Alexander “Sasha” V. Kabanov, Ph.D., Dr.Sc., M.A.E., FNAI, became interested in research at an early age.
From his home in Moscow, he marveled at the work of his father, Viktor Kabanov, an award-winning polymer chemist and Chernobyl “liquidator,” whose advances in science and personal work on the contaminated soil helped lead cleanup solutions following the Chernobyl accident. His father donned roles in notable academies around the world, including the Royal Belgian Academy, the European Academy, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Today, Sasha Kabanov’s scientific achievements mirror those of his father’s, who he credits for his love of science. Most recently, Kabanov received the highest honor from his home country – becoming the only Russian-American scientist to be elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences as a corresponding member in the division of medical sciences.
“It’s very cool,” Kabanov said with a smile. “To be recognized in your home country is very important.” He added that his 92-year-old mother who still lives in Russia was elated to receive the phone call about his appointment.
He is one of 2,000 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which was founded in 1724 at the order of Emperor Peter the Great. The academy – the highest scientific self-governing institution in the Russian Federation – aims to advance fundamental research in the sciences and humanities. It does so by conducting long-term scientific investigations closely connected with industrial development, studying new possibilities of technical progress, and promoting scientific achievements and developments.
“Being elected to the academy makes me think of the future,” Kabanov said. “In general, in Russian science, there is an emphasis on physical and nuclear science. What I do see is that medical research is under-appreciated in the country, so where I can be an advocate, I will be.”
Kabanov said he also hopes to be a champion for Russian scientists and the sharing of ideas to advance science for the greater good of humanity.
Too often as a young researcher back in Russia, Kabanov said he felt isolated and not connected to scientists around the world. “I want to support the younger generation and encourage them to overcome this isolation,” he said.
His advice to young researchers, especially those in Russia who may be facing similar challenges he encountered is simple, “Always go for quality, and create solid products.”
Kabanov is currently the director of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery, as well as director of the Carolina Institute for Nanomedicine. He holds professorships at both UNC, NC State’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Moscow State University and has been previously elected to the European Academy and the US National Academy of Inventors. In addition, Kabanov serves at the president of the Russian-American Science Association.