Karolina Pyrzanowska

Education and work history

2020–present: PhD Student, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, UK.
Project: Biochemical and structural basis of bacteriophage tail-associated hydrolases of Diabetic Foot Ulcer AMR pathogens (Professor Graham Stafford, Dr John Rafferty)

20192020: MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Microbiology), University of Liverpool, UK.
Masters project: Investigating interactions between conjugative plasmids and phages in Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 (Dr James Hall)

20172018: Microbiology Research Assistant, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, USA.
Placement project: Development of an in vivo cleavage assay for Phage-related ribosomal cysteine proteases, Prp (Professor Gail Christie)

20152019: BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (sandwich degree with a placement year at VCU), University of the West of England, UK.
Final year project: Characterisation of the giant Acinetobacter bacteriophage TRS5 (Dr Dann Turner)

Current research and interests

I am fascinated by microbes at all levels of biological hierarchy, from the intricacies of their genomes to their impact on human health and the environment. I am particularly intrigued by microbial evolution, pathogenicity, and antibiotic resistance. Small genetic changes can drastically alter microbial phenotypes, having huge implications globally and giving rise to multi-drug resistant pathogens.

Central to my interests are the evolutionary forces that govern the spread of pathogenicity traits. Through these interests, it is clear that bacteriophages play an important role. They may also hold the key to combatting multi-drug resistant pathogens through phage therapy.

Through a combination of lab-based research and bioinformatics, my project aims to use live phage and their enzymes in the treatment of chronic topical Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU) caused by pathogens that are highly resistant of antibiotics. The PhD is supervised by Professor Graham Stafford and Dr John Rafferty (Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) and funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP in Mechanistic Biology.