PhD Candidate, Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Justyna is a PhD candidate in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics program at WSU. She joined the Luca/Pique-Regi group after completing master’s degrees in Biotechnology at MCSU in Lublin, Poland and Microbiology&Cell Science at University of Florida. Her previous graduate work includes association studies on genetic variants in candidate gene PDCD1 and rheumatoid arthritis in the Polish population, and contributions to the functional characterization of the capsid of the common gene therapy vector AAV2 (Aydemir, 2016).
In the Luca/Pique-Regi group Justyna works on elucidating the effects of gene-by-environment (GxE) interactions on gene expression, and ultimately human health. In her first project Justyna used RNA-sequencing and a new machine learning approach to identify blood transcriptional signatures of 20 variables including psychosocial factors, blood cell composition and asthma symptoms, which she combined with evidence from Transcriptome-Wide Association Studies to demonstrate that negative psychosocial experiences modulate the causal link between immune gene expression and asthma risk (Resztak, 2020, submitted). Building on this work, Justyna helped design and led the laboratory work on a single-cell project investigating the interindividual differences in gene expression response to immune stimulation and glucocorticoids. She is currently working on elucidating the GxE effects on the transcriptional dynamic response and velocity for each of the major PBMC cell-types. Next, Justyna wants to use these data to explore the effects of psychosocial experiences on individual cell populations and on immune responses.