Joanna Krupka, who started her Clinical Research Fellowship in 2017 explains her research and why she applied to the CRUK Cambridge Centre for a clinical fellowship...
What is your research project all about and what impact could it have on the way we understand, detect or treat cancer?
My research focuses on translational regulation in aggressive B cell lymphomas such as Diffused Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) or Burkitt Lymphoma (BL). Although potentially curable with chemotherapy and anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, recurrence of disease occurs in more than one third of patients.
I will study dynamic changes in translation during lymphoma progression. Tight integration of next generation sequencing data, mathematical modelling with subsequent wet-lab validation could reveal mechanisms of drug resistance acquisition and give insight into lymphoma early development.
My research project aims to study how these cognitive brain functions change in patients with glioblastoma from the point of diagnosis to after treatment with surgery. We are doing this with a mix of tablet computer tests of cognition and specialised brain scans to study the changes happening in the brain when patients develop these problems.
We hope that the knowledge generated by this research will help patients to better understand the effect the disease can have on their lives practically and the risks of surgery so that they can make more informed choices about their treatment. In the longer term, we hope to use this knowledge to develop safer surgical techniques which minimise the risk of worsening cognition.
What were you doing before you started your PhD?
I was working as a junior doctor in a teaching hospital at the Medical University of Warsaw. Simultaneously, I have been involved in a research project and teaching in the Department of Immunology.
Why are you interested in cancer research?
Cancer is not well understood disease, which in combination with its prevalence brings a lot of metaphoric and fearful thinking to our society. This is one of the reasons why cancer research not only increases our scientific knowledge but also changes people reactions and recognition while exposed to this subject.
Why did you want to study in Cambridge?
Cambridge is known of its vibrant scientific community. This is fully true indeed. State-of-art research and technologies combined with opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration makes a lot of space for creativity and development.
What are the best, and worst, things about being a PhD student here?
Life as a PhD student here is undoubtedly fast and intensive, but it gives students a freedom to maximize their intellectual potential and personalise the studying experience.