Our Team

Darkhan Utepbergenov

The laboratory is led by Dr. Darkhan Utepbergenov, assistant professor in the department of Chemistry, Nazarbayev University. After graduation from the Department of Natural Sciences of Novosibirsk State University in 1996 Dr. Utepbergenov was awarded a scholarship from Daimler-Benz Foundation and moved to Germany to work on his Ph.D. in Research Institute of Molecular Pharmacology in Berlin and Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion in Novosibirsk. After obtaining Ph.D. degree in 2000 from Institute of Bio-organic Chemistry (Novosibirsk) he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Germany for two years and later moved to United States where he continued his research in top public universities (University of North Carolina and University of Virginia).

Dr. Utepbergenov joined Chemistry Department of Nazarbayev University in August of 2015.

Rakhan Aimbetov

Ph.D. in Biotechnology: 2012, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

Post-doctoral researcher: 2020-present, Nazarbayev University

Rakhan investigates post-translational modifications of DJ-1 and develops new approaches for protein expression and purification

Aizhan Tkirova

M.Sc. in Biotechnology: 2017, Eurasian National University (Astana).

Ph.D. candidate in life sciences: 2019-present, Nazarbayev University 

Aizhan studies the metabolism and role of methylglyoxal in cancers driven by K-Ras mutations.

Nurlan Turmaganbetov

B.Sc. in Chemistry: 2020, Nazarbayev University

M.Sc. Candidate in Chemistry: 2020-present, Nazarbayev University

Nurlan works on applications of glyoxalases for stereospecific synthesis of a-hydroxy carboxylic acids

Tomiris Mulikova

B.Sc. in Chemistry: 2021, Nazarbayev University

Research assistant: 2021-present, Nazarbayev University

Tomiris is involved in cloning, mutagenesis and purification of glyoxalases and performs their enzymatic characterization 

Zhanibek Bekkhozhin

B.Sc. Chemistry student, Nazarbayev University

Zhanibek is involved in several projects that aim to reveal the molecular function of DJ-1

Aizat Abdirassil

B.Sc. Chemistry student, Nazarbayev University


Aizat works on applications of glyoxalases in organic synthesis 

Mussa Yedigenov

B.Sc. Chemistry student, Nazarbayev University


Together with other students Mussa works on applications of glyoxalases in organic synthesis 


Raushan Nugmanova

Research Assistant - June 2017-June 2018

Currently Ph.D. student in KAUST

Nuriza Omertassova

B.Sc. student (Biology) - June 2017-June 2020

Currently M.Sc. student (molecular medicine) at Nazarbayev University Medical School

Timur Baizhumanov

B.Sc. student (Chemistry) - September 2018-June 2020

Currently M.Sc. student (pharmaceutical technology) at Tubingen University