Fulbright open lectures at the Medical University of Warsaw

The Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission and the Medical University of Warsaw are pleased to invite for a series of guest lectures conducted by Fulbright grantees and alumni.

The lectures will be conducted in English and will showcase variety of topics and discplines, such as arts, theatre, history and politics. Participation is free of charge and open to everyone. No registration is required.

Are you a Fulbright grantee or alumnus/alumna interested in becoming a presenter? Send a short abstract (up to 300 words) to Paulina Kubylis.

Date and time
Lectures will take place once a week, on Fridays at 5:00 pm

Medical University of Warsaw, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 61.


Schedule will be updated on a regular basis. Join the Facebook event to get notified: https://www.facebook.com/events/431084050877382

February 28

Topic: “Measuring how mountains evolve from tens of years to millions of years, examples from the Andes of Argentina and Chile”

High topography has captivated the human imagination and embodied the spirit of adventure beginning with our earliest ancestors. The character of mountains reflect the complex interplay between the Earth’s internal deformation along with the climate and biota that sculpt the deforming surface over millions of years. Yet within these millions of years, individual and interconnected processes operate over timescales spanning more than 10 orders of magnitude and spatial scales from the micro to macro. Apart from observations collected by people over the timescales of civilizations, the rock record is our only means to understand how mountains evolve. While the physical character of rocks provide remarkable first order information regarding the evolution of the planet, ever more sophisticated geochemical approaches allow us to interrogate the processes operating at the Earth’s surface at various timescales. Using these geochemical tools we can identify when, for example, the Earth’s surface increased in elevation and link it back to processes deep within the Earth. Similarly, we can connect the dynamics of erosion over thousands of years as it propagates through rising mountain ranges as a wave of erosion to how sediment is delivered downstream to basins. This presentation will highlight some of these approaches as applied to understanding the evolution of the Andes mountains between 30°S and 35°S latitude, approximately near Santiago de Chile and Menodza, Argentina.

Presenter: Dr. Gregory Hoke

Gregory Hoke is an associate professor of Earth sciences at Syracuse University.  Hoke is a geoscientist who