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20032023

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Last updated 17th April 2024

Biography

I studied biology and obtained MSc in molecular biology from the University of Warsaw, Poland, working on identification and functional aspects of mtDNA mutations in tumours. Following my interest in science education and communication, after the university I co–founded and directed Science Festival School at the International Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.

Having decided to learn more and do research in evolutionary genetics, I started my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where I worked on metabolic and behavioural consequences of expression of putatively adaptive human genes in transgenic mice. I generated mice transgenic for genes thought to be important in human evolution, like GLUD2, a hominoid-specific gene encoding neurotransmitter-degrading enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase or a group of genes including ASPM and CENPJ that play a role in brain development and whose mutations cause microcephaly in humans. During my PhD I become more interested in functional and mechanistic basis of adaptive change, and followed this direction during a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany, where I worked on identification of putatively adaptive genes using whole–genome approaches. I studied copy-number variants in natural populations of Mus musculus domesticus using custom made microarrays and microsatellite scans to identify CNVs under selective sweeps.

I then switched my focus back to teaching and education and became involved in secondary and undergraduate education in the National Centre for Biotechnology Education at the University of Reading, UK, where I undertook a EU–funded project to develop practical teaching resources in synthetic biology for undergraduates. I worked on development of DNA parts, plasmids and protocols to manipulate them, as well as organised workshops for undergraduates and A-level students in synthetic biology. I helped establish and mentored the first Reading team for the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition, where the student–driven project—construction and characterisation of solar–powered, cyanobacteria-based fuel cell—was awarded a bronze medal. During a subsequent Wellcome Trust’s Society Award to NCBE, I initiated development of similar experimental synthetic biology resources for A–level students before joining University of Huddersfield.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Evolutionary genetics
  • Functional and mechanistic basis of adaptive change
  • Genetic mechanisms by which organisms adapt to the environment

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