Dr Ivalina Trendafilova is one of four nominees in the second competition for the NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’, organised by NEF ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’.
The young lady, with an outstanding career in science, was close to winning the title of Prize Bearer two years ago.
Her achievements are truly impressive. In her cover letter, she listed her major attainments:
‘In 2018, I won a one-month internship at the National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia, where I began developing an alternative application for the materials I obtained, namely as catalysts for decomposing hazardous pollutants in waste water and volatile organic compounds resulting from industrial processes.
‘After defending my doctoral degree at the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry (IOCCP) at BAS, I applied and was approved for a postdoctoral internship at the same institute in Slovenia from 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2020.
‘At the beginning of 2020, after succeeding in a competition, I was appointed to the position of Chief Assistant in the laboratory studying Organic Reactions of Microporous Materials at IOCCP at BAS.
‘At the end of that year, I won a 36-month postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Namur, Belgium, under the BEWARE Programme co-financed by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, where I continue to expand my knowledge of the synthesis and application of innovative porous silicate materials in the fields of pharmacy and green technologies.’
Ivalina answered questions for the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund website:
Could you tell us in plain English what exactly you are currently working on in your research activities and what its practical application will be?
I am working on an extremely interesting project on the synthesis of new adsorbents for the purification and separation of proteins. Current industrial practices are complex, time-consuming and represent a large part of the cost of protein production (about 80% of the cost of the final product is due to complex methods of purifying and obtaining the desired product). Finding new and more efficient materials for the separation of proteins is the way to more easily accessible food supplements, medicinal drugs, and vaccines, as well as an opportunity to develop innovative applications for proteins in pharmacy.
Continuing your education at the University of Namur, Belgium, under the BEWARE programme, co-financed by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, how do you survive in such a competitive environment?
I had the good fortune to become one of an extremely responsive and pleasant team here in Namur, but I also remain in close contact with my colleagues from the IOCCP at BAS, who are always ready to help me when needed. Everything else is a lot of work, keenness, and dedication to science.
What motivated you to apply for a second time for the National Prize in support of young talent in contemporary arts and science?
When I was previously nominated for the NEF ‘13th century Bulgaria’ Prize, I had the pleasure of meeting great people, professionals, and talents. I consider the Fund’s initiative a wonderful way to promote the success of young people in science and the arts. Also, from my own experience, I can say that the nomination for such a prestigious award is an incentive for a young person to continue along her chosen path, although it is at times a rocky road.
You can view dr Ivalina Tredafilova’s video address HERE: