A visitor from Ukraine

This week we welcomed Dr Viktoria Blavatska from the Institute for Condensed Matter Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Lviv. Viktoria has come to us thanks to the financial support from a joint initiative of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS).

Viktoria’s background is in theoretical statistical physics, but she plans to use the visit to explore new research areas and work on theory aspects of some biological projects we have been pursuing in the group. Perhaps we even manage to convert her to a biologist (I am only half-joking 🙂 )?

Bike trip

Spring has finally arrived to Warsaw, and some of us decided to celebrate it by going on a short bike trip to a sort of a beer garden near the Vistula River. As evidenced by the picture below, food options were limited but we still enjoyed the trip! The weather was excellent, the company was great, and the city bicycles performed better than expected.

“First light” from our SPIM

After some protracted battle with stubborn components, we have finally managed to obtain first images from our single-plane illumination microscope, which we have been building for some time. The image on the left is a 100 um green fluorescent bead from our “phantom sample” (beads embedded in transparent plastic). The resolution isn’t great yet but we hope we can substantially improve it over the next weeks.

Visitors from MPI for Evolutionary Biology

We welcome two guests from our German partner institution: Amanda de Azevedo Lopes, and Michael Raatz. They both work in the department run by Prof. Arne Traulsen at MPI Evo Bio in Ploen. We have already started working on two theoretical projects motivated by our experimental work on urinary tract infections. I expect some very interesting science to come out of it!

Fat Thursday

Today we celebrated Fat Thursday – the day marking the last Thursday of Carnival. Polish tradition calls for doughnuts (“pączki”) and angel wings (“faworki”), but since our group is multi-national, we have expanded the selection of food to other things, see the photo below. It was unfortunate that this year the festival coincided with Russia invading Ukraine, but we tried to be as cheerful as possible, considering the situation.

New lab member

Last week we welcomed Dr Pragyesh Dixit – out new lab member. Pragyesh wasn’t very impressed with the weather (it was cold, windy, and dark) but I hope that our warm welcome has at least partially compensated for this.

Pragyesh’s arrival signals a new phase in the development of our group – we are now opening up to ideas beyond bacteria and infections. Pragyesh will work on a NCN-funded project “Phenotypic heterogeneity in cancer chemotherapy”.

Patrycja Kuzma receives the Best Lab Manager Award!

I am very happy to announce that Patrycja who is the lab manager for the Dioscuri Centre and the soft-condensed matter group (Prof. R. Holyst) is this year’s recipient of the Best Lab Manager Award.

This is certainly well-deserved. Patrycja, besides looking after the lab, is a part time accountant, a biosafety expert, a mechanical engineer, and a delivery manager to nag suppliers who fail to deliver equipment and consumables on time. She does all this efficiently, and with a smile!

I congratulate Patrycja on her success and thank all the people who made it possible by tirelessly voting for Patrycja every day for the last two weeks.


Patrycja Kuzma becomes a finalist of Best Lab Manager Award 2021

Our lab manager Patrycja Kuzma has been selected as one of the 5 finalists of the Best Lab Manager Award 2021 competition:


Please help us to make history and let Patrycja become the first Polish woman to win this award by voting through the website
You can vote more than once in total, but not more than once per day.

Ilyas Djafer-Cherif awarded the PASIFIC fellowship

Contratulations to our post-doc Ilyas who has been awarded the PASIFIC fellowship. This was the first call of the new fellowship created by the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS). The purpose of the programme is to attract top-class young international researchers to PAS institutes. Ilyas has been selected out of approx. 350 applicants as one of the 35 recipients of the fellowship.

Ilyas is going to work on a project “Predictive models of bacterial colonization from machine-learning aided image processing”.

Well done Ilyas!

More on the results of the call: https://pasific.pan.pl/the-pasific-call-1-results-are-announced/