It is no secret that scientific accomplishments and discoveries made by Latvian scientists are highly valued in Latvia and foreign countries. ‘Latvia has made some exceptional progress in certain sciences, including medicine and pharmacy and material science. This is welcome, and we see new discoveries every year. Science in our country has a high growth potential. Progress, however, could be quicker if the state provided some more financial support,’ – comments Riga Technical University’s Vice-Rector for Science Talis Juhna.
National Geographic, Latvian Academy of Sciences and Riga Technical University have compiled a list of eight notable scientific discoveries by Latvian scientists in the past five years:
Substance that is 40 times more active than Mildronate
In 2009, a cardio-protective substance was discovered. It is reportedly 40 times more active than Latvia’s currently most exported medication – Mildronate. Authors of this discovery – Ivars Kalviņš, Maija Dambrova, Edgars Liepiņš, Osvalds Pugovičs, Einārs Loža and Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis.
Stem cell transplantation in infant’s heart muscle
In 2010 surgeons performed the first ever stem cell transplantation into heart muscle of an infant. The operation was headed by Prof. Aris Lacis and LZA corresponding member Andrejs Erglis, Children’s Clinical University Hospital and P.Stradins Clinical University’s Latvian Cardiology Centre and Cell Transplantation Centre.
First liver transplantation
In 2011 surgeons performed the first transplantation of liver in Latvia. The surgery was performed by Jana Gardovska and Rafails Rozentals in cooperation with P.Stradins Clinical University Hospital and Riga Stradins University.
New method for creating quantum algorithms
In 2012 a new method for quantum algorithms was discovered and new quantum interference application in nano-electronics was developed. It was discovered by Andris Ambainis, Dr. Vyacheslav Kascheyev, Aleksandr Belovs, Jana Timoshenko and University of Latvia. This project showed that quantum algorithms can be significantly faster than traditional even when demanded that quantum algorithms always provide the correct answer.
Synthetic bio-material effectively attaches to bone
In 2012 Scientists of RTU Riga Bio-material Innovations and Development Centre Liga Berzina-Cimdina and Janis Locs successfully proved that their co-developed synthetic bio-material effectively attaches to bone – it is now used in implants in dentistry and cosmetic surgery.
Quantum pumps theory
In 2013 a quantum pumps theory was developed. It is now used in nano-electronics in Europe’s main metrology laboratories. It was developed by Vyacheslav Kascheyev in cooperation with University of Latvia. Kascheyev is the only Eastern European scientist who has been nominated for the annual Young Leaders Meeting in the World Economic Forum.
Latvian-synthesized anti-cancer substance Belinostat is permitted for use in USA
Active anti-cancer substance called Belinostat, which was synthesized in Latvia, has approved for use in USA in the treatment of T-Cell Lymphoma. This substance was developed by Dr. Klara Dikovska, Ivars Kalvins, Dr. Einars Loza and Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis.
Belionostat is the first case in Latvia’s recent history when Latvian scientists proved their capability to cooperate with foreign colleagues and work on the same level as them to develop original medicine.
Brand new synthetic materials
Andris Cate and Kaspars Kalnins of RTU Materials and Constructions Institute have developed light-weight fibre-glass composite materials that are more durable than their traditional counterparts. These new composite materials have been approved for use in aviation and automobile engineering companies like Airbus and Volvo. Realization of this project continues.