“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/

A postdoctoral position in experimental in vitro models of cancer chemotherapy

The Dioscuri Centre is widening its scope to include some aspects of cancer biology. We seek a postdoctoral researcher with experience in cancer biology, tissue culture, or optical imaging to investigate differences in single-cell response of normal and cancer cells to chemotherapy, and how the response correlates with phenotypic, non-genetic heterogeneity prior to treatment.

This post is funded through the POLS grant “Phenotypic heterogeneity in cancer chemotherapy” carried out in collaboration with Professor Hesso Farhan, the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences at the University of Oslo, and the Institute of Pathophysiology, Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria.

The post is for two years, ideally starting in October 2021.

Deadline for submitting applications is 09-July-2021, 17:00 CET.

A full job description can be found here.

Equipment from Edinburgh has arrived!

After much hassle caused by Brexit-related changes in procedures for importing goods from the UK to the EU, we finally managed to ship some of the equipment from my previous lab to Warsaw. The equipment was kindly donated by the University of Edinburgh.

The procedure was quite complicated. Big thanks to Ania Jasczak and the company Gosselin Moving who have been instrumental in arranging the shipment.

We now feel experts in international shipment. If anyone faces a similar problem, we will be happy to provide advice.