MU – Varna is the Best University for Medical Education in Bulgaria

January 16, 2018By Antonia GenovaScience and education, Student activity No Comments

Medical University – Varna began 2018 with a new, highest award of honour for quality of training, which is recognition of the extremely successful strategy for development, implemented by the academic management. The Minister of Education Mr. Krasimir Valchev awarded the well-deserved distinction – first place for quality of medical education to Medical University – Varna. This happened at a formal ceremony for awarding the best universities in Bulgaria, which was held at the Central Military Club in Sofia and was organized by the 24 Hours newspaper. The prize of MU-Varna is in the field of Medicine and is awarded for high quality of education in line with labour market needs, based on the rating of higher schools, done by the Ministry of Education and Science.

The upward trend in the development, expansion and modernization of the University over the last few years has had its profound impact and has led to a sustainable high interest on the part of Bulgarian and foreign students. Each year the number of students willing to study at MU – Varna has been growing, with 7 people applying for 1 place and 3 applicants competing for each place in the English language training programmes. Undoubtedly, the Affiliates in Shumen, Veliko Tarnovo and Sliven have contributed to the development of education and science in these cities. In 2017 MU-Varna received scores of awards and prizes, among which the first place in the category “Best Innovation for Education” at the prestigious World Webit Festival, which brings together the elite from the five continents in the field of IT technologies. The world-renowned TV leader BBC has selected MU-Varna to produce a report on medical training, and the team was impressed by the high technology in training. The new building of the Faculty of Pharmacy was awarded with the highest prize in “Building of the Year” Competition, in the category of educational infrastructure immediately after its construction. In 2017 the Rector Prof. Krasimir Ivanov received the award “Personality of the Year” by the Mayor of Shumen Municipality, “Honorary Citizen of Sliven” by the Mayor of Sliven Municipality, he was awarded with the golden Honorary Sign “For Merits to Varna” by the Mayor of Varna Municipality in 2015, and in 2016 with a gold Medal for Merit by the BRC General Manager.

This is yet another award for the high quality of training at MU – Varna, which is due both to the high level of training in the different disciplines, the application of medical simulators and the implementation of state-of-the-art technologies in training, following the model of the leading universities in the world, and also to the practical training at one of the most high-tech hospitals in Bulgaria – University Hospital “St. Marina” – Varna. All this is the foundation for the high evaluation given by the consumers for the quality of the graduates of MU-Varna, who find 100% realization on the labour market after graduation.

The integration of modern IT solutions, systems and innovations in the educational process is a part of the strategy of the management of MU – Varna for high-tech training of the students in medical and healthcare specialties in Bulgaria, which ranks it among the most modern medical higher schools in the world. The videoconference system, which is implemented at all training facilities of the University and the Affiliates, provides an opportunity for telecommunication with any part of the world during conferences, for connecting different participants in joint sessions, for conducting distant lectures, presentations and discussions. At MU-Varna there is an opportunity for interactive content creation and dissemination since undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students attend international lectures during their education. This is the other key to success-working with international partners and international teams. The University hosts prominent international lecturers and clinicians who perform operations with their own and with Bulgarian teams. This attracts and motivates young doctors to reach for the highest level both in theoretical and practical training.

For the First Time in Bulgaria Training of Specialists in Ocular Diseases with Simulators Has Been Launched at MU – Varna

January 11, 2018By Antonia GenovaScience and education No Comments

A three-day training session with simulators for diagnostics and surgery in Ophthalmology has been launched at MU – Varna. Since 2010 a basic course for ophthalmologists from all over the country has been conducted at MU – Varna, but in 2018 the first nationwide training with diagnostic and surgical simulators was launched. “More than 80 people will be trained during the course with ophthalmic simulators,” said Prof. Dr. Hristina Grupcheva, Vice Rector of MU – Varna and Head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

Ophthalmology is one of the most dynamically developing medical specialties due to the fact that we receive more than 90% of the information from the surrounding environment through our eyes, and the preservation of the eyesight is one of the most important prerequisites for a good quality of life. Consequently, high technologies, which are dominating in Ophthalmology, require a high level of training. The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Medical University – Varna boasts its half-century training tradition at different levels. However, one of the major priorities is training young specialists and postgraduates from across the country and Europe. There are scores of initiatives and training events, organized by the Department or conducted in partnership, but undoubtedly, the use of virtual reality in training is an innovation with a direct benefit.

