Barbara Czechowska

Barbara Czechowska

Barbara (Basia) is a research associate in our lab – joined us in May 2023.

Her interest in biology and how the world works started in high school and then she was successfully crowned by getting a Bachelor’s degree in Biology studies (UMK Toruń-Poland) in 2020. Her study was in the neuroscience field – “Animal models in anxiety disorders”. The purpose of this study was to present various animal models of anxiety disorders to show how animal models are important and valuable in research.

After that, she began biotechnology Master’s studies which she ended with the highest grade in 2022 (UMK Toruń-Poland). That was the time she fell into the insect’s world. During her Master’s thesis, she was studying insects, and their physiology, especially an insect’s heart. The thesis was: “Do extremely low doses of the insecticide bendiocarb modify the heart function of the American cockroach Periplaneta americana?”. The subject of the study was the effect of an extremely low dose (10-10 M) of an insecticide from the carbamate group, bendiocarb, on the heart function of the American cockroach Periplaneta americana. It was hypothesized that such a low concentration of bendiocarb could modify the heart function of the insect. The goal of the follow-up study was to try to identify the mechanism of action of bendiocarb. A second hypothesis was posed, in which it was assumed that bendiocarb induces stress conditions for the insect which may cause the release of octopamine, a stress hormone in insects. An indirect way to test this hypothesis was to evaluate the effect of octopamine on the cockroach’s heart rate. Next, a high similarity was found between the effect of bendiocarb and that of octopamine. My resume is that bendiocarb in such a low dose is acting differently (it’s slowing down the heart rate instead of accelerating it) so it’s not working in a direct way like normal carbamates, it looks like it’s acting in an indirect way through create stress conditions in cells which are related to the release of octopamine.

Now, Barbara is helping us with the experiments, but also to manage the lab. Equally, she is learning techniques, and learning mosquito and fly rearing from the most experienced colleagues. She is very keen on molecular biology as well, so without concern, she will develop her skills in the Ke Dong lab.