12 January 2021
“I wanted to experience how different European research organizations operate and bring back best practices to my own group,” she says. After 13 years abroad, Kamieniarz-Gdula is now back in her home country of Poland. “The EMBO Installation Grant goes beyond typical research expenses enabling me to implement activities that are otherwise difficult to fund such as lab retreats. I am confident my group will benefit from them as much as I did.”
After her undergraduate studies in Poland, Kamieniarz-Gdula moved to Germany to do her PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute in Freiburg. Here she became interested in epigenetics. “It was a great experience to witness first-hand the rapid development in this new field,” she says. She then moved to Oxford, UK, where she grew interested in why and how cells know when to stop reading genes. In Oxford, she explains, she benefitted from interacting with scientists outside her own field, and she maintains an interdisciplinary approach in her work today. “Having people around who work on different model organisms can really extend your horizon,” she says.
As a postdoctoral researcher Kamieniarz-Gdula demonstrated that the machinery that normally operates at gene ends also triggers premature termination for a subset of human genes. “It was known that bacteria and yeast regulate gene expression by stopping reading early. I was able to demonstrate that this also occurs in animals,” she says. However, just why and how this occurs is still unclear. “With the EMBO Installation Grant we will use a functional genomics approach to try to understand how early transcription termination shapes human gene expression,” Kamieniarz-Gdula explains.