One of the diagnostic simulators provides the opportunity for direct ophthalmoscopy, and it enables trainees to go through the entire physical examination process in a dynamic, realistic environment – the patient is blinking, moving his eyes and reacting to light. The other diagnostic simulator provides the trainees with the opportunity to master the art of indirect ophthalmoscopy to the fullest extent. After creating basic skills, virtual patients with pathological changes are available at all times.

Trainees can practise on them independently and as frequently as it is necessary, and each virtual examination is evaluated objectively. Both the learner and the trainer get information on the progress of the skills and the need for further training in a particular aspect.

Undoubtedly, the hit is the surgical simulator, which has two modules for cataract and vitreoretinal surgery. Vitreoretinal surgery is the most serious ophthalmic surgery – it involves the posterior segment of the eye, i.e. the most difficult to access areas of the eye – the vitreous body and the retina. Cataract is the most commonly performed surgical intervention on a global scale. The technology of this operation is constantly developing. This requires not only the acquisition of surgical skills but also their continuous improvement. Realistic simulations of cataract and vitreoretinal procedures increase the experience of learners at each level without posing a risk to a real patient. Procedures with varying degrees of complexity are available at any time through the surgical simulator – regardless of the flow of patients. The device improves the capabilities of making surgical decisions and the manual skills through a wide range of surgical tasks.

At the end of each training task the simulator provides the learner with a detailed summary of her performance. The training system records various parameters related to the work with the tools and microscope, the surgical efficiency and treatment of tissues. This allows learners to focus on their weaknesses and to systematically improve their skills.

The main advantages of virtual training are fewer complications in real intraocular surgery, realistic experience and acquisition of skills, unlimited independent practice, competence assessment and online training.

Simulators have long been used in aviation, ship and automobile navigation systems, and other industries. Their popularity has increased tremendously in medicine, especially over the last decade. Undoubtedly, this is the future, and the sooner we adapt to it, the more effective and safer medical training will be, and in particular in Ophthalmology.

MU-Varna Participated in the World Congress of Digestive Disease in Japan

December 15, 2017By Antonia GenovaInternational activity, Science and education No Comments

At the invitation of the Organizing Committee, Prof. Dr. Nikola Kolev – head of the Department of General and Operative Surgery and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dimitar Tomov presented the scientific and practical potential of the scientists and doctors at MU – Varna and University Hospital “St. Marina” at the 2nd Annual World Congress of Digestive Disease (WCDD), which took place on 4-7 December 2017 in Fukuoka, a city with more than one million citizens in Japan.


Assoc. Prof. Tomov made an original presentation on ” Dynamic Institutionalization of Research in the Field of Colorectal Tumour Markers”, prepared by a team, including Prof. Dr. Krasimir Ivanov, Prof. Dr. Nikola Kolev, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dimitar Tomov and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivan Donev. Within the forum Prof. Kolev and Assoc. Prof. Tomov had meetings with leading experts from Europe, the USA and Asia, who expressed their willingness to cooperate and participate in scientific forums, organized by Medical University – Varna.

Velina Markovska

Prof. Dr. Silva Andonova Has Been Appointed as Representative of Bulgaria in a Project of European Stroke Organisation – ESO EAST

December 15, 2017By Antonia GenovaInternational activity, Science and education No Comments

Prof. Dr. Silva Andonova, Ph.D. – head of Second Clinic of Nervous Diseases at University Hospital “St. Marina” Varna, a lecturer at the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at MU Varna and a national consultant on Nervous Diseases, was appointed as the National Representative of Bulgaria in a project of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) – ESO EAST for 2018 and 2019. The appointment of Prof. Andonova is a high evaluation of her professional skills as a leader, who has the entire capacity to improve the care for people suffering from stroke in Bulgaria.

