Dr. Marta Gerasymchuk, MD (PhD '22) spent many late nights studying in the University Library for her PhD in biomolecular science, often sleeping on a yoga mat between study sessions. Marta’s dedication also extended to her well-being, finding time in her busy schedule to work out at the University's gym.

Marta's dedication to her studies is nothing new. Prior to starting at ULethbridge, Marta earned her PhD and MD in Pathological Physiology from the Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, where she also worked as an associate professor. However, Marta believes that it is important to make time for friends, and above all else have fun.

I would like to tell those who are beginning their journey that there are many opportunities out there, and if you work hard you will be able to accomplish many amazing things. While you will be busy with your studies, do not forget about your family and friends, and most importantly have fun!

Serving as a medical doctor in Ukraine before her time at ULethbridge allowed her to develop an interest in treatment for cancer, aging and endocrinology. Working in the field of medical research has shown Marta just how ever-evolving medical research is. From travelling to conferences and meeting a plethora of talented researchers in Alberta, Marta took full advantage of her university experience.

What was your research based on?

My research was based on developing an efficient cellular skin aging model and identifying effective anti-aging compounds. Anti-aging compounds are a cornerstone of modern longevity, aging and skin health research. In the light of the increased popularity of cannabis compounds and their appearance in multiple beauty products without rigorous research data on their rejuvenation efficacy, it was decided to investigate the potential role of THC and CBD in skin rejuvenation.

What unique opportunities did you get by taking part in this research?

By taking part in this research I was given many opportunities that I would never have had otherwise. I was able to travel to conferences in many different parts of Alberta and meet many talented and influential people.

What are your biggest takeaways from being involved in this research?

My biggest takeaway from this research is that medical research is an ever-changing and dynamic field, with many obstacles at every turn. I am very excited to be a part of the future of medical research and will work everyday in an attempt to improve the lives and the health of each and every person.

While working in the medical field has many obstacles, that does not deter Marta. She was able to fully dedicate herself to her studies by receiving many awards during her time at ULethbridge. These awards enabled her the financial stability and freedom to not worry about bills.

Completing a PhD is an enormous undertaking, requiring serious determination and time management skills. Balancing studying, working, volunteering, exercising and fun can be difficult enough, but Marta did so while also getting accustomed to a new country. Moving from Ukraine was a large transition, but Canada quickly became a second home. Marta credits "the people from the GSA, my lab mates, professors, and the friends I’ve made over the last few years" for helping make the transition easier.

Marta will continue her research on aging and Cannabis as a post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Igor Kovalchuk's lab and plans to expand her research to include clinical trials. Please join us in celebrating Marta's achievements and wishing her the best in her future endeavours!

Congratulations, Marta!

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