Dr Marta Gabryelska

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Personal profile

Research Biography

Since my time as an undergraduate I have been interested in transcriptomics. I have worked on the application of RNA interference in brain tumour therapy, profiling non-coding RNAs to distinguish non-cancerous from cancerous brain tissues and new therapeutic tools based on catalytic RNAs. I am particularly interested in RNA folding dynamics, localisation, structure-function relationship on the global scale and developing new methods to address these aspects.

In 2003, fascinated by the recent discovery of RNA interference I approached Prof. Jan Barciszewski (Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland), the Polish expert in the field and asked for a possibility to help in the research in his laboratory. I became Undergraduate Research Assistant and I was doing research on RNA interference in brain tumor therapy, downregulation of Gli1 transcription factor with long interfering RNA set and assisting in research projects. During that time, I learnt critical skills in RNA biochemistry. As a result of my excellent performance, in 2008 I was offered a PhD position in the laboratory under the joined supervision of Prof. Jan Barciszewski and Prof. Eliza Wyszko.

During my time as Graduate Research Fellow I was doing research on non-coding RNAs in the brain and their potential interactions with proteins, creating a small RNA library and seeking new targets for tumor treatment. I designed new catalytic nucleic acids and exploit the subject to develop a new method of prediction of RNA intracellular activity. Because of the significance of my research I was awarded a scholarship from the European Union. I learnt many critical biochemical skills and gained confidence in laboratory work. I was collaborating with medical scientists and hospitals. This multidisciplinary research strategy obtained a better understanding of scientific problems and provided practical solutions. I wrote many review articles, one of which was given an award for the best article in the journal.

In 2009 I was given opportunity to assist in a research project within the laboratory of our collaborator Dr Andre Dietrich in Strasbourg (The Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, National Center for Scientific Research, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France). Even though I learnt I was pregnant at the time I decided to use this opportunity to develop my career. I was doing research on ribozymes import into plant mitochondria. I used chimerical catalytic RNA composed of a specially designed trans-cleaving hammerhead ribozyme and a tRNA mimic in different conditions. It gave me a different perspective of RNA biochemistry in different organisms and first-hand experience of working abroad.

I defended my PhD thesis in 2013 while 7 months pregnant. Obtaining my PhD ended the fellowship at IBCH Polish Academy of Science and it took 12 months until I was able to continue my scientific career due to caring for my two young children. In 2014 I was successful in my application for a fully-funded postdoctoral position Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Human Genetics Unit, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK under the supervision of Dr Grzegorz Kudla. I was optimising new methods for analysis of cellular dsRNA and dsRNA-protein interactions and developing a new method for tracking RNA-RNA interactions in cells, whilst collaborating with Prof. David Tollervey (University of Edinburgh) and Prof. Eric Miska (University of Cambridge). This position required me to maintain good communication and collaboration, which involved organising regular communications by Skype and intermural research presentations. I was offered guidance in learning and mastering bioinformatics skills by my supervisor. Without prior knowledge in this area I accepted the offer and performed both wet laboratory and bioinformatics analysis of RNA-RNA and RNA-protein interactions during ribosome assembly and ZIKA virus infection which produced very good papers and gave me the skills for analysis of data in this proposal. I supervised undergraduate students and was mentoring and providing guidance to new members of the laboratory. This experience enriched my skills and expertise. I became a specialist in RNA interactomics, combining a very rare skill set of both laboratory work and data analysis, ideal for achieving my scientific goals.

Since 2019 I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders University, South Australia, under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Simon Conn. I am offering my expertise in RNA biochemistry to conduct research on RNA-RNA and protein-RNA interactions involving circular RNAs. I'm also very passionate about working on developing new method for enrichment of circular RNAs in total RNA pool.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Polish Academy of Sciences

Award Date: 30 Jan 2013

Master of Science, Adam Mickiewicz University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2007

Bachelor of Science, Adam Mickiewicz University

Award Date: 15 Jul 2005

External positions

Chief Executive Officer, STEMcognito Ltd

4 Jan 2021 → …


  • Q Science (General)
  • RNA biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • RNA-RNA interactions
  • science communication
  • transciptomics


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