Rodinkova with one of the Ukranian flags she’s been adoring the school with. Photo by Alex Garoffolo

Viktoria Rodinkova continues aerobiological research at TU

Viktoria Rodinkova chose to work with TU’s prolific aerobiologist, Estelle Levetin, aided by a Fulbright grant.

Viktoria Rodinkova does not rest often. Here from Ukraine on a Fulbright research grant, she studies pollen and spores for the biology department. Fluent in Russian, Ukranian and English, she has a multilingual talent set. When she leaves in May, she already has a three-country tour lined up to present her research in Europe

She is here with her youngest son and husband. TU provides schooling for her son at the university school. During the holiday break, the family went to the Grand Canyon and several other destinations.

Rodinkova is the first person to receive a Ph.D. in Ukraine based on field studies in pollen research. “It was hard to write and defend the thesis because nobody had ever done research like this before,” she explained.

Her research centered around leaving pollen traps on rooftops in her home city of Vinnitsa, Ukraine. These traps caught pollen from the air. This pollen data helped her develop pollen profiles for Ukraine.

At the same time she defended her doctoral thesis, she worked as a journalist for Vinnitsa’s newspaper. As editor-in-chief of the paper, she had a team of 28 people under her. Three days before one of her largest stories broke, a project on which her team had been working for weeks, she also had to defend her thesis. It was a hectic time,” she said. “But I made it happen.”

Her love of journalism took her to Cincinnati and around various countries in Europe to study the field. Eventually, she left journalism to focus on science.

As she became a well-known pollen researcher in Ukraine, agencies invited her to do research and present in other countries in Europe. It was through one of these contacts that she first heard of Dr. Levetin.

“My German colleague, Dr. Bergman, gave me a book of Levetin’s. She is the best known American aerobiologist in Europe. She works with both pollen and spores. Europeans work mainly with pollen,” she stated. “I’m here to learn more about spores.”

While at TU, she assists Dr. Estelle Levetin in the biology department with pollen and aerobiological studies. Currently, the two have several pollen traps set up on the roof of Oliphant Hall. The research is to help figure out the pollen profile for Tulsa.

Rodinkova maintains a pollen forecast online for Ukraine for most months of the year. She holds a position of editor-in-chief at her university’s newspaper, but no longer for Vinnitsa’s city newspaper.

Rodinkova did the pollen research via the roof trap method in five different cities in Ukraine. European aerobiological organizations used her data as well as data of other researchers to create and maintain a pollen forecast for all of Europe.

Rodinkova said she’s “happy that I’ve made the issue of pollen research more well-known and better understood.” She gives interviews yearly for local radio stations in Ukraine and presents her findings at conferences around Europe.

Upon return to Europe in May, she has a three-country tour planned to continue to present her research. She will also give interviews about her time in America on the Fulbright.

Post Author: Alex Garoffolo