The enhanced and accelerated treatment of stroke through ESO (ESO-EAST) is aimed at improving the care for people with stroke in the participating countries through various tools, particularly through joint training and quality improvement programmes, targeted at optimizing and implementing the best practices in taking care of people with stroke in these countries, as well as launching a beneficial collaboration.

Within ESO-EAST project, currently RES-Q – REgistry of Stroke Care Quality evaluates the availability of care for people with stroke in order to define the strategies and tools, which will result in improving the care for stroke patients. The Register is free for use by all participants.

The main focus of the work of the organization is the development of activities and tools targeted at improving the care for people with stroke, and maximizing the coordination of the efforts in stroke treatment.

In her capacity as a representative of Bulgaria for ESO-EAST, Prof. Andonova is going to coordinate the activities of ESO-EAST in Bulgaria for achieving the goal of improving the quality of care for patients with stroke.

Medical Students Presented MU-Varna at the European Congress on Neurosurgery

December 9, 2017By Antonia GenovaInternational activity, Science and education, Student activity No Comments

The third-year medical students from the English language programme at MU – Varna Zarina Brady and Shahsvar Arif participated at the European Congress on Neurosurgery in Venice, Italy.

The students presented a case on “Treatment of Penetrating Head Trauma in Children”. The presentation was a cooperative work with Prof. Dr. Yavor Enchev, Dr. Toni Kondev and Dr. Bogomil Iliev from the Department of Neurosurgery. The students thanked their lecturers for their help and support.

St. Nicholas Day Was Celebrated with an Exhibition at MU-Varna

December 9, 2017By Antonia GenovaCultur activity, Science and education No Comments

An exhibition dedicated to St. Nicholas Day (Nikulden) was opened at the Library of MU-Varna on 6th December on the occasion of the holiday. The exhibition displays information about the beneficial properties of some Black Sea fish and traces the traditions of the holiday.

St. Nicolay Mirlikiyski the Wonderworker is the patron saint of seas, lakes and rivers, sailors and fishermen, of the family and kin. St. Nicholas was born around 270 in Patara, a town in the region of Lycia in Asia Minor, and died on 6th December 342. That is why we pay a tribute to him on that day.

MU-Varna Participated in a Discussion on “Bulgaria as a Destination for Medical, Health and SPA Tourism”

December 8, 2017By Antonia GenovaHealth news, Science and education No Comments

The topic of human resources and their preparation in the field of medical and health tourism was included in the plenary reports and in the discussion of the first institutional conference on this topic. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Tourism in Bulgaria, in partnership with the Bulgarian Medical Association, and was held in Sofia.

This initiative has been synchronized with other conferences and congresses in the field of SPA and wellness tourism in Bulgaria, organized by the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and SPA Tourism, the Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, “Bulgaria Awaits You” Programme, etc. However, for the first time now the basic questions related to the potential and resource readiness of Bulgaria to develop medical and health tourism have been raised at an institutional level, represented by the Ministry of Tourism.

The participants at the conference and the international experts expressed their unanimous opinion that Bulgaria is a country with a very high potential for development of medical and health tourism and can be a desired partner of the Western European countries in this field. The unique natural resources, good healing facilities for balneology, rehabilitation and SPA tourism, equipped for the needs of the patients, highly qualified specialists and competitive prices are strong market advantages, which could lead Bulgaria to the first places in the preferences of tourists and patients from different countries.

One of the major goals of the forum was to present the experience and views of different representatives – the state, the Medical Union, universities, businesses, non-governmental organizations, consumers, for the development of a complex Bulgarian tourism product in the field of healthcare.

