International Young Researcher Awards Ceremony at CoEHAR, University of Catania, Italy

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At the culmination of the Replica 2.0 International Meeting on March 29th 2024, the Replica International Research Program for Young Talents 2023 (RIRPYT 2023) celebrated its finalists in Catania, Italy. 

Supported by the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) of the University of Catania, the RIRPYT  initiative, launched in 2021 and implemented in 2023, is dedicated to fostering young researchers from universities in underserved countries. It offers financial support for independent research projects in harm reduction, with a focus on scientific excellence and potential health effects. Candidates select their research topics, which are rigorously evaluated for their scientific merit and societal impact by a scientific committee. The program highlights commitment to societal betterment and supports ethical scientific endeavors.

Dr. Nikolina Kastratovic of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Kragujevac (Serbia), was honored with the award for her outstanding project on the immunomodulatory effects of combustible and electronic cigarettes on human cells.

The award was presented by a scientific committee comprising CoEHAR members Prof. Massimo Caruso and Prof. Giovanni Li Volti, as well as Prof. Ang Sun from Temple University (USA). This committee reviewed and selected the most promising submissions for recognition.

The award ceremony was hosted at the CoEHAR headquarters at the University of Catania, marking the end of a week filled with discussions on enhancing research about reproducibility and methodological harmonization. The gathering also highlighted the critical role of principal investigators in guiding young scientists through the research process, underscoring the importance of professional ethics and solid principles.

Dr. Xylia Annisa Abelia from the University of Padjadjaran (Indonesia), received special acknowledgment for her outstanding work during a student exchange program at CoEHAR laboratories. There, she conducted part of her PhD research, focusing on a comparative analysis of the effects of heated tobacco products and combustible cigarettes on DNA methylation patterns in the p16 promoter.

This event underscored the importance of nurturing young talents and fostering a collaborative international research environment dedicated to addressing public health challenges.

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