Magdalena Sadys graduates from the University of Worcester today with a PhD, after completing ground-breaking research in to forecasting for fungal spores.
Magdalena’s journey from Ustka in Poland to Worcester has been something of an academic odyssey. After completing a five-year integrated undergraduate and Master’s degree in Biology at the Pomeranian University in Poland, Magdalena headed for Portugal to study Aerobiology at the University of Évora.
“During the research for my Masters, I had seen an article about aerobiology,” said the 30-year-old. “It seemed very interesting, so I looked in to the possibilities and found a course in Portugal. On that course, my interest in the subject grew day by day, and after speaking to several academic contacts back in Poland, I decided to apply for a PhD here in Worcester. The National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit here has a tremendous international reputation, and it seemed like the logical place for me to further my research.”
Magdalena used advanced statistical techniques to develop a forecasting model capable of predicting the varying levels of fungal spores in the atmosphere at different times of the year. As she explains: “Fungal spores can cause allergic reactions in sensitised individuals, and can act as harmful pathogens for crops, so it is very useful to be able to forecast their levels in the atmosphere in much the same way as the Met Office might forecast rain.”
“At first the results from my research did not look too promising, but whilst I was attending the European Symposium on Aerobiology, I became interested in the spatial modelling of bioaerosols. This turned out to be the key that unlocked the whole puzzle, and I knew I’d hit the bulls-eye.”
The quality and significance of Magdalena’s research is reflected in the fact that a mere two weeks after successfully completing her PhD, Magdalena was offered a research post at the renowned Rothamsted Research institute in Harpenden, where she is currently engrossed in working with the pollen produced by cereal plants to improve agricultural yields.