Jackson Lab scientist’s academic interest turns into COVID student career

BAR HARBOUR, Maine (WABI) – You don’t have to wear a white coat to work in science.

Most of the “Eurekas” at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor come from using the scientific method. But there is no blueprint for how these scientists get there.

Meet scientific software engineer Georgi Kolishovski, who turned an academic interest into a career.

Born and raised in Bulgaria, Georgi received his master’s degree from Suffolk University in Boston.

“It was my father’s desire that I go to university. And, I really liked Boston on my previous visit because of its European appeal and vibe, and also college,” said Kolishovski.

After graduating, Kolishovski continued to learn. He took online classes and eventually got a job doing what he loved at Jackson Lab.

Kolishovski works in computers, analyzing biological data like DNA and gene sequences.

He had been working for nearly four years when, due to COVID, his work was put under the microscope – in more ways than one.

“It came as a shock. The fact that we are involved in this in an emergency makes us feel important and proud of the work we are doing. Of course, it makes my father more proud,” Kolishovski said.

His Jackson Lab team is involved in tools that trace the progression of COVID strands around the world, as well as using mice to identify the role of genetics in virus severity.

Georgi knows the importance of lab work.

“Someone close to me had died of cancer. So for me, it’s also to some extent a tribute. I think everyone in life will be affected in some way by the illnesses that Jax is trying to solve,” Kolisovski said.

Kolishovski hopes his journey can inspire others.

“My path was not a typical career path in biomedical research. But if you work on it, and if you just believe in yourself, take it one step at a time, things are possible and knowledge is the most valuable thing you can do for yourself,” said Kolishovsky.

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