MDI Biological Laboratory

Accomplished Molecular Biologist Joins MDI Bio Lab Faculty

  • May 12, 2023

It’s official; Halyna Shcherbata, Ph.D., will bring her expertise – and transgenic fruit flies – to MDI

Halyna Shcherbata, Ph.D., will lead a new research group at MDI Biological Laboratory, in the Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Aging. She is already developing new facilities for Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies on campus, returning an esteemed stand-in for human physiology to the Laboratory’s roster of animal models.

A native of Ukraine, Shcherbata earned her Ph.D. at the Lviv National University of Ivan Franko in 1996. Since then, she’s held positions at the University of Washington, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, and most recently at Hannover Medical School.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Shcherbata to MDI Biological Laboratory,” says President Herman Haller, M.D. “She is doing important, original work on gene expression and degenerative disease that will complement our faculty’s parallel investigations of nature’s secrets. And we all look forward to learning from her acknowledged mastery using Drosophila as a model for human physiology.”

Shcherbata spent three weeks on campus in 2022 as a visiting scientist. She says she experienced a valuable kind of collegiality that reminded her of earlier visits to Cold Spring Harbor.

“What is unusual about the laboratory is this scholarly atmosphere; there are many amazing people who are genuinely interested in science,” she says. “I had the feeling there that this is not really work. And I love this… it kind of frees your mind. Makes it free to think.”

Shcherbata has spent much of her career teasing out the delicate and varied functions performed by microRNA (miRNA), a “non-coding” RNA that supports and fine tunes the activities of messenger RNA in gene expression.

She is being joined on campus by her longtime colleague, Travis Carney, Ph.D., who has taken a full-time Senior Scientist position at MDI Bio Lab.

You can look forward to learning more about her work and the next phase of her research at  MDI Bio Lab in the upcoming issue of Breaking Through.