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My name is Olena Myronycheva, I grew up in the southeast of Ukraine in the city Melitopol. I started out working in Ukraine in field of the primary processing of agricultural products. This work led to my working with fungal growth technology starting in 2001. I established a laboratory in Ukraine and became involved in many national and international projects relating to basidiomycete’s efficiency and degradation of agricultural waste via solid-state fermentation. I am fascinated by fungi as a research object. I graduated with an engineering degree at Tavria State Agrotechnological University, Melitopol and then completed my first PhD in Agricultural Science there in 2003.
This led to my being awarded the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, and I spent that time carrying out research relating to agricultural biotechnology at UC Davis and Cornell University during 2011-2012. The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program enhances leadership among international professionals who collaborate to address local and global challenges and foster change for our collective good. Through academic study and professional development with U.S. counterparts, this growing global network shares best practices and builds expertise in fields of critical importance to advancing societal needs.
It was during that time that I decided to pursue a PhD in the Division of Wood Science and Engineering at the Lulea University of Technology campus in Skellefteå in order to develop further my fundamental knowledge of wood.
During my PhD education, I have learned many techniques for the assessment of biobased systems, including multivariate data analyses and analytical methods for non-destructive testing based on infrared and near-infrared spectroscopy. In addition, I became practised in wet chemistry methodology and as well as gas and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. I have had opportunities to visit leading European companies and institutions for wood products development and took advantage of a unique opportunity to participate in a summer school program on “The forests sector contribution to sustainably built environment in Alpine Europe” organised by Innorenew CoE in 2017.
I completed my PhD education with my thesis defence on December 17, 2021. My thesis was the “Effectiveness and Evaluation of Wood Protection against Biological Deterioration Caused by Filamentous Fungi”. During my studies, I focused on different generations of wood preservation techniques, and wood extractives. In addition, I tested near-infrared technology for filamentous fungi assessment. I worked with conifers mostly but had experience with some exotic African hardwoods’ chemical properties. Through my research, I would like to develop of holistic understanding of biodegradation and biodeterioration processes of biobased material. Here the understanding of prerequisites promoting fungal growth can help develop sustainable and targeted wood protection and preservation methods.
During the intervening years, I have carried out outdoor weathering tests on the performance of a variety of wood surface treatments in Northern Sweden, which included assessment and study of primary fungal colonisation and decay development during outdoor exposures.
I had an experience to analysed historical wood exposed for over 500 years and evaluated the degree of degradation. I found that the microenvironment of the buildings is quite an essential factor to consider, and it corresponds with previous findings that have been published in Europe. Here at LTU, we have industrial computer tomography (CT scanning) observation for internal biodegradation and density evaluation. My future research interests include the applicability of the CT scanning for the assessment of decay by various types of decay fungi.
In addition to my professional work, I have a happy family life and some social activities. I am a loved wife and a mother of two children. I am a member of the local non-profit organisation 4H where we take care of animals and fundraise to feed them. It gave me an excellent introduction to the local community and traditions that I appreciate in Sweden. Also, I enjoy cooking and like to eat tasty food together with friends and family.
This bio was written for the December 2021 IRG newsletter.