Polina Zalizko is a recipient of the “Mikrotīkls” scholarship which is administered by the University of Latvia (UL) Foundation. She is also a doctoral student at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Latvia – she successfully defended her doctoral thesis “The determination of thiopurine metabolism by using immunological and molecular biology methods and evaluation of metabolic status in patients with inflammatory bowel disease” in spring of 2022. 

The goal of this thesis was to research the state of metabolism in patients who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by studying individual changes in thiopurine metabolism, using immunological and molecular biology methods. The results showed that homozygous wild-type thiopurine methyltransferase TPMT*1/*1 was the most common genotype in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and TPMT*3A was the most common polymorphism. This data confirms that it is recommended for patients who have IBD to undergo TPMT genotyping and phenotyping to predict thiopurine-induced side effects which are caused from drugs these patients take and to initiate personalized therapy. Patients with IBD and a high disease activity were found to be at significantly increased risk of malnutrition, and patients with Crohn’s disease showed a decrease in muscle mass which can be used as an expected indicator of disease activity. 

“This thesis was realized thanks to the UL Foundation and the granted scholarship! I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the “Micro Network” scholarship which gave me the opportunity to successfully finish my doctoral thesis, speak in conferences and many congresses across multiple countries, as well as be published in international peer-reviewed journals. Thank you for the support! I wish all undergraduates and doctoral students alike to always strive for the highest goals and to always believe in themselves!” wishes Polina. 

“There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and atomic energy: will.” (Albert Einstein) 


About UL Foundation  

Since 2004, the University of Latvia Foundation provides an opportunity for patrons and coop partners to support not only the University of Latvia but also other leading Latvian universities, thus investing in the future of Latvia. UL Foundation prioritizes supporting the most outstanding students and researchers, promoting the creation of a modern learning environment, as well as the construction of new and renovations of older university buildings.  

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