Get to know… your WRDTP reps – Karolina Pyrzanowska

Karolina did her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of the West of England. In between her 2nd and 3rd year she spent 12 months working in a research laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA, where she investigated an in vivo cleavage assay for a phage-related ribosomal cysteine protease. By the time she returned to the UK she was very keen to continue exploring the world of phages and so chose a 3rd year project characterising a giant Acinetobacter phage.

Having gained a lot of experience in this specialism, she then decided to embark on a research Masters at the University of Liverpool, where she looked at interactions between phages and conjugative plasmids, and their coevolution. Her scientific interests have now led her to the University of Sheffield where she is doing her PhD in the Stafford lab and is one of the White Rose DTP student reps!

A picture of Karolina holding a cat and smiling


What do you do when you’re not doing science?



When I’m not doing science I am most likely to be found spending too much time on Animal Crossing, scouting for cool and interesting looking plants to buy, knitting or taking my cats for walks!


Describe your research in one tweet.



I am hunting down bacterial serial killers (phages) in samples from farms (e.g. cow pat), all in the name of treating diabetic foot ulcer infections.


Who has most influenced your career so far?



Oh, this is a tricky one as there have been so many influential people. But I would have to say that during my placement year in America my supervisor Prof Gail Christie truly inspired me to pursue a career in research. Her incredible intelligence and love for the subject was so infectious and fuelled my passion for phages.


What do you value most about working in science?



Doing research is, I feel, unlike many other roles as you’re constantly trying to shine a light on what is unknown, which I find exciting. Working as a scientist in the lab connects me with like-minded people across the globe in a massive network of individuals, all striving to unravel the mysteries of life.


What professional benefits have you received from your use of Twitter?


I love being able to communicate directly with scientists all around the world in a relaxed and informal manner. The sharing of thoughts and ideas has helped to support and grow my knowledge and keeps me up to date with the forefront of research, which is crucial! It’s also nice to see your PIs use memes!