site.btaProf. Pavlinka Dolashka in BTA Interview: Nature Is the Healer
"In your early years, it is very important to meet the right people to guide you. Like all children, I dreamed of being a doctor at the time. Back then, it was very difficult to develop, to grow, but I had a very good chemistry teacher. I graduated from the high school of mathematics in Lom and that teacher played a huge role. He insisted that I take a chemistry course, so I applied and started studying chemistry," Prof. DSc Pavlinka Dolashka told BTA. Prof. Dolashka has 30 years of experience in research. She is the head of a scientific team at the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and head of the water division at the Clean&Circle centre of competence.
Prof. Dolashka was registered in the Patent Office’s Golden Book at a solemn ceremony in the President’s administration building on Friday. The Golden Book, created in 1981 to mark 1300 years since the Bulgarian state’s establishment, is opened once a year to add the names of the most outstanding Bulgarian discoverers and inventors as an acknowledgement of their scientific and creative achievements.
Prof. Dolashka is a nature researcher who extracts biologically active substances from sea and garden snails, applicable in fighting bacterial infectious diseases, as well as for tissue regeneration and repair.
"I went from regular chemistry to biochemistry and, after so many years, I have realized my first dream because now I am doing both chemistry, biochemistry, and medicine," she said. Prof. Dolashka is co-author of thirteen objects of industrial property patent-protected for inventions and utility models in the field of chemistry and pharmacy. Twelve of those have been deployed in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products distributed on the Bulgarian and foreign markets.
"I would say my career development started after 1990. By then, we had the freedom to travel, the freedom to apply for different places. I went on my first missions and specializations at the University of Tubingen in Germany, a university at a very high level. Our cooperation with it lasted for more than 30 years," she told BTA, adding that similar cooperations have taken place with scientific teams from Belgium, Italy, and China, thanks to which a number of biologically active substances from natural sources have been isolated and characterized.
"We have developed products that are for severe varicose veins in diabetes. After a TV show, it was my pleasure that Dr. Momchil Keremedchiev showed an interest in the developments. Thanks to him, very sick people are being treated. We observe that many grievous wounds heal. All this motivates not only us, the elderly, but also the young, because they see the benefit of their products," she explained.
On this note, there are many young scientists in Prof. Dolashka's team. "We now have many young people in our team, very motivated ones. Some of them have graduated in Bulgaria, others have been abroad. I get very angry when I hear how education in Bulgaria is being neglected. I think our [Bulgarian] universities provide a very high level [of education], as long as people study properly," Prof. Dolashka said.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when face masks disappeared from the market, Prof. Dolashka and her co-worker Prof. Nartsislav Petrov came up with samples of masks with activated charcoal filters from apricot pits, which do not let through viruses the size of coronaviruses. With her scientific work over the years, Prof. Dolashka was able to make her childhood dream of helping cure people, come true.
"We have developed a product that is very helpful for the side effects of chemotherapy, we have been working on a product against bladder cancer," she said, adding that their efforts continue in many other areas, as well. "We are in constant contact with many doctors and with the people who use the products. They are the ones who set the topics we are working on, because by following their results, they tell us where to go next," Prof. Dolashka added.
Prof. DSc Pavlinka Dolashka has 30 years of experience in research. She is the head of a scientific team at the Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and head of the water division at the Clean&Circle centre of competence.
Prof. Dolashka is an author and co-author of thirteen objects of industrial property, patent-protected for inventions and utility models in the fields of chemistry and pharmacy. Twelve of those have been deployed in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products distributed on the Bulgarian and foreign markets. As a result of over 30 years of cooperation with scientific teams from Belgium, Italy, a number of biologically active substances from natural sources have been isolated and characterized. These developments have been presented in 175 scientific publications in journals with a total impact factor of over 210 and in 170 conference papers/posters abroad and in Bulgaria.
The developed innovative technologies for obtaining biologically active substances from plant and animal sources, mostly from sea and garden snails, are applicable in fighting bacterial infectious diseases, and are used for tissue regeneration and repair, as well as immunostimulants. The patented active substances of snail mucus are contained in a number of food supplements and cosmetic products developed by Bulgarian companies in the 2014-2022 period. Based on this, gels for severe varicose and diabetic damages have been invented, syrups to prevent chemotherapy side effects, syrups for treating gastrointestinal problems and the musculoskeletal system. Prof. Dolashka's inventions/useful models are also used to produce cosmetic products with antimicrobial effect, which are available on the Bulgarian and international market.
Prof. Dolashka and her team have been awarded more than 18 national prizes. She has won 4 Pythagoras prizes [the most prestigious Scientific awards in Bulgaria, frequently referred as the Bulgarian Nobel Prizes], 3 awards for scientific developments (2012, 2018 and 2022), and was part of a company team that has won the Pythagoras prize in 2017.