Dr. Katarzyna (Kasia) Kedziora joined the Department of Genetics in January 2021 as an Assistant Professor.
She also serves as a Co-Principal Investigator and Image Scientist of the Bioinformatics and Analytics Research Collaborative (BARC) in the School of Medicine. Dr. Kedziora is an exceedingly talented microscopist and image analyst with extensive experience in developing and applying advanced microscopy techniques, designing new image analysis algorithms, automating analysis pipelines, and teaching microscopy on all levels – from third graders to faculty members.
Dr. Kedziora’s imaging career began in fluorescence microscopy as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Dr. Jerzy Dobrucki at Jagiellonian University in Poland. Since then, each stage of her career has been focused on becoming a better imaging scientist. Kasia earned her PhD in Cell Biology in 2016 working in the lab of Dr. Kees Jalink at The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam. In the Jalink Lab, her research focused on using state-of-the-art microscopy techniques, including functional imaging, high content screening and super resolution microscopy, to study the motility of cancer cells. Dr. Kedziora continued her microscopy research as a postdoctoral researcher in the labs of Dr. Jeremy Purvis in the Department of Genetics and Dr. Jean Cook in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC. During her postdoctoral research, Kasia combined time-lapse live cell microscopy with machine learning to better understand how cells transition between cell cycle phases.
A significant proportion of Dr. Kedziora’s scientific career has been focused on developing and applying methods to automate microscopy and image analysis. Kasia has been involved in the development of a new method for calibrating confocal microscopes, a new imaging technique called single imaging Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (siFLIM) for live-cell time-lapse experiments and a new method that utilized optotaxis to control chemotactic gradients in microscopy experiments.
Notably, Dr. Kedziora was recently named as a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Imaging Scientist and earned a five-year, $740,000-grant for her project titled, “Empowering Biologists with Deep Learning Approaches for Image Analysis.” The CZI’s Imaging program aims to drive breakthroughs in curing, preventing, or managing disease by advancing the imaging field. This includes increasing collaboration between biologists and technology experts, improving microscopy tools and expanding access to these tools, and supporting increased training and community building. For her CZI project and through her role in the BARC, Dr. Kedziora provides imaging support to the UNC community of biological and biomedical researchers — she develops customized and automated data analysis and visualization pipelines; provides access to tools and resources to improve data and metadata handling, quality control, sharing and reproducibility; and identifies and supports projects that would benefit from machine and deep learning approaches.
Dr. Kedziora also shares her passion and knowledge of microscopy and image analysis through teaching at UNC and outreach in the local community. Kasia has taught in some capacity since she was an undergraduate at Jagiellonian University in Poland. At UNC, she currently teaches quantitative image analysis and light microscopy to graduate students through courses in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB), Genetics and Molecular Biology (GMB) and Cell Biology and Physiology (CBP) curricula. As part of her CZI grant, Dr. Kedziora is also in the process of developing a workshop focused on deep learning approaches in microscopy image analysis for the UNC research community. Kasia also participates in an outreach program started in the Purvis lab to work with a local school (Central Park School for Children in Durham) to teach 3rd graders how to start their science adventure with paper-based microscopes, foldoscopes, and then coordinates visits to UNC to view slightly more advanced microscopes.