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Engineering science for healthcare

Zaruhi Karabekyan, 57, a first-time grantee of FAR’s Yervant Terzian Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF), is an inaugural scientist and team lead behind an ingenious advancement: a novel skin substitute derived from pig intestines which could be used specifically for the treatment of human wounds.

The genesis of this project traces back to the 2020 Artsakh war. Faced with the challenges of treating soldiers' wounds, Zaruhi and her team of six accomplished scholars from the Institute of Physiology of Armenia, recognized the pressing need for an alternative. Zaruhi explained: “In Armenia, we find ourselves in a bit of a pickle – artificial skin models are a rarity, while importing them is no joke. When the Artsakh war hit, it was like a wake-up call for me: Why not take the bull by the horns and give this a shot?”

Bolstered by the ANSEF grant secured earlier in the year, Zaruhi’s team is now immersed in a pioneering exploration centered around pig intestines. Their ultimate objective is to craft an economically viable, locally sourced alternative that rivals its pricier imported counterparts.

"Our journey is propelled by the conviction that innovative thinking has the power to reshape the healing landscape. With a group of brilliant minds united by a common purpose, challenges morph into stepping stones on the path to progress,” Zaruhi concluded.


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