Courtesy, Agnieszka Dobrzyn
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Beaming proudly, biochemist Agnieszka Dobrzyn
(pictured left) shows off her
newly renovated lab, including her
latest expensive toy, a gas chromatograph.She
has reason to be proud, and not just of her
lab.Hired as a lab director in 2006 at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw, Dobrzyn has won several prestigious grants in the past year, and her five-person lab is publishing their research on obesity-related diabetes regularly.
"I really believe that I will be able to do something" to contribute to the field, she
smile wide and self-assured. Dobrzyn
, 35, was not as confident two-and-a-half years ago, when she
took a gamble that could have scuttled her
career.After a successful postdoc at the University of Wisconsin
(UW), Madison , she
ignored several job opportunities in the United States to return to Poland, a country with significantly less funding and fewer top research positions.She
wanted to be part of the changes she
was seeing--or at least hoped she
was seeing--in the Polish scientific community, even if it meant taking on some career-related risk.
"I have this kind of patriotic thinking that if we won't come back and if we won't make a change, then who will?"--Agnieszka Dobrzyn
grew up in Bialystok, a city in the east of Poland.When she
was a child, her
father, a chemist, worked as a food-safety tester for the government, and she
learned to love science by visiting his
lab.Later, she attended Warsaw University's Bialystok campus and then earned her Ph.D. in 2001 at the Medical University of Bialystok , studying the effect of exercise on muscle metabolism.