Who am I?
However, if I don't collect enough money for the high overseas tuition fees, I won't be able to go to Oxford!
As far as I know, I am the only Slovak who was accepted Biomedical Sciences at Oxford this year. In demanding entrance exams, I stood against more than 530 talented people from all over the world. Apart from me, only about 40 more people received a study offer.
I spent many hours preparing for difficult entrance tests and interviews - I read articles, books, listened to podcasts... But I did all this with joy because biomedicine and the problems of health and illness as such are topics I am passionate about. The sensitivity to the detail that is characteristic of our body's internal environment never ceases to amaze me.
Learn more about me from an article published by Hospodárske noviny (in Slovak only).
* My offer is conditional because to ensure my place at Oxford, I first need to graduate from high school with sufficiently good marks.
Research interests and future plans
I have a deep interest in epigenetic* drug discovery and development. It is a relatively novel area of research that has promising implications for patients suffering from severe diseases, such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer's. At Oxford, I will get an amazing opportunity to learn about epigenetic of disease from leading authorities in the field. I firmly believe that after my studies, I will be able to work on designing epigenetic chemical probes - small molecules that could form a base of future drugs. In this way, I would be able to help suffering patients from all around the globe.
*Epigenetics examines how external factors (pollution, diet) or internal influences (stress hormones) affect the way cells interact with their DNA. A DNA molecule could be compared to a recipe book, which cells use to produce important proteins (for example hormones or enzymes). Certain chemicals can make these recipes unreadable or, conversely, they may make a cell reads them too often. When genes switch on and off in this way, it can result in illness. For example, some types of cancer may have an epigenetic basis.
I've been passionate about helping people around me since I was a child. That is why I :
- am a volunteer in Mareena- Mareena is an organization that aims to integrate foreigners into Slovak society. You can read more about my cooperation with Mareena in this recommendation.
- have repeatedly participated as a volunteer in the organization of Slovak children's camps.
- have volunteered at a one-week Christian conference in Hungary.
- planned a volunteering experience in Israel (where I could not go because of the current pandemic, but I still hope to go there later).
- participated in a fundraising event organized by the Slovak League for Mental Health.
Science-related experienceI am naturally curious, and I am eager to take on every opportunity to learn something new. For example, I:
- was an intern at The Institute of Molecular Biomedicine at Comenius University in Bratislava, where I participated in the research of plasma-activated water and attended regular lectures and meetings. Find out more about my work here.
- worked for two months in a chemical laboratory, where I performed tests of inorganic materials.
- have taken part in a variety of Olympiads and competitions. For example, in the school year 2017/2018, I placed second in the regional round of the Mathematical Olympiad. In addition, I have awards from the English, Chemical, Biological, and the Slovak Olympiads.
Besides investigating the antimicrobial effects of plasma-activated water, I gained research experience in my current school. I planned, conducted and then wrote reports about experiments, in which I investigated these topics:
- the efficiency of hot-water treatment in boosting germination of beans P. vulgaris
- the relationship between pH of environment and color of anthocyanins (pigments and antioxidants found, for example, in red cabbage)
- the relationship between the structure of xylem in angiosperms and gymnosperms and mechanical properties of their wood (read more in this recommendation)
- the relationship between the height of water in a container and the mass flow rate from an orifice in the bottom of the container
- the effect of framing of decision-problems on decision-making under risk
A balanced lifestyle is important to me. As you can see in my gallery on Google Drive, in my free time I enjoy:
- creative writing
- doing jigsaw puzzles
- reading books
My favourite books include:
- Till we have faces by C.S. Lewis
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
- Cure by Jo Marchant
- Veda z časopisu týždeň (in Slovak only) by Martin Mojžiš
- War and peace by L. N. Tolstoy
- Books about observing wildlife by my grandfather Ivan Kňaze (in Slovak only)
Science-related podcasts I recommend:
- Naked scientists - highlights of recent research
- Naked genetics - important genetic news
- Genetics unzipped - podcast made by The Genetic Society
- Nature podcast - presents the latest Nature articles
- Science Friday - discussions about new research
- Science vs. - podcast with a scientific approach to controversial topics
- Oxford sparks - Oxford academics answer intriguing questions
- Happiness lab - learn more about the science of being happy