The discussion focused on three main areas – “Factors for the Development of Medical and Health Tourism. Opportunities for Treatment of Foreigners in Bulgaria”, “Prospects for Creating a Complex Tourism Product in the Field of Medical and Health Tourism, Including Preparation of Human Resources”, and “Innovation and Good Practices in Medical and Health Tourism”. Valuable international practices were shared by guest lecturers from Austria, Serbia and Israel.

Medical University – Varna was presented by Assoc. Prof. Emanuela Mutafova – Dean of the Faculty of Public Health and Prof. Todorka Kostadinova – Vice Rector for International Cooperation and Quality Accreditation. They presented, in a team of colleagues from St. St. Konstantin and Elena, useful practices for partnership between universities and businesses in the field of training and maintenance of the qualification of human resources in health and medical tourism. The presentation was entitled “The Responsibility of Universities and Businesses for Training and Maintaining the Qualification of Human Resources for Medical and Health Tourism”

This topic is a logical continuation of the discussion at the Fourth Congress of the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and SPA Tourism in Kyustendil (26-27.09.2017), where the team of Medical University-Varna and St. St. Konstantin and Elena Holding presented the topic on human resources training and development of innovative SPA products. The main topic at the Congress in Kyustendil was “Innovation and Development of Bulgarian SPA Destinations. Problems Confronting Municipalities and Businesses”, and innovations, both in their creation and implementation, are primarily related to human resources and the quality of their work performance.

These initiatives, congresses and conferences are evidence of the relevance of the topic of health, medical and SPA tourism and are a good foundation for cooperation between the state institutions, businesses, universities, local authorities and non-governmental organizations to achieve the common goal of establishing Bulgaria as a destination for health and better quality of life on the international market. Following our path to that goal, we have very good international partners in the face of the European Spas Association (ESPA), reputable European and world experts. They are willing to work in cooperation with us for branding of Europe as a tourist destination for the period of 2018 -2022, where some of the most sought-after areas are cultural and historical tourism, in combination with SPA, medical SPA and health services.

At end of the conference in Sofia, suggestions were made for training modules (monthly, pre-season and at the workplace); mandatory first aid training for the teams in tourism, improvement of the communication between the stakeholders, and elaboration of a communication strategy for the presentation of Bulgaria on the international tourist and health markets.

Apply for Erasmus mobility till December 20th

December 6, 2017By Antonia GenovaInternational activity, Science and education No Comments

December 20th is the deadline for submitting the application documents for Erasmus+ mobility 2018/2019.

The students apply for mobility planned to be carried out during the next academic year.

The medical students from MU-Varna have the following possibilities to carry out practical training abroad:



  • Summer internship after the 3rd or/and 4th year of academic studies (2 months)
  • Pre-graduate state internship during the 6th year of academic studies (2 to 9 months – one or more state internships)

Medical University – Varna offers the following available places for Erasmus+ internships during 2018/2019 academic year.

The applicants should have an average grade (GPA) as of the time of application minimum 4.50.

The applicants must have taken all their exams till the time of application.

Application documents:

  1. Application form (click here)
  2. Declaration form concerning personal data protection (click here)
  3. Certificate for average grade (GPA) as of the time of application minimum 4.50 (issued by the students’ office)
  4. Letter of recommendation signed by a professor in MU-Varna
  5. Certificate for language proficiency (for mobility language other than English)

Application documents have to be submitted in the International Relations Department (room 209) from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. – Mrs. Svetlana Panayotova.

Application deadline – 20.12.2017

The Possibilities of Medicine to Detect Genetic Disorders through Mother’s Blood Were Presented at MU-Varna

November 28, 2017By Antonia GenovaScience and education No Comments
The new possibilities of modern medicine for early detection of genetic diseases such as Down syndrome, Patau’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome during pregnancy and some of the defects related to sex chromosomes through utilization of non-invasive DNA tests were presented at MU – Varna.

