Visitor of the Week: Martin Sztacho


Meet Martin Sztacho of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Martin is a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Biology of the Cell Nucleus led by Pavel Hozák. The CSHL first-timer is on campus for the 2018 Nuclear Organization & Function meeting where he presented a poster entitled “The functional characterization of PI(4,5)P2 - rich Nuclear Lipid Islets and their importance in regulation of RNA Polymerase II driven transcription”.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I am interested in understanding the relationship between nuclear architecture and regulation of RNA pol II transcription process. I employ a multi-disciplinary approaches using various imaging and biochemical techniques combined with the mass spectrometry to describe the role of phosphoinositides in nuclear compartmentalization. 

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
As I earned my PhD, I studied the involvement of actin cytoskeleton and phosphoinositide interactions in the regulation of bone homeostasis. During my first postdoctoral fellowship, I worked on protein-lipid interactions while studying the regulatory mechanisms of autophagy. Then six months ago, I had the great opportunity to join Professor Hozák’s laboratory which is pioneering in the field of nuclear phosphoinositides.    

How did your scientific journey begin? 
During my undergraduate studies, I became fascinated by how relatively small changes, like phosphorylation/dephosphorylation of a particular protein, can lead to a huge change in the entire cell behavior with drastic consequences, such as cancerous progression. I became interested in learning as much as I could about protein-protein interaction and their regulations, which led to my interest in protein-phospholipid interactions during my PhD and postdoctoral training. 

Was there something specific about Nuclear Organization & Function meeting that drew you to attend?
This meeting covers the main topic of my research which deals with nuclear compartmentalization, and it has fully met my expectations. 

What is your key takeaway from the meeting?
Realizing that the observations of other people are in accordance with a number of ours. 

What did you pick up or learn from the meeting that you plan to apply to your work?  
Biology of the cell nucleus in a very complex field wherein I still feel like a rookie. This meeting was a great opportunity for me to gain huge amounts of information from the field’s leading researchers, and to informally discuss and get feedback on my work. From this meeting and these discussion, I will return to my institute with several ideas for my research.  

If someone curious in attending a future iteration of this meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I highly recommend this meeting to a scientist at any stage of his/her career. I found it very helpful and inspiring, and think others will have the same experience.

How many CSHL meetings have you attended?
This is my first CSHL meeting, and I would be very happy if I get an opportunity to visit CSHL again in the future.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
I have to admit that in addition to the compelling scientific vibes, CSHL – Banbury where I was housed and the main area where the meeting was mostly held – is fantastically located. I am actually very sorry that I forgot to pack my running shoes because then I would have been able to see more of it. 

Martin’s participation at this meet was enabled by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (17-09103S) and the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR, v. v. i. institutional support (RVO: 68378050) . On behalf of Martin, thank you to these institutions for supporting and enabling our young scientists to attend CSHL meetings where they expand their knowledge and network. 

Thank you to Martin for being this week's featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here.