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Researchers up close

Maksims Čistjakovs, researcher at the RSU Institute of Microbiology and Virology, already started to think of himself as a researcher in Grade 11 at secondary school. Back then, a young biology teacher started working at his school; and he roused interest with his passion and knowledge and, as it turned out later, laid the foundations for his career. The young researcher was inspired by molecular biology in particular, because it helps in the study of various molecular mechanisms in the human body and even look for new medicines and test them.


Maksims recounts that initially his mother was not happy about his choice, because she wanted his future occupation to be better paid; therefore, she called her son to study law or economics. However, Maksims could not be swayed and even warned her that if he is not given permission to study biology he will apply for studies to become an actor. This convinced his mother not to oppose her son's choice to become a researcher.

In the second year of studies at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia, Maksims found out about the opportunity to work at the RSU Institute of Microbiology and Virology. After graduation from the university, Maksims stayed to work at the institute as a researcher and considers this choice a success in his life and a great opportunity.

Why am I involved in research?

Curiosity and passion are my driving forces, which encourage me to dedicate my life to science. Similar to any other work, you have to like research, one has to fall in love with it to achieve the desired result. When I am dealing with specific research tasks, I lose a sense of time.

Currently, I am researching in two directions. Since my first course paper, which I wrote at the RSU Institute of Microbiology and Virology, I have been studying herpes viruses, currently – herpes virus 6 (HHV-6). This topic is very extensive and topical, because currently there is no definitive answer regarding the role of HHV-6 in the development of various diseases. Our institute is the only institute in Latvia and in our region, where herpes viruses are studied.

The other research direction is human papillomavirus, I have been studying it for over five years. I am very interested in viruses, their impact and mechanisms of interaction with the human body. Much in this field has not been discovered yet; therefore, researchers can make a huge contribution not only to the development of science, but also a practical strengthening of public health and an improvement of medical treatment methods.

I am also motivated by my team at the institute, because research is teamwork. One researcher can have an idea, but its assessment and further research is the achievement of a number of people.

Why will I attend the conference?

The conference and preparation for it inspires and motivates. Individually, one can read various scientific articles, whereas the conference gives new contacts, ideas and knowledge. It is a chance to become acquainted with other researchers, find out about their work, collectively assess various ideas and maybe develop them into a research project after the conference.

Why should others attend the conference?

The conference will be a unique place for researchers to meet, share their scientific work and new ideas, where each participant will be able to gather the required knowledge and skills and evaluate new ideas together with colleagues.  It is also a great opportunity to present oneself as a researcher and to present one’s own research results to others.