, personalized tracking;

  • A new integrative field of life sciences – bioelementology, as well as its subfield of medical elementology;

  • Digital transformation in chemical and biological technology;

  • Alternative approaches to storing information.

The unit’s staff, students and young researchers have free access to its hi-tech pool of equipment, which allows them to work on their own projects and gives them an opportunity to be published in eminent international research journals such as Nature, Science and others. The Center actively cooperates with industrial partners from different fields. Such an approach enables the creation of startups and opens up opportunities for launching the developed products on Russian and international markets. 

The Center’s industrial partners network includes: EFKO Innovations LLC – Russia’s third largest agroholding; confectionery plant Aztec – manufacturer of high-grade confectionery from in-house marzipan and chocolate; Losevo company group; Bioelement LLC – personalized diagnostics of people and enterprises; BioRhythm LLC – development and implementation of personalized nutrition; St. Petersburg branch of Norilsky meat processing plant – specialized and functional nutrition; and others.

Organization of popular science lectures and events

The Center’s staff actively participate in projects on the development of science and technologies as researchers, consultants, and lecturers. The work is conducted in different directions, including in collaboration with industrial partners, educational organizations, government agencies. As part of this area of activities, the Center hosts forums, conferences, meetings, internships, workshops, etc. 

Educational activity

The Center contributes to the development of the most topical research fields and implements educational programs for Bachelor’s and Master’s students. The education process at the Infochemistry Scientific Center is closely tied to conducting research projects as part of the “education through science” approach. The training is carried out in a completely new specialization which has no analogues in Russia. Worldwide, a similar approach is only applied at Harvard University. The Master’s program in Infochemistry is implemented in English and involves top international experts in the field. Students have a unique opportunity to perfect their command of English, studying alongside native speakers and communicating with lecturers from all over the world. The program aims to train highly qualified specialists who have an interdisciplinary understanding of complex systems in chemistry and biology, their experimental research, modeling and forecasting and are capable of solving tasks in the field of personalized medicine and nutrition on a new level of mining and analyzing big data, researching model systems, understanding analogies and synergetics. Moreover, special attention is paid to the all-round development of students. The curriculum includes biology, mathematics, information science, physics, and even art, as well as foreign languages taught by specialized lecturers and internships at the world’s leading research centers. In addition, the Center’s students have the opportunity to do internships in top universities in Russia and all over the world and at industrial companies with a potential for further employment. 

Partner universities

  • St. Petersburg State University

  • Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

  • North-Western State Medical University named after I.I.Mechnikov

  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

  • I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University)

  • Bauman Moscow State Technical University

  • Lomonosov Moscow State University

  • Harvard University, the USA

  • National University of Singapore, Singapore

  • University of Liverpool, the UK

  • Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany

  • Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

  • Institute Chemistry Séparative De Marcoule, France

  • Technical University of Dresden, Germany

  • Ghent University, Belgium

  • University de Strasbourg, France

  • University Rovire i Virgili, Spain

 International partners

The Infochemistry Scientific Center actively cooperates with leading international research laboratories. Students have an opportunity to do internships under the guidance of Prof. George Whitesides (Harvard University, the US), Prof. Sergey N. Semenov (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), and participate in a joint project with the Department of Biomaterials at Max Planck Institute (Potsdam, Germany). Master’s and PhD students regularly visit European countries such Germany, Montenegro, Belgium, Spain and others under the Erasmus+ program, which fully covers the travel and living costs and provides the opportunity to work in cutting-edge international research laboratories. Students also have an opportunity to do internships at National University of Singapore under the guidance of Prof. Konstantin Novoselov (laureate of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics) and Prof. Daria Andreeva-Baeumler. Such interaction with international partners allows young scientists to learn the ropes of working in high-level research laboratories all over the world, and also to participate in interdisciplinary international projects. 


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