Sanzhar Aitbay is a bioscientist from Shymkent, Kazakhstan. He was born in April of 1996 in the picturesque mountainous city of southern Kazakhstan – Almaty. His first steps into the mystique path of science began with the books on zoology and botany in middle school. The amusement with the diversity of biological organisms and the organized complexity of structures forming them led him to pursue biology as the main subject of bachelor studies.
In 2018 he obtained his BSc. in Biological Sciences and Environmental Engineering from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea under the guidance of Jong Bhak. To further deepen his knowledge in biological sciences, he then moved to Jena, the city where Ernst Haeckel made his seminal works in zoology, and Matthias Schleiden co-founded cell theory. There he enrolled in MSc. in Molecular Life Sciences program at Friedrich – Schiller University.
After a year at Jena, in 2019, to conduct his master’s thesis, he moved to Heidelberg to join Ana Martin – Villalba’s lab at German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). In his thesis work, he focused on genomic instability during acinar – ductal metaplasia, a process that is hypothesized to be at the origin of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). It is then that he developed an interest in next-generation in vitro systems and the biology of PDAC.
To further follow these interests, in 2021, he joined Julie Guillermet-Guibert’s team at Toulouse Cancer Research Center (CRCT), Inserm under the PIPgen network frame to conduct his PhD thesis, and is co-supervised by Morgan. During this time, under the guidance of Julie and Morgan, he aims to develop next generation in vitro systems which integrated the latest knowledge in the field of cancer mechanobiology, and place the importance of PI3K signaling in mechanotransduction.