Kathy Ushakov, Genetics

Kathy is working to identify the genes involved in deafness.

Kathy Ushakov, PhD Candidate
Quick Facts
  • Age: 28
  • Awards: Levi Eshkol Scholarship and Joseph Sagol Scholarship
  • Field: Human Molecular Genetics
  • Raised in: Russia and Israel
  • Hobbies: Photography, reading and travel

A world traveler, volunteer and with a passion for solving science mysteries, Kathy Ushakov is a PhD candidate researching expression of novel gene species in the ear and its connection to hearing loss. Kathy made Aliyah with her parents and two siblings in 1992 from St. Petersburg, Russia. Both of her parents are doctors, which made for interesting dinner table conversation with biology as a central topic. Kathy's upbringing combined with her work in the army in data analysis is what pushed her toward her current path of research. 


The issue of deafness always played a central role in Kathy's research. Her first undergraduate research project at University College London was studying how certain antibiotics cause deafness.  She then continued her studies in a master's program in biology at University of Geneva. Kathy then returned to Israel to study deafness for her PhD at Tel Aviv University. Kathy's personal connection to deafness was also the impetus for her continued studies. Her paternal grandmother is partially deaf due to an adverse reaction to antibiotics.


Kathy recently returned from Singapore as part of the elite group of five scientists from TAU who were chosen to attend the 3rd Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS)@one-north.  The summit enabled participants to interact with some 20 globally-recognized scientific leaders, including Nobel Prize, Turing Prize, Millennium Technology Prize and Fields Medal recipients.  


“At the summit we were exposed to a wide variety of ideas and fields, and met interesting people from all around the globe. Exceptional scientists inspired us by sharing their insights and telling us how they reached their own discoveries. They also reminded us that in our day – where science and technology are incredibly intertwined – patience, curiosity and determination are crucial.”


Along with her studies, Kathy also volunteers with Alpha, which gives gifted high school students the opportunity to do scientific research in a university lab. Currently, Kathy is tutoring a 16 year-old girl and teaching her how to write research proposals.


In the future, Kathy hopes to continue to pursue her passion for solving genetic mysteries by taking advantage of the newly emerging next-generation sequencing technologies.


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Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
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