The Polish-US Fulbright Commission has completed the selection process for the Fulbright STEM Impact Award 2022–23 and Fulbright Senior Award 2023–24. Amongst the chosen applicants are researchers from the JU Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology and JU Faculty of Philosophy. Thanks to the funding provided by the programme, they will be able to carry out their research projects in the United States.
Fulbright STEM Impact Award is a short-term grant for researchers representing STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) who manage research projects and have a supervisory role over researchers at Polish higher education and research institutions. The grant allows them to spend 2–6 weeks at a host institution in the US doing research and/or teaching projects, and learning about the commercialization of science and development of successful grant applications.
The first Fulbright STEM Impact Award was given to Dr hab. Joanna Kozieł, Prof. UJ from the JU Department of Microbiology. Her project is focused on investigating the issue of osteoimmunology, particularly the role of epithelial cells in the homeostasis of the skeletal system. Her work is a continuation of previous projects, which have proven that gingival keratinocytes control the process of resorption of periodontal bones, and a particularly important role in this process is played by negative regulators of inflammation. Future research on the subject will be carried out in the spring of 2023 at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, as boasts an extensive and specialised research infrastructure, access to biobank and many years of practical experience in studying periodontal bone diseases.
The same award was also given to Dr hab. Katarzyna Miękus, Prof. UJ from the JU Department of General Biochemistry who, during her six week long stay at the Sloan Kettering Institute, plans to learn more about the process of cancer transformation in individual cells in genetically modified mouse models of human cancers. ‘During my stay, I’d like to learn to isolate individual cells of cancerous tissue, analyse and image their genetic profiles in an environment that simulates the process of cancer transformation, and get to know more about the bioinformatic tools needed to analyse the sequencing of individual cells. These methods will allow me to continue my research on the impact of inflammation and MCPIP1 protein on subsequent stages of cancer development and the role of these factors in drug resistance after I return to Poland. Additionally, I will be able to take a close look at the work of a world-class research team, learn from the best and write papers. These experiences will be crucial for my future activities and project management, and my knowledge could be implemented in my Faculty’, explained Dr hab. Katarzyna Miękus, Prof. UJ.
Fulbright Senior Award is a grant for scholars who hold, at a minimum, a PhD degree and are employed at higher education or research institutions in Poland. Aim of the grant is to conduct a research or research and teaching project in USA.
One of the Fulbright Senior Awards 2023–24 will go to Prof. Marcin Szwed from the JU Institute of Psychology. For six months, he will work with Prof. Christopher Baldassano in his lab at Columbia University in New York. Prof. Baldassano is a leader in studying the human brain with naturalistic stimuli, such as movies and video games, and his lab has developed game-changing analysis tools. Taking advantage of how brains respond to these naturalistic stimuli, these tools can reveal hidden neural dynamics. ‘I want to employ them in the pursuit of my own lab’s overarching research questions about the nature and function of sensory deprived areas in deaf and blind humans. I believe that their application can lead to important breakthroughs. My goal is to master these tools while at Columbia and then transfer them to Poland and make them a cornerstone of my lab’s methodology for the upcoming years. I also want to use my stay in the United States to build connections between the Polish neuroimaging community and the East Coast neuroimaging community that will result in bilateral student and postdoc exchanges, new common research projects workshops, and conference symposia’, said Prof. Marcin Szwed.
The Polish-US Fulbright Commission is an educational foundation, which administers the Fulbright Program in Poland. We also run an EducationUSA Advising Center, where Polish students can receive information and advice about studies in the U.S.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange programme of the US government. For over 75 years, the Fulbright Program has supported cooperation for the development of science, culture, and interpersonal, as well as inter-institutional relations between the United States and over 160 countries. The task of the Program is not only to support the scientific community, but also to promote creative leadership. Shaping future social leaders, politicians and government advisers is an activity of the Commission, part of the process of realizing Fulbright’s dream of living in peace and reducing the risk of international conflicts. Thanks to the graduates of the Program, awareness and intercultural sensitivity are instilled in those people who directly decide about social order in the world.