Katarzyna started her PhD at the Institute for Experimental Immunology in March last year as a part of the ImmunoSensation’s graduate program. She completed her studies in Biology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and afterwards spent two and a half years at the University of Virginia
Can you tell us in one sentence, what your PhD project is about?
It’s about the influence of sodium chloride on immune responses in kidney disease. Since the kidney is a “very salty organ”, it is quite interesting to see how the immune cells deal with it and how they are affected.
Where did you work before joining the ImmunoSensation Cluster?
I worked with Dr. Okusa and then Dr. Kinsey, both from the University of Virginia, USA. Their labs were studying immune responses in acute kidney injury. When I came there I was more interested in immunology than in nephrology, but these guys made me fascinated also with the kidney.
What made you come to Bonn and what do you like about it?
I really liked my previous lab, so it needed a real drag to make me leave. On one hand I was missing Europe (the architecture, the food, the culture), and on the other hand I wanted to move on. I felt that I must gain new experiences. I heard a talk by Prof. Christian Kurts (my current PI) on a conference and I liked his presentation. Also, when I was thinking about coming back to Europe for my PhD, the corresponding paper just came out and it caught my attention once again. Last but not least, Prof. Kurts is quite an icon in the nephrology field, so I gave it a try, and here I am.
Coming to the second part of the question: I like the broad spectrum of opportunities given me both by the Cluster and by my PI. Sometimes I feel like if I have an idea, but I don’t know how to do it, there is always a person who can help me, and there are all the resources (lab equipment, reagents) that I need. So I like the people/resource network. What’s also nice: there are plenty of PhD students, so it’s easy to socialize and support each other. Then, Bonn is such a beautiful city and there is plenty of good cheese, chocolate, and wine – and it makes me happy whenever I think about it!
What do you do when you are not in the lab?
I try to relax as much as possible. I spend a lot of time with my husband, we cook a lot and, as simple as it may sound, talk a lot, and we like walking (especially on the Rhine). I also find reading quite relaxing. Being away from home, I spend quite some time on Skype as well. I watch my favorite tv series… From time to time I try to create something pretty too. Ah! And of course, of course I learn German. I guess pretty normal things, but they make me happy.