Pawel Swietach
University Lecturer at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Oxford University

I am University Lecturer at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG), Oxford University. My research is funded by the Royal Society through a University Research Fellowship and the Medical Research Council. I am a Fellow of Corpus Christi, Oxford. I teach undergraduates in Medicine and, from 2011, in Biomedical Sciences.

I was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to Oxford in the 1990s to study Physiology. My PhD thesis (2001-2004) was on spatial pH regulation in cardiac myocytes and my postdoctoral (2004-2008) research in was in the field of calcium signalling and membrane currents in the heart. I obtained training in cellular physiology techniques in the laboratories of Professor Richard D. Vaughan-Jones (Oxford), my mentor, and Professor Kenneth W. Spitzer (Salt Lake City, USA).

At present, I am a Principal Investigator in a research laboratory that has an interest in studying the effects of ions and small molecules on cell function. We are particularly interested in the effects of hydrogen ions (protons), calcium ions, sodium ions, ATP and molecular oxygen on cellular physiology in health and disease. We investigate these by real-time, spatio-temporal imaging using fluorescence techniques. Our main research questions address the homeostatic (regulatory) and signalling pathways that operate in heart myocytes and in tumours. We combine core imaging techniques with electrophysiology (to measure membrane currents caused by ions), genetic techniques (to study gene regulation and to induce gene expression), molecular biology techniques (to correlate functional data with protein/gene expression), and mathematical modelling (to produce algorithms for analysing data and to disentangle complex experimental observations).

I work very closely with my mentors, Richard Vaughan-Jones at DPAG and Kenneth Spitzer in Salt Lake City. My main collaborators in Oxford are Professor Adrian L. Harris at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (cancer biology), Professor Nic Smith at the Computing Laboratory (mathematical modelling), Dr Maike Glitsch at DPAG (electrophysiology and developmental biology) and Dr Damian Tyler at DPAG (magnetic resonance imaging). My main collaborators outside Oxford are Professor Silvia Pastorekova at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, Professor Claudiu Supuran at the University of Florence, Professor Christoph Renner at Zurich University Hospital and Dr Virgilio Lew at Cambridge University.