Diana Samodova (UCPH)

About Diana

Diana is a PhD candidate at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research working in Prof. Jesper Olsen's research group under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Christian Kelstrup.

The candidate has both BSc and MSc degrees in chemistry and at the moment of recruitment has been working for 4 years as a laboratory assistant in LC/MS laboratory at the University of Latvia and teaching analytical chemistry to highs school students at the Riga School of Natural Sciences.

During her studies Diana has been mostly working with relatively small organic molecule analysis. Her Bachelor's thesis included HPLC/MS and UV/Vis spectroscopy-based kinetic studies of pharmaceutical photo-degradation chemistry. In the Master's thesis different medicinal plant extract anti-radical activity and it's kinetics has been studied using above mentioned instrumental techniques.

After graduation from the University of Latvia, Diana decided to acquire new knowledge and skills in the field of palaeproteomics. The candidate believes she will both gain a lot of experience during the PhD studies, as well as apply her background in analytical chemistry to discovery of degraded and highly modified ancient proteins.

During the PhD project she will mostly focus on technological improvements in the core bottom-up proteomics technology, that will be sought for better analysis workflows for degraded proteins of unknown origin present in the cultural heritage materials.

Diana's PhD project


The project aims at optimization of mass spectrometry technology for analysis of proteinaceous substances present in ancient artefacts.

Expected results

The elaborated improvements in core technology will be used for analysis of degraded and highly modified proteins of unknown origin, enabling ancient species identification, determination of post-translational modifications and sequence variants. In particular, optimized MS-based proteomics workflows will be applied in the context of TEMPERA network, where research questions include characterization of proteinaceous paint binders in ancient artefacts (e.g. egg caseins or vegetable gums). This should lead to a better understanding and perception of the original appearance of painted objects important for the study and protection of European cultural herritage materials.

My project

In this technology-focused project, improvements in the core bottom-up proteomics technology will be sought for better analysis workflows for degraded proteins of unknown origin present in the cultural heritage materials. The developments will mainly focus on sample preparation (according to the type of sample), workflows optimized to the study of very small sample amounts, optimizations of liquid chromatography and changes to MS methods involving orthogonal fragmentation schemes and evaluation of new MS hardware to increase data quality for normal bottom-up sequencing. Finally, implementation of high end data analytical software tools will enable data interpretation.

The above mentioned MS developments will be performed on the recently introduced Orbitrap Fusion Lumos Tribrid mass spectrometer, that is the industry-leading high-performance mass spectrometer and, at the time of this writing, the instrument with the best sensitivity, best mass resolution, and fastest scan rate. It is equipped with the higher capacity ETD HD fragmentation mode and benefitting from improved transmission of ions into the Orbitrap analyzer. Improved precursor storage capacity in the ETD HD mode leads to a larger fragment ion population thereby increasing the dynamic range of the ETD acquisition scan. These features make it one of the most attractive analytical tools for palaeoproteomic sample analysis. Aiming at minimizing preparation steps to maximize recoveries of analytes from cultural heritage objects, MS procedures will be developed to apply bottom-up tandem MS protein sequencing to digested protein extracts of cultural heritage samples, by taking full advantage of the Orbitrap Fusion Lumos Tribrid advanced features. This instrumentation is available for the Georgia Ntasi (@UoN) and Diana Samodova at both University of Copenhagen and Thermo Fisher Scientific in Bremen.


Planned secondments:

  1. Secondment period of 6 months at Thermo (Bremen), to collaborate with Thomas Moehring and his colleagues to expand Diana Samodova's experience about hardware development.

  2. Secondment period of 4 months at MPG to assist Petra Gutenbrunner in the development of new control software for the Orbitrap Fusion Lumos Tribrid mass spectrometer.

  3. Secondment period of 3 months at Thermo USA R&D in San Jose (California) to collaborate with colleagues at the USA research facility on development of the most advanced company projects.



