Natalia Shalginskikh, Ph.D. was born in a small town near Moscow, Russia. During her school years, she realized that she was most interested in the natural sciences, such as biology and chemistry. These interests led her to apply to the Department of Medical Biology at Pirogov’s Russian National Research Medical University in Moscow, Russia to begin a path toward a career in science. In the summer and in between semesters, Natalia expanded her laboratory skills by volunteering at the N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center in Moscow where she studied Epstein–Barr virus in patients with lymphoproliferative diseases. Through collaboration with another lab in Germany, Natalia spent the summer working as an undergraduate research assistant in The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Genetics, in Homburg/Saar, Germany. From this rewarding opportunity, she learned that she loved traveling, meeting new people, and learning about viruses. To serve these interests, Natalia joined a graduate program at Pirogov’s Russian National Research Medical University in Moscow that places Russian students in research labs in United States to assist in cancer research.
In 2007, Natalia arrived in the U.S. to join Dr. Anna Maria Skalka and Dr. Richard Katz in the study of the epigenetic control of gene expression and mechanisms of retroviral epigenetic silencing. After receiving her Ph.D. in 2014, she joined the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Working as a postdoctoral fellow, she studied Pathogenic Hantaviruses to identify the cellular factors required for viral entry. Although her deep love of viruses continued, her experiments did not hold her attention as in the past. As a consequence, she began to consider careers away from the bench, which would utilize her extensive research skills and scientific knowledge in a new way. To learn more about her options, she attended various career talks and volunteered as a intern at the Technology Transfer Office at Fox Chase. After less than half a year, Natalia was hired on as a Licensing Associate and the rest, as they say, is history!