11.02.2022 Events

Interview with a Computational Biologist Teresa Przytycka

Release date: February 11, 2022

This interview is a part of the Polish and Flourish series—where we speak with inspiring individuals living in the US who are either Polish or have Polish roots. This episode also honors the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

How challenging is it to become a woman scientist? To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science we share with you an interview with the Computational Biologist, Teresa Przytycka, PhD.

Watch the video here:

Learn about what computational biology is, based on an example of researching and fighting COVID-19 and cancer. Mrs. Przytycka speaks also about Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning’s contribution to computational biology, and about her early life dream to became a scientist.


Teresa Przytycka (born 1958) is a Polish-American computational biologist who works as a senior investigator in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is heading a research group focused on computational modeling and analysis of biological processes, with an emphasis on hypothesis and theory-driven questions that are enabled by large-scale biomedical data. Utilizing such large datasets her group develops new computational approaches to study diseases such as cancer, methods to infer and study complex biological networks, and methods to elucidate conformational properties of DNA.  

Teresa Przytycka

Teresa Przytycka was born in Myszkow, Poland. She obtained a magister degree from the Department Mathematics, Informatics and Mechanics of Warsaw University. After receiving a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (sponsored, in part, by Killam Doctoral Scholarship), she was appointed  a visiting assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside, and subsequently an assistant professor at Odense University, Denmark. During this time, her research has been focused on the theory of algorithms and graph theory. She gradually become interested in developing computational methods to study questions related to molecular biology and evolution. To follow this call, in 1997 she was awarded   Sloan-DOE research fellowship to do computational biology research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she continued as a Burroughs Wellcome Fellow and subsequently as a research associate supported by NIH Research Scientist Career Development Award. In 2003 she took her present position at NIH. As of 2022 she serves as an associate editor of several computational biology journals including Bioinformatics and PloS Computational Biology.

In 2021 Przytycka was named a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology, “for her fundamental algorithmic contributions to a wide range of problems in computational systems biology, especially in network analysis, network-based approaches to uncover disease genes, network reconstruction, regulatory roles of DNA conformation dynamics and RNA aptamer analysis”.

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