Prof. Dr. Lyudmila Angelova – Head of TRS Medical Genetics at the Department of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at Medical University – Varna and Head of the Laboratory of Medical Genetics at University Hospital “St. Marina” – Varna explained that prophylaxis and in particular, genetic one, is the medicine of the future. The methods for prenatal prophylaxis have their limitations, possibilities and risks. They are in the competence of highly qualified, but very few specialists in our country.

“Genetic counselling should accompany every step of the cares provided for a pregnant woman,” advises Prof. Angelova and explains the differences between screening and diagnosis. “These prophylactic methods are divided into non-invasive and invasive. Non-invasive are biochemical screening, ultrasound diagnosis of fetal anomalies, and non-invasive prenatal tests of fetal DNA in mother’s blood. They are available throughout the different periods of pregnancy, they have different characteristics, but these are screening approaches, not diagnostic. They are characterized with negligible risk, there is no risk involved in them, they can be offered on a large scale, but they are of low sensitivity. Prenatal tests of fetal DNA in mother’s blood are the most sensitive. If an anomaly is detected, even with 99% sensitivity of the test, it has to be validated by a second invasive diagnostic method before a pregnancy is interrupted,” said Prof. Dr. Angelova. According to her, the invasive methods of Chorion biopsy, Amniocentesis and Cordocentesis have one hundred percent sensitivity, but they pose a risk to the fetus.

“In prenatal prophylaxis we follow criteria, we take into consideration whether we have a serious illness or not, whether there is adequate treatment. It is usually severe, usually incurable, the genetic risk is different, we need to know whether the family is ready to interrupt the pregnancy, whether there are prenatal tests,” explained Prof. Dr. Angelova. She underlined that under diagnosis we should understand proving or rejecting a disease, not screening of high-risk pregnancies. “The family is always searching for 100% guarantees, anyway, there are no such guarantees due to a number of reasons. There is no genetic test that is 100 % accurate. It may not detect all mutations, but only selected ones, characteristic of a population of mutations. Genetic tests detect a mutation, but they do not reveal the degree and severity of the disease,” said the specialist.

PrenaTest is the first non-invasive prenatal test on the territory of Bulgaria and Europe and is performed only through mother’s venous blood. The test can be done after the 9 week of gestation, and the results are evident within 7 working days. The analyzes are carried out at LifeCodexx Laboratory (Konstanz, Germany). PrenaTest is also applicable in cases of bigeminal pregnancy or after assisted reproduction. “More than 80 000 analyzes have been carried out globally and more than 2 000 in Bulgaria,” explains Silvia Kostova, Product Manager of PrenaTest.

“The advantages of non-invasive prenatal tests are the absence of any kind of risk to the fetus, 98-99% precision of autosomal aneuploidy analysis, a much earlier test period, and testing the genetic material of the fetus itself. Biochemical screening of biochemical markers of the fetus is carried out in the 1st and 2nd trimesters of pregnancy, with a sensitivity of between 70 and 90%, and the result is in the form of a probability calculation that categorizes high-risk pregnancies to be directed to the well-known invasive methods of Amniocentesis and Chorion biopsy. They pose a risk of complications and can only be performed in a limited number of hospitals, which also creates additional inconveniences for pregnant women,” Silvia Kostova added.

Silvena Hristova, chairperson of “Life with Down Syndrome” Foundation and a mother of a three – year old child with Down syndrome told her personal story:

“We had consultations with 7 specialists during the pregnancy; we went through early and late biochemical screening, integrated risk, echography. No specialist had ever told us that our child was likely to be born with Down syndrome, no one had advised us to do a prenatal test, in which the results were much more accurate. We were certain that our child was well. However, Mikaela was born with Down syndrome. I am already sure that there is no 100% in medicine! There are cases in families where the first child has Down syndrome, and during the second pregnancy they lose a healthy child after amniocentesis. Therefore, tests such as PrenaTest are an important option for the families. In Bulgaria the society refuses to accept our children because there is no adequate information. Provided we work hard with these children, the results can be positive.”

