Dr. Marianna Raczyk joins the WELCOME2 team

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that will help you grow” – interview with Dr. Marianna Raczyk.

Dr. Marianna Raczyk is joining the WELCOME2 ERA Chair team. She will take the postdoc position and work closely with Prof. Carsten Carlberg towards establishing the Center of Excellence for Nutrigenomics at the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research PAS. We asked Dr. Raczyk about her research tasks within the project and upcoming scientific investigations.

Why did you choose nutrition as the core area of your research work?

Marianna Raczyk: From the beginning of my studies, I have been looking for a field of science that would help me improve the quality of human life. Since my interests have always always revolved around dietary compounds and how we depend on what we eat, nutritional science and nutrigenomics appeared the perfect tools to achieve this goal. So many of us don’t realize how much of our health depends on our eating habits. I wish my research work gives people the knowledge and instruments to make conscious nutritional choices and hence makes a real difference in their lives.

It’s been quite a road that led you to the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research PAS in Olsztyn?

MR: I graduated from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in food technology and nutrition. During my doctoral studies at Poznań University of Life Sciences, I began to specialize in studying the oxidative stability of phytosterol esters to find out how these bioactive compounds act after thermal treatment and to give a better overview on the ways they can be supplemented to our diet. After my Ph.D. I worked for one year at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma as a Trainee in the Pesticide Residues Department. I was responsible for the approval and control of active compounds used in plant protection, and the evaluation of residues of active substances in plant and animal-based foods. Then I came back to Poland and for almost three years worked as an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Food Sciences at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. I have primarily investigated plant-based products, oils, phytosterols, grains, and cereal products. Mostly with a focus to make healthier bakery products with natural bioactive compounds while keeping their high quality and consumer acceptance.

What made you want to join Prof. Carlberg’s team?

MR: It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Warsaw University of Life Sciences, but as an American writer Caroline Myss says “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that will help you grow.” I also follow the rule “no matter what and where, important with whom,” so I always put people first. Prof. Carlberg is the world-class expert in nutrigenomic research and when I learnt he was coming to Poland to start a new research group in this discipline I knew I wanted to work with him. Nutrigenomics is a relatively new discipline, still crawling in our country, and I felt there is something big and important going to start in Olsztyn. I’m very keen on new challenges, bold decisions and ambitious ideas – I think that, besides my scientific record, these were the things that made Carsten consider me for his team member.

And here you are taking the position of a postdoc in Prof. Carlberg’s team….

MR: Yes, I’m very excited about this opportunity! The first tasks of the group led by WELCOME2 ERA Chair holder will be to investigate the effect of vitamin D and other nutritional compounds on the changes in the epigenome and transcriptome of tissues and cell types of healthy and (pre)diseased individuals. At this initial stages I’ll support Carsten in building the scientific team, prepare research applications to funding agencies, and of course do the research work in the lab..

What do you hope to achieve in the Institute?

MR: My professional development is very important to me, so I am strongly motivated to continue my scientific career in the Institute, especially in the light of the results of the recent evaluation of Polish research centers, where the Institute got the highest A+ category in food technology and nutrition. It’s a big honor and a great opportunity to work in one of the best research centers in the country. Such working circumstances and the person of Professor Carlberg give me a lot of motivation to look for innovative ways to improve human health through nutrition and lifestyle choices. My future goal is to do habilitation in the field of nutrigenomics, so I feel there couldn’t be a better place to achieve this. Being part of the WELCOME2 team will also allow me to work creatively, which is an essential factor, as I don’t like being limited to the beaten tracks and ready-made solutions.

Where will we find you if not in the laboratory or writing a scientific paper in the office?

In my free time I enjoy sports and traveling. I like to get to know new cultures, places and people. Anong sport disciplines cycling is my number one choice. However, I also like running and swimming, especially that those activities are easier to squeeze into a daily schedule. My favorite places to rest and refresh my mind are mountains, sea and by the lakes.

Recent News

Life Science Open Space

Prof. Carsten Carlberg will open the “Foodtech Solutions for Cancer Patients” session during The Life Science Open…

Ranjini Ghosh Dastidar joins ERA Chair WELCOME2 Nutrigenomics group

Ranjini Ghosh Dastidar, a graduate of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India joins prof. Carsten Carlberg’s WELCO…