On Wednesday, 13th June, Maciej Geremek defended his thesis on primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) in the hall of the University of Groningen. His thesis is entitled "The classical genetic and genomic approach to the pathogenesis of primary ciliary dyskinesia"; his supervisors were Profs. Michal Witt (
International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw, Poland)
and Cisca Wijmenga. Why here in Groningen? Well, that’s a long story.
In his laudatio Prof. Witt explained that in 2003 the Vice-Chancellor (rector) of Utrecht University, Professor Willem Gispen, set up an International PhD Programme between Utrecht and the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw. His vision led to eight top Polish students performing their PhD research in cooperation with researchers in Utrecht. This programme was funded by Utrecht University, and
it was an important step in the evolution of the
International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw, Poland
, moving the postgraduate education it offered to a truly international level.
Maciej began working on the genetics of primary ciliary dyskinesia with Prof. Wijmenga in Utrecht in 2005 and spent several months doing lab work in Groningen in 2008. Since then he has completed his MD and is now nearing completion of his training as a neurologist in Warsaw. He hopes to become more involved with the genetic aspects of neurological disorders in the future.
During his PhD work Maciej moved into areas that were, at that time, not well explored in the study of human cilia biology and, with his mathematically-gifted mind, he got interesting results with his innovative bioinformatics approach. The field of cilia biology is now developing rapidly and gaining increased interest. Quite unexpectedly, it is becoming important in human biology as mutations in cilia genes have been associated with a wide range of human diseases (now collectively called cilliopathies). A number of genes from the list Maciej came up with based on his gene expression studies have already been implicated in cilliopathies, showing the robustness of his approach.
In his laudatio, supervisor Prof. Michal Witt said that each MD who also gains a PhD adds to the general strengthening of a more genuinely scientific approach to medicine.
Copies of the thesis are available from the secretariat, Genetics dept.
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