Urgent Medical Supplies to Kharkov in Ukraine

June 24,2022

 In response to requests direct from our long-term partners in Kharkov and others in the Ukraine, IMET is supporting several projects as a matter of great urgency. Only this week, 4  CPAP respirators have been driven to the Institute of Surgery in Kharkov along with other medical supplies. As part of our emergency infant incubators project, we have funded essential spares for over 33 brand new incubators due in the Ukraine in the next couple of weeks and assisted in their manufacture and transport. In addition, IMET has funded a survival package (skeleton staff and essential materiel) for the Cell and Tissue bank in the Institute of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine in Kharkov thus saving precious clinical and research material ( the latter of great importance for saving endangered species animal and plant). Finally (for the moment), we have funded a whole on-line teaching package for the Kharkov University School of Medicine now that constant bombardment from land and air has rendered face-to-face teaching impossibly dangerous. We are still raising funds to support all these efforts and have dug deeply into our reserves to deal with this catastrophic emergency as quickly as possible.

IMET2000 Supports Two Urgent Projects for Wartime Ukraine

 March 12, 2022

In the past week, IMET2000 has responded rapidly to two urgent requests from our Ukrainian medical and scientific research colleagues. First of all, we were asked if we could facilitate getting 5 portable pre-term infant incubators donated by the company mOm –Incubators ltd into the Maternity Hospital in Lviv in the west of Ukraine and an overwhelmed staging post for refugees wanting to get into Poland for safety. Many extremely stressed pregnant women are fleeing from besieged cities like Kharkiv in the east and there are simply not enough incubators in Lviv to cope with the huge surge in numbers. Together with the company producing these incubators and the Ukraine Medical Association in the UK, transport right into Lviv has been organised for the coming week and IMET2000 will if asked cover the cost of transport.

The second project is even more challenging in this war zone. Barry and Colin have worked in Kharkov in the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryo-medicine (IPCC) for near 40 years since their first visit in 1983. They have joined in actively with the promising young scientists doing good research with moderate resources. The Russian forces have laid siege to Kharkov over the last two weeks and much of a lovely city has been reduced to rubble. Many of our friends and colleagues are now internally displaced or refugees overseas. All research has stopped and the large building faces not only targeted bombing but looting from marauders. Just 4 days ago the Director of the Institute Professor Alex Petrenko called us from Prague to ask if IMET2000 could possibly cover the costs of a skeleton staff of 5  to protect the premises in particular a tissue bank storage facility of preserved reproductive material from near extinct fauna and flora which may prove gold dust in the future globally. We have therefore agreed a sum of $6000 US dollars to cover these staff costs for the next 6 weeks when the situation will be re-assessed. The first tranche was transferred yesterday on Friday, March 11th.Barry and Colin have been rewarded for their involvement by being made Academicians in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine and are Chairs of the UNESCO Chair of Cryobiology in Kharkov so they feel we have a particular responsibility to protect if possible this precious resource. The photos below were taken about two years ago in happier times.


IMET2000 and UNESCO Chair Progress in Kharkov Institute

June 13, 2021

So far in 2021, the activities of IMET_Ukraine have remained largely virtual due to pandemic restrictions. These have been sustained by personal inputs to assist in academic activities such as the annual scientific meeting, co-ordination of writing reports and papers, and, on behalf of the UNESCO Chair in Cryobiology based at the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine (IPCC) in Kharkiv, responding to questions from central UNESCO about the academic strategies in this field. To date, this has not involved IMET2000 indirect financial support in 2021. Support was offered towards equipment repair for the project Health in Extreme Environments currently running for the UNESCO Chair at the Antarctic base Vernadsky but was not required in the end.

Barry and Colin were among UNESCO Chair professors present at the 2-day Spring meeting where IMET_2000 was badged as within the organizing group. Barry was part of the assessment panel assessing the young scientists outputs for the best presentations.


