Published May 4, 2021
The Department of Biological Sciences is pleased to announce that PhD student Thomas 'TJ' Kryzstek was awarded the Stephanie T. Niciszewska Mucha Dissertation Completion Fellowship for his work in the laboratory of Dr. Shermali Gunawardena. The fellowship award of $9,000. is made possible by the generous bequest of Stephanie Niciszewska Mucha. The award recognizes Kryzstek's Polish heritage, outstanding academic record and promise of productive scholarship. As part of the fellowship, TJ traced the Krzystek family’s roots back to Spytkowice, Poland, in the 1800's.
Kryzstek investigates the biological relevance of unique Rab-containing axonal transport complexes in the context of Huntington’s disease (HD) through a combination of high-resolution microscopy, fruit-fly genetics, and induced neurons from human iPSCs. As part of his dissertation, TJ is unraveling a putative HTT-Rab7 vesicle complex that carries cargo for both lysosome-mediated degradation as well as long-distance signaling.
The dissertation fellowship, made in honor of Stephanie T. Niciszewska Mucha, provides scholarships for UB students of Polish heritage. Niciszewska Mucha, a long-time nurse in Buffalo's VA Hospital, made several wise investments over the course of her long life. One of the most noteworthy was her purchase of stock in Medtronic, the first implantable heart pacemaker, in the 1960s. Before she passed away at 101 years old in December 2018, she bestowed a gift of $1 million dollars to the School of Nursing to support student scholarship. Mucha also left similar gifts to UB's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering. She and her husband, Joseph Mucha, also provided scholarships to thirty students of Polish heritage.
Learn more about the donor.