Svitlana Demyanets

Dr Svitlana Demyanets met Dr Huk – ‘a very famous person at the Medical University of Vienna’ – through their shared association with Professor Johann Wojta, who Demyanets had worked with on ‘an exciting research project’ in Vienna. Born in Ukraine, Svitlana Demyanets comes from a family of medical doctors, and she says, “Already as a child I was sure that I would like to study medicine and after finishing the school, I started at the Medical University of Kharkiw in Ukraine, which I graduated from with a diploma with excellence.”

Dr Demyanets was keen to continue her professional career in Vienna, and so asked people she had met to advise her of a possible supervisor, upon which she was recommended to ask Prof. Wojta from the Department of Cariology at the Medical University of Vienna. In Vienna, she made her medical license exam, PhD, post-doctoral position and habilitation. Working with Prof. Wojta, Dr Demyanets also met his colleague Dr Huk, who at the time was looking for scientific collaboration in the field of atherosclerosis research. She explains,

“Because of the enthusiasm of Dr Huk, we started the translational project and established a large biobank on carotid endarterectomy samples from patients with carotid artery stenosis. It was exciting to get to know someone so erudite and enthusiastic, who possesses a huge knowledge not only in the medical field, but also in science, culture and politics.”

Dr Demyanets credits Dr Huk with introducing her to ‘many interesting people from Ukraine in Vienna, especially people at the Medical University of Vienna’ and has continually found his positive influence beneficial in terms of ‘career questions and very wise recommendations’.

Since 2013, Dr Demyanets has taken the ambitious step of switching her medical career focus from cardiology, vascular biology and thrombosis research to haemato-oncological diagnostics, which has primarily taken her from laboratory work to the clinic. She explains, “It is not always easy to combine two fields of medicine, but it makes my work life more exciting because I learned a lot from both sides.” This ongoing passion for learning certainly reflects the spirit of Dr Huk, so it is no surprise that he continues to be an inspiration figure for Dr Svitlana Demyanets.

She concludes, “Dr Huk has had a huge influence on my career and my life in general. Our scientific collaboration was very fruitful for both of us; we published 17 articles in high-ranking scientific journals between 2011 and 2021. I plan to continue to work in the interests of patients in the field of diagnostics, including blood biomarkers for the prediction of disease progression and outcome.

I would also like to wish all young colleagues, especially women, to not lose motivation; it is not easy to combine all aspects of life and to keep a so-called ‘work/life balance’, but it is exciting. And having the luck to meet someone as unique as Dr Huk has been a major impact on my life and many of the people that surround him.”