09/15-06/17 MSc in Chemistry University of Latvia, Faculty of Chemistry, Riga, Latvia

Master’s Thesis: ”The studies on the antiradical activity kinetics of the different antibacterial plant extracts”

11/16-02/17 Long-term educational program ”LC-MS Method Validation” University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

03/16-06/16 International training program in bioanalytical chemistry University of Oslo, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Oslo, Norway

Research project: ”Simultaneous determination of active pharmaceutical ingredients in water samples using on-line solid phase extraction LC-MS method”

28/03-05/16 Long-term educational program ”Estimation of Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” Univeristy of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

09/2012-06/2015 BSc in Natural Sciences University of Latvia, Faculty of Chemistry, Riga, Latvia

Bachelor’s Thesis: ”Photostability of nitrofurazone in solutions”

2000-2012 Diploma of Secondary Education Riga Secondary School No 72, Riga, Latvia

Research Project: ”Lichens-bioindicators of air pollution”


07/2014 - 08/2017 Laboratory assistant in chromatography/mass spectrometry University of Latvia, Faculty of Chemistry, Riga, Latvia

09/2013 - 08/2017 Analytical chemistry teacher Riga School of Natural Sciences, Riga, Latvia

09/2012 - 08/2013 Laboratory assistant Riga School of Natural Sciences, Riga, Latvia


The PhD candidate has conducted a secondment at the University of Bordeaux (UBx) in the fall of 2019, where she worked closely with Prof. Caroline Tokarski and her research group. The purpose of this secondment was to conduct a change of research environment, in order to expand Diana Samodova's experience in archaeological sample processing and analysis, as well as to enable efficient knowledge and skill transfer within TEMPERA European Training Network. During the secondment the PhD student got trained in and performed: a) preparation of ancient (14th century), pathological bone and tooth samples, b) LC-MS/MS analysis of above mentioned specimen, as well as c) an advanced palaeoproteomic data analysis. During her stay at UBx, Diana has contributed to project initialization and development of sample preparation methodology, using model samples. The optimized workflows were thereafter applied to the real ancient sample preparation and analysis.

Publications [1]

Ancient proteomics

  • Mackie, M. E., Rüther, P., Samodova, D*., Di Gianvincenzo, F., Granzotto, C., Lyon, D., Peggie, D. A., Howard, H., Harrison, L., Jensen, L. J., Olsen, J. V., Cappellini, E. Palaeoproteomic profiling of conservation layers on a 14th century Italian wall painting. Angew. Chem. 2018, available online doi:10.1002/anie.201713020

Plant metabolomics

  • Dzabijeva, D*., Boroduske, A., Ramata-Stunda, A., Mazarova, N., Nikolajeva, V., Boroduskis, M., Nakurte, I. Anti-bacterial activity and online HPLC-DPPH based antiradical kinetics of medicinal plant extracts of high relevance for cosmetics production. Key Eng. Mater. 2018, 762, 8-13.

  • Borodušķis, M., Kaktiņa, E., Blāķe, I., Nakurte, I., Džabijeva, D*., Kusiņa, I., Mičule, S., Ramata-Stunda, A. Chemical characterization and in vitro evaluation of birch sap and a complex of plant extracts for potential use in cosmetic anti-ageing products. Environ. Exp. Biol. 2017, 15, 29–36.

  • Klavina, L., Springe, G., Nikolajeva, V., Martsinkevich, I., Nakurte, I., Dzabijeva, D*., Steinberga, I. Chemical composition analysis, antimicrobial activity and cytotoxicity screening of moss extracts (moss phytochemistry). Molecules. 2015, 20, 17221-17243.

Environmental analytical chemistry

  • Roberg-Larsen, H., Abele, S., Demir, D., Dzabijeva, D*., Amundsen, S. F., Wilson, S. R., Bartkevics, V., Lundanes, E. Rugged large volume injection for sensitive capillary LC-MS environmental monitoring. Front. Chem. 2017, 5, 1-7 (62).

Pharmaceutical studies

  • Rekis, T., Bērziņš, A., Džabijeva, D*., Nakurte, I., Orola, L., Actiņš, A. Structure and stability of racemic and enantiopure pimobendan monohydrates: on the phenomenon of unusually high stability. Cryst. Growth Des. 2017, 17, 1814-1823.

  • Bērziņš, K., Kons, A., Grante, I., Dzabijeva, D*., Nakurte, I., Actiņš, A. Multi-technique approach for qualitative and quantitative characterization of furazidin degradation kinetics under alkaline conditions. J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 2016, 129, 433-440.

[1] The author has changed surname from Džabijeva to Samodova in July 2017 (Valid Marriage Certificate)


E-mail: diana.samodova@cpr.ku.dk

E-mail: diana.samodova@palaeome.org

LinkedIn: Diana (Dzabijeva) Samodova

ResearchGate: Diana Samodova

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9943-931X

At: University of Copenhagen

Supervisor: Jesper V. Olsen

Photo credits: Mkotl