ELENA MAKAROVA studied special needs education and speech therapy at the Kyiv National Pedagogical University. She then moved to the University of Bern, Switzerland, to study educational science and Slavic and Russian philology, receiving her PhD from the Faculty of Human Sciences in 2007.  Makarova worked on number of research projects funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and was the SNSF research fellow at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and at the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. After completing her postdoctoral qualification in educational science in 2014, she spent two years at the University of Vienna as Professor of School Education with a special focus on social, cultural, and linguistic diversity. She then became Professor of Educational Science at the Research and Development Institute of the School of Education, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW).

Currently she has a position as a Professor of Educational Sciences and Director of the Institute for Educational Sciences at the University of Basel.

Her main research interests are acculturation and adjustment of minority youth, school dropout, value transmission in the family and school context, and gender and career choice.