Finalist of the category:
Outstanding Academic in Slovakia

Renáta Oriňaková

Physical chemistry

Being a good teacher means being a good expert in the field, but also an educator and often a good and receptive psychologist

Prof. RNDr. Renáta Oriňaková, DrSc., focuses on the electrochemical preparation of functional nanostructured layers, biomedical devices, and electrocatalysis. Teaching is one of the most beautiful but also the most demanding professions for her.

Professor Oriňaková specializes in electrochemistry and currently works with her team on several projects: research into degradable biomaterials for orthopaedic applications, development of a new generation of electrochemical sensors for early detection of diabetes, and preparation of highly active catalysts for hydrogen technologies.

In science, Renáta Oriňaková has the opportunity to participate in research that solves current societal problems, such as those that became evident in the coronavirus situation. Thanks to research on nanomaterials for electrochemical sensors, during which she worked with her scientific team, they gained knowledge that they used to detect glucose and insulin. Subsequently, this knowledge helped them in the preparation of sensors that are used in the diagnosis of COVID-19. Professor Oriňaková considers the development of highly specific electrochemical sensors for the determination of coronavirus to be one of her achievements, as well as the development of fast and reliable electrochemical non-enzymatic sensors for the determination of glucose and insulin, which are used in the diagnosis of diabetes.

Renáta Oriňaková comes from the village of Vinné in eastern Slovakia. As a child, she wanted to be a ballerina, but was gradually enchanted by the world of science and logic. She decided on her teaching career while studying at the grammar school in Michalovce. She was inspired by a math teacher and wanted to teach the subject herself. She therefore chose the Faculty of Science at the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, where she studied mathematics and chemistry. She continued her studies as a doctoral student in physical chemistry.

In addition to science and research, she is also involved in pedagogical activities. She says that being a teacher is one of the most difficult but, at the same time, the most beautiful occupations. Educators can guide, educate and inspire young people, thus showing the path to the next generation by passing on their knowledge and experience. Being a good teacher, comments Professor Oriňaková, means being a good expert in the field, but also an educator and often a good and receptive psychologist. Teaching is, as she says, hard work that requires continuous improvement, study and work on oneself.