The meeting was attended by Maria Stoyanova, who is the 2 000th patient of PrenaTest in Bulgaria. She said that the genetic test was recommended to her by a doctor, who was monitoring her pregnancy because of her age. “He strongly recommended to me to do a non-invasive DNA test, not biochemical screening or an invasive method,” explained Maria.

Medical College – Varna Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of Its Establishment

November 21, 2017By Antonia GenovaScience and education No Comments

The Sixth Scientific Session for lecturers and students “75 years of Medical College – Varna” was opened at First Auditorium in MU-Varna on 17th November 2017.

The session was opened by the Director of the Medical College Prof. Dr. Dimitrichka Bliznakova, who addressed the audience with the words, “Today is a red-letter day for all of us, a day for evaluation, for analysis of the results, a day to take pride in our achievements, a day when we say to ourselves, “Yes, everything is flowing, yes, everything is changing.” Both, we ourselves and the circumstances around us! We are not the same, we are a bit wiser, some of us – with silver in their hair, but still keeping their spirit and wonderful memories of the life spent in this dignified and reputable medical establishment. We would like to thank to every one of you for your dedication and self-accomplishment. Thank you for what you have created and the heritage you have left to us. You have had the courage that enabled you to be not only contemplators, but also to be participants in the creation of MC-Varna.”

The Rector of MU – Varna Prof. Dr. Krasimir Ivanov congratulated the management of the Medical College on the hard work over the years and the generations of alumni who have become highly qualified specialists, and wished them a huge success in the future.

Congratulations to the audience were also presented by the Vice Rector of Innovation and Translation Medicine Prof. Dr. Hristina Grupcheva, the Director of Medical College – Sofia Prof. Vihren Petkov, Maria Boninska – the First Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Lidia Marinova – Deputy Chair of Municipal Council – Varna, Prof. Sonia Toncheva – Director of Shumen Affiliate, Assoc. Prof. Diana Dimitrova – Director of Veliko Tarnovo Affiliate, Mrs Lilyana Petrova – Chairperson of the National Association of Bachelor Pharmacists in Bulgaria.

The management of MU-Varna and the Medical College awarded with a plaque the Rector Prof. Dr. Krasimir Ivanov, the Vice Rectors Prof. Dr. Hristina Grupcheva, Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Prof. Dr. Albena Kerekovska, Assoc. Prof. Emanuela Mutafova, Assist. Rector Eng. Deyan Grancharov and the Deputy Directors of MC over the years Dr. Radka Kostova, Todorka Zheleva, Assoc. Prof. Diana Dimitrova.

More than 70 lecturers and employees of MU-Varna were awarded with honorary diplomas and awards for their long-term work. Special thanks were given for the successful accreditation and the excellent management to the heads of educational sectors, who were awarded with an honorary diploma.

Congratulatory addresses were received from Prof. Diana Ivanova – Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Assoc. Prof. Emanuela Mutafova – Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, Prof. Hristina Milcheva – Director of MC – Stara Zagora, Col. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivaylo Vazharov – Head of MHAT at MMA – Varna, Master-Pharm. Rada Pehlivanova – President of the Union of Pharmacists – Varna, Dr. Stefka Dzhankova-Director of Medical and Social Care Home – Varna, the Student Council at MU – Varna.

Musical greetings for the audience were performed by Dr. Rumyana Kirneva and the musicians from Vitality Acoustic Duo Stella Cherneva and Georgi Bodekov.

The scientific session was divided into six sections: Dental Health, Public Health and Health Care, Rehabilitation, Laboratory and Image Diagnostics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medical Cosmetics and Poster Section. The participants were 165, including 39 students from the Medical College. The conference gathered together well-known names and young researchers, who exchanged ideas and experience once again. 90 reports were delivered and 39 posters were presented altogether. The scientific papers are to be published in Varna Medical Forum, issued by Medical University – Varna.