Iga Jancewicz

PhD candidate, Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology


Choose the path that you are feeling comfortable with.

What do you do?

I am doing my PhD in the field of molecular biology of cancer. I try to work out how malignacies develop in breast cancer. I focus on epigenetic regulation, that means how gene expression changes when cancer becomes aggressive. Therefore I deal with both nucleic acids and proteins on a daily basis.
In the lab I work with cancer cell lines a lot. This work is demanding, because cells don't always grow as planned, sometimes you have to work on weekends or holidays. But I find it rewarding when the data I get supports my hypothesis.

Why did you choose this field?

This is an interesting thing. I suppose it was not a coincidence that I learned about Marie Curie in primary school (my mum tought me about her) and I am working in Marie Curie memorial Institute now.
I learned about biotechnology in high school and as I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of medical studies I decided to study biotechnology. During my university time I learned that I could understand molecular biology extremally easy and searched for opportunities to work more in this field. This way I got my first research funding and started my PhD project.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

To be honest I still find myself very young and only at the beginning of my career. But the most important thing for me up to date was to learn that work-life balance is so crucial and no scientific goals are worth loosing physical or mental health and burn out. Hence, I believe my greatest achievement is truly understanding and learning how to relax, to be able to come back to the lab with new energy and ideas the next day.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love my work, because it gives me a lot of freedom. Freedom of thinking, freedom of ideas, freedom to ask new questions, freedom of the working hours, too. I also love it because I learn new things every day. One day it is something big, the other it is something little, but there is always something new.

Best advice for next generation?

Choose the path that you are feeling comfortable with. Even if you don't feel safe and powerful at the beginning, it is the best way to be happy in the end.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. - Marie Sklodowska-Curie

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