The following day Barry attended a virtual meeting at the Academy of Sciences in Kyiv on behalf of the UNESCO Chair where the Academy committee was assessing the competencies of various Institutes to remain degree-awarding bodies for PhD. The meeting went well and the outcomes for Kharkiv are awaited later in the summer. The Academy is itself changing and self-assessing future strategies as a new Directorate has taken over in 2021. In addition, there will be a transfer to a new Director for the IPCC this summer to a person who has worked well with the IMET_2000 activities over the past 20 years

Another 2 major review chapters on applications of low temperatures in biology and medicine are currently in press with Springer, which acknowledges the UNESCO Chair and IMET_2000.

All of these various linked activities profile IMET_2000 across a global network of academic and public bodies where the translation of low-temperature technologies are being used.

For the future, the UNESCO Chair is applying for charter status under UNESCO Global Health and Education, which will provide a wider scope for delivering training in these topics, and will require to meet standards of UNESCO good governance. The Institute in Kharkiv is exploring ways to provide a better website to deliver the online training and may apply to IMET_2000 for some support towards this, of course with appropriate IMET_2000 badging.


IMET2000 News from Ukraine for 2020

December 10, 2020

Since the IMET_Ukraine update in summer, we have continued to keep in touch with the central UNESCO Chair offices based at the Ukraine Academy of Sciences in Kharkov Ukraine by Zoom and Teams. We have facilitated young scientists (advising on Abstracts and Presentations) in attending the virtual Annual Meeting of the Society for Low Temperature Biology organised from Belgium, and without costs to IMET2000 as registrations were waived by the host SLTB committee. In the presentation sessions, 8 young scientists from UNSCO Chair were involved in oral presentations.

One young scientist has been supported by recommendation (without cost) to participate in a training course offered by the European Society for Reproductive Medicine.

The future of the UNESCO Chair as it is currently sited in the Ukraine Academy of Sciences is currently being reviewed there following the death of the long-standing President of the Ukraine Academy and the election of a new President (November past). Evidence gleaned so far is that both UNESCO and the Academy of Sciences value this particular Chair highly for its’ ability to reach out to other low resource countries where there is a need for medical education in these areas. These activities are run without central funding from UNESCO and rely on the Chair to provide support in kind, but even given these restrictions, considerable deliverables can be achieved so that the contributions from IMET2000 (where and when possible) are greatly valued. The UNESCO Chair currently has links in the Americas, South Africa, Bulgaria, Armenia and Spain networking on different educational aspects. The Chair offices provide an annual report to UNESCO central offices in Paris in which the contributions from IMET2000 are clearly set out.

This perceived global reach of the UNESCO Chair has resulted in contact from the National Science Foundation USA who are establishing a centre of excellence in the application of cryobiology between Universities of Minnesota and Boston. It is currently unclear how this will work for the UNESCO Chair itself, but it is hoped that though 2021 on onwards, NSF may be able to help UNESCO Chair deliver a free-access on-line teaching portal in these topic areas of medical education.

For 2021, the plan will be to try and maximise the new opportunities presenting themselves for the UNESCO Chair link with IMET2000. Another major review on Application of preservation strategies in cell therapies in a textbook for the European Tissue Engineering Society led by young scientists from UNESCO Chair has been under drafting since June 2020 and will be submitted in January 2021.


The 44th Young Scientists Conference in Kharkov, Ukraine, by Zoom

May 20, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Annual Young Scientists conference in Kharov was joined by several well- known cryo-biologists by Zoom and each report came from the 30 or more young scientists from their own laboratory. In total some 50 scientists participated. The majority of papers were presented in English and the two comperes were superb in chairing excellent Q&As  after each paper. The range of skills and expertise on display was astonishing with topics ranging from storage of gametes from Antarctic molluscs to plant seeds and vine grafts and preservation of many animal products for the long term. The UNESCO Chair in Cryobiology is clearly thriving there. It was a great meeting. For those interested in this scientific field, the Institute in Kharkov is the largest in the world and you are asked to link to a bit of their history.

43rd Conference Ukraine

44rd Conference Zoom



 Ukraine Young Scientists in Seville  SLTB Conference

October 9, 2019

IMET2000 supported four young scientists from the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and CryoMedicine (Ukraine National Academy of Sciences) in Kharkov recently to visit and present talks at big international scientific conferences overseas. Three from the group of the UNESCO Chair in Cryobiology in the photo with our IMET2000 Trustee Barry Fuller attended the Society for Low Temperature Biology (SLTB) meeting  in Seville, Spain; the other Dr Alexander Shilo presented his work in two papers, one on cold adaptation after chronic exposure to low temperatures and the other a survey of sleep patterns in scientists working in Antarctica at the Extreme Physiology meeting in Portsmouth, UK. The presentations were well received, and additionally the group in Seville were winners in the photograph competition for images of ‘cold in life’. All four gratefully acknowledged IMET2000 support.

ukrain oct 2019

The 43rd Annual Young Scientists Conference

May, 2019

 Together with a new and enthusiastic colleague seriously interested in supporting young scientists and doctors in the Ukraine, a world authority on cryo-electron microscopy called Professor Roland Fleck, Barry Fuller and Colin Green joined forces in Kharkov, Ukraine  from the 25th May to the 30th May. During those four working days, we actively participated in the 43rd Annual Young Scientists Conference over 3 days (27th to 29th inclusive) and were treated to a very full programme of reports on research (most delivered in English) ranging from low temperature storage of animal cells such as red blood cells to fish sperm as well as many other valuable uses of freezing in medicine, plant and agriculture seed and meristem storage and preservation of endangered species genetic material. In fact although we in IMET have worked in the Ukraine for some 36 years and been most interested in the uses of low temperature in medicine either to preserve cells, tissues and whole organs or to kill selectively unwanted cancer cells such as basal cell carcinomas, the emphasis now is more on preserving for the long term future biodiversity reproductive material  both plant and animal.

During all four days, we three visitors joined with the young scientists, the Director of the Institute in which they work Academician Anatoliy Goltsev and senior colleagues in the UNESCO Chair in Cryobiology to discuss a future strategy for the Institute of Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine NASU under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Unfortunately, many of the problems faced by the research scientists are out of date equipment and instruments, poor salaries, some far too elderly  senior staff who are remnants of the Soviet era and now only very recently a new President of the Ukraine who may not value the Academy or science and therefore leave them even more poorly resourced. On the positive side, the Institute was recently visited by an evaluation group from the Academy and was awarded an Alpha rating. The journal has been much improved. The Institute is by far the biggest centre of low temperature sciences in the world and could be a central repository and on-line facility for information of a global matrix of knowledge in this discipline. Finally we were much impressed by the enthusiasm and excellence of so many young scientists in their reports and in later Q&A and discussion groups. IMET is keen to support them with small scholarships and travel bursaries for meetings overseas providing opportunities for collaborations outside Ukraine but recognising too that this may accelerate the brain drain of the best and most adventurous. All three of us are keen to go on working in Kharkov through IMET and our Universities (UCL and Kings College in London).


Society for Low Temperature Biology Annual Meeting

September 2018

IMET2000 supported another young scientist Dr Taisiya Yurchuk from Kharkov to attend the Society for Low Temperature Biology Annual Meeting in Prague from September 6 th -8 th. We are delighted that she won the first prize for her poster presentation. Our charity has supported research and IVF service development for well over two decades in the Ukraine and cold storage and preservation of cells and tissues is an important contribution to that discipline worldwide. Taisiya wrote her appreciation afterwards:

Dear Prof,

I’ve just returned home from the conference.

It was great. Not many people as in Madrid but it makes the meeting very comfortable, like a family and calm meeting, and all participants can quietly communicate with each other.

It was unexpected that I’ve been awarded with the prize for best poster.

I will send you some foto from this meeting.

With best regards,


This is another example of how IMET2000 for very small financial outlay can encourage medical research in economically deprived countries like the Ukraine in addition to upgrading their clinical services.


Travel Bursary for Iryna Buriak

June 2017

IMET2000 has awarded Iryna Buriak of the Kharkov Institute a travel bursary to attend “The 13th International Conference on Animal Physiology 2017” to be held on June 21st-23rd,2017 in the Congress Centre ACADIMIA (Stara Lesna, Slovakia) organised by the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Animal Physiology. We hope that this will increase the co-operation between the two Institutes and the Slovak and Ukrainian National Academies of Science. The official site of the conference is”

Colin Green flew to Kharkov in the Ukraine on May 4th for a working visit until the 7th May in which time he planned together with the Dean of the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine , Academician Anatoliy Goltsev, the Head of IT Eugenia Pushkova and the lead young scientist Olga Mikhailova heading up the UNESCO Chair cathedra the many ways in which Barry Fuller and IMET2000 could support the young scientists and the research funding of the Institute.

Apart from travel bursaries for young scientists to attend overseas conferences, it was agreed that:

  • Barry and I should write a position paper ready for the Ukraine National Academy of Sciences major assessment scheduled for September 2017 about the international reputation of the Institute and the reputation of the UNESCO Chair in Cryobiology
  • The Institute would set up a website in which a record of all research papers and pioneering ideas related to low temperature biology would be posted as an on-line reference library with free access and international reach (to be run by Olga Mikhailova and the young scientists with IT support and funded by IMET2000)
  • IMET2000 would support at least three young scientists to participate in the Society of Low Temperature biology in Cambridge in August,2017
  • IMET2000 would support the visit of Academician Goltsev to the next UNESCO Chair Meeting in Geneva in September

All this can be achieved within the small IMET2000 budget ring-fenced for our Ukraine activities.

Travel Bursary for Yulia Martynova

IMET2000 continued its support for the Institute for Cryobiology in Kharkiv, Ukraine by supporting with a travel bursary the participation of PhD student Yuliia Martynova in the 10th edition of Leiden International Medical Student Conference from the 15th -19thMarch,2017. Yuliia reported on her research into the effects of cold on mammalian hearts and was particularly interested in a workshop on stem cell research given by Professor Jon van Rood. She found LIMSC was an interesting and intense conference with lectures from leading researchers and physicians, workshops and different social activities. It was an opportunity not only to share studies and discuss scientific matters but also to find new friends in the biomedical field and start building a scientific network for the future. During the 5 days conference she gained extensive experience and had the pleasure of seeing The Netherlands and Leiden University, one of the oldest universities in Europe.


Travel Bursary for Yulia Martynova

March 2017

IMET2000 continued its support for the Institute for Cryobiology in Kharkiv, Ukraine by supporting with a travel bursary the participation of PhD student Yuliia Martynova in the 10th edition of Leiden International Medical Student Conference from the 15th -19thMarch,2017. Yuliia reported on her research into the effects of cold on mammalian hearts and was particularly interested in a workshop on stem cell research given by Professor Jon van Rood. She found LIMSC was an interesting and intense conference with lectures from leading researchers and physicians, workshops and different social activities. It was an opportunity not only to share studies and discuss scientific matters but also to find new friends in the biomedical field and start building a scientific network for the future. During the 5 days conference she gained extensive experience and had the pleasure of seeing The Netherlands and Leiden University, one of the oldest universities in Europe.


Ukraine Updates for 2016


  • As Director of the main Centre for Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Kharkov, Academician Valentin Grischenko in the early 1990s was keen to set up the first in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinic and fertility research laboratory in that city. He tasked a young colleague Dr Valiri Chedayev with researching the best centres worldwide to visit and learn from and he eventually came to the UK hosted and funded by our parent organisation the Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research for a working visit of 8 weeks. In that time he visited and worked in three clinics and laboratories where IVF was being pioneered in the UK including Steptoe and Edward’s Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridge and the Royal Free Hospital and Kings College Hospital in London. We have just had a report from Kharkov that the Centre is very active and their clinical results in 2015 are exceptionally good by international standards with pregnancies successful at the first attempt in over 33% in women under 35 years of age. IMET2000 has over the last 15 years actively supported several young Ukrainian scientists to study human infertility, one in the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and others in London, with pioneering research on freezing of ova and embryos carried out successfully.
  • As a result of a four week working visit to London in 2005 by Dr Igor Polivenok and Dr Vladimir Smirnov to study the working of a modern cardiac service in the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, the first such unit in the Ukraine was established in the Kharkov Institute of Surgery headed by Professor V.V. Boyko. In spite of severe financial constraints, this has developed so successfully under the direction of Professor Boyko and Igor that last year in 2015, they were running four catheter labs and carried out over 200 ablations, 200 child cardiac operations,100 open heart and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures and 280 pacemaker implantations. IMET2000 can share in the pride in this great success story as we arranged and funded that visit to London which started it all. Starting up new ventures combining service delivery and training is our core business.

Ukraine Updates for 2015


  • Following on from the successful outcomes of IMET support to young scientists from the Institute in Kharkiv to attend the London meeting of the Society for Low Temperature Biology meeting in Autumn 2014, plans for 2015 support are ongoing. As outlined by the Chair, Colin Green and Barry Fuller visited the institute for the Annual Young Scientist conference over May 20 & 21st, held at the Institute for Problems of Cryobiology in Kharkiv. The conference was attended by some 50 pre- and post-doctoral scientists and medical trainees from the IPC, and from Kharkiv State and Medical University along with other senior staff who vote on the best presentations. In previous years some scientists from East Ukraine (Donetsk Region) and from the West (Kiev) have also attended, but given the difficult political situation, they were absent this year, although some sent unmanned posters. The meeting was organised by the young scientists group within the UNESCO Chair at IPC, which is the structure which IMET seeks to support, in consultation with the IPC senior management committee. The level of presentations was high, with one day arranged by presentations in English, and the other day with presentations in Ukrainian language but with slides in English. These skills in science communication will allow the early career professionals aspire to good publications in higher impact journals and presentations at international meetings In 2014, IMET provided 100$ to cover printing of the scientific programme for the May 2014 meeting, but at the moment, this has not been requested for 2015 meeting, probably because an electronic version was delivered, but we will keep an eye on that.
  • A next focus for IPC with IMET support will be the International Society for Cryobiology meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Given the relatively close proximity of this, a number of the UNESCO group will aim to make presentations there. Scholarships of 500 euros should cover costs of travel and meetings attendance. Award is based on active participation by oral or poster presentation. The UNESCO group organized an internal competition, based on assessment of the abstracts to be submitted to Ostrava, from some 12 applicants. Using this ranking, and discussions with the UNESCO group management, a group of 6 with (a) the highest scores and (b) an account of previous IMET support (such as SLTB London) was selected and announced at the end of the meeting. The names have been communicated to the committee in Ostrava so that written invitations – essential for Visa to travel – can be obtained in Kharkiv. We will review the situation as things move forward to establish how many will eventually meet the criteria and obtain visas. As before, awardees will be asked to complete a grant report on their activities which will be lodged with IMET central office.
  • A visit was also made to the library facilities to see the computers, sponsored by IMET, being used for academic purposes in the library. Two terminals have been provided and are booked by the young scientists to access on line journals and reports. We discussed with the Institute Director about the link to HINARI, which costs 1500 euros per year and has currently lapsed due to lack of funds. Since the link supports the whole UNESCO group (some 30 scientists at IPC plus others from the Universities) it was decided to cover this cost by IMET, once a clear mechanism for payment can be identified.
  • In summary, significant strides have been made by the UNESCO group, both in individual scientific professionalism and in their ability to organise themselves into a structure capable of managing things such as ranking travel applications and peer reviewing their group’s activities. This has been largely due to IMET support over several years. It is worth noting that others of the (now) more experienced young scientists within UNESCO applied directly to the Society for Cryobiology for the Society’s own travel grants, and some (different) 6 people have been awarded these, which is a mark of the increase in general standards at IPC.

IMET2000 Programme in Ukraine


IMET2000 was pleased to sponsor five young Ukrainian scientists and doctors to travel from Kharkiv to a three day conference to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Society of Low Temperature Biology (SLTB). This was held in Kew Gardens from October 8th-10th. The conference covered the whole spectrum of uses of cold for plant and animal preservation, storage and hibernation. It was generally agreed to be an outstanding success. The feedback from the Ukrainians who are all members of the UNESCO Chair ‘cathedra’ has been very positive indeed. In total 13 Ukrainians attended the conference and enjoyed not onlyt the science but too the Kew environment and their brief time in London. More information on the UNESCO Chair in Kharkiv ( eng/unesco.html) and on SLTB ( is available on their websites.


Ukraine News Archives

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