Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Ivan Tourtourikov

Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Ivan Tourtourikov
2 months ago

Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Ivan Tourtourikov

Congratulations to Ivan Tourtourikov of the Medical University Sofia, Bulgaria! Ivan is the latest winner of our Early Career Scientist Grant and receives $500 of funding to support his career development!

Each month we’re proud to award one lucky life science PhD or postdoc with a grant that can be used to cover travel expenses to a conference, publishing fees, lab supplies, or anything else that will help to advance the research of an early career life scientist.

Ivan is a PhD student working in Professor Albena Todorova’s lab, and will use the grant to help fund his trip to attend the European Human Genetics Conference in Berlin, Germany, in June 2024. Ivan was also named as a Highly Commended nominee in the Hello Bio Lab Heroes Awards 2023 - read his nomination here!

We asked Ivan how he felt about receiving the Early Career Scientist Grant, and he told us:

The award really motivated, as it will allow me to attend the 2024 European Human Genetics Conference in Berlin, Germany. This yearly conference is always a moment of inspiration for me, as I get to meet and talk to some of the leading experts in the fields of human genetics. Ivan Tourtourikov, Medical University Sofia, Bulgaria, Hello Bio Early Career Scientist Grant winner


Congratulations Ivan! First, can you tell us a bit more about your current research work?

Right now, I am focused on two things – my PhD, for which I am investigating genetic modifiers of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, specifically for age of onset and survival times. The second topic is variant interpretation in exome and genome sequencing as part of genetic testing for rare disorders.


What excites you most about your field of research?

That it is constantly evolving! I’m always amazed by the amount of data that has been made available to researchers in recent years, not to mention the number of tools to analyse and interpret all that information. 


Which scientists working today do you most admire, and why?

I would say John Jumper and his team’s work on AlphaFold and AlphaMissense. As I know little on how deep learning and AI algorithms work, to be able to create a model that can predict protein structures seems like nothing short of magic to me.


What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing life scientists and their work?

Probably the “publish or perish” attitude that is persistent in academia, combined with higher and higher article processing charges required by high-end journals. 


And finally… what’s your favourite science quote?

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” – Carl Sagan.


Thank you so much Ivan! We wish you all the very best with your PhD and we hope you have a fantastic time at the conference in Berlin!

Connect with Ivan:


Why not apply for our next monthly grant?

Application is quick and easy, just fill out the form here:


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