As a young girl growing up in rural Ukraine, Dr. Olena Lar always thought of herself as a future scientist. She was particularly inspired by the books she read as a ten and eleven year old– futuristic science fiction written for adults–whose protagonists served as role models for the Greek ideal of a well-rounded citizen, versed in both science and the arts.
After receiving her Ph.D in Molecular Genetics at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics in Kiev, Dr. Lar came to the U.S. for a post-doc in Michigan and eventually settled in the Washington, D.C. area. Her company, Molecular Tools, develops new bioassays for researchers and clinical labs, with an aim to facilitate advances in human health-related research and testing. Dr. Lar is working with TEDCO on a prototype bilirubin detection and quantification kit for researchers of oxygen stress disorder, with the ultimate aim of producing a diagnostic tool for doctors that utilizes bilirubin, an end product of heme degradation, as an indicator of a traumatic brain injury bleed.
Dr. Lar came to FITCI to build her company because it was the best place for her needs, noting that the sharing knowledge community in the incubator is a particular plus. When she’s not in her lab, Dr. Lar works on fulfilling the arts side of her Greek ideal: reinforcing both the left and right brain through painting and needle arts.
Written by: Tamar Osterman, FITCI Media Chairman