Karolina Andralojc, PhD

Nijmegen, Netherlands

Dr. De Groot-Andralojc received her BSc in 2003 at the Dronten Professional Agriculture University in the Netherlands.  She continued on to study at the Polish Academy of Science in the Department of Endocrinology before earning her Master of Science at the University of Life Sciences in Poznan, Poland. She combined her research interest in the field of human embryology and endocrinology with a EU funding opportunity dedicated to PhD students, by obtaining the Marie Curie Fellowship to perform part of her PhD at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy. Outcomes of that research resulted in confirmation of the existence of the novel cell type within the endocrine pancreas (epsilon cells, secreting hormone ghrelin) and she was among the first to describe the developmental changes of ghrelin cells in human pancreas. Shortly after publishing part of her PhD, she was asked to join a European Union BetaImage Project (at the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Radboud, Nijmegen) to non-invasively image the pancreas. That work resulted in establishing the first and most reliable tracer to image the pancreas in humans in vivo and is currently being evaluated in a clinical setting.

Her scientific work in the field of imaging transplanted beta cells using radiolabeled Exendin was honoured with the Marie Curie Award in 2012 during the EANM meeting in Birmingham, the most prestigious scientific award in the field of Nuclear Medicine in Europe. For the last 2 years she worked with Prof. Dustin Updike at the MDIBL (Maine, USA) studying epigenetic mechanisms that regulate cellular totipotency and immortality in the germ cells of C. elegans, where she discovered a new gene relevant for germ cell function (elli-1) and published another paper on “A Forward Genetic Screen for Suppressors of Somatic P Granules in Caenorhabditis elegans”. Fascinated by unique potential of the germ cells she continues to study the epigenetic mechanisms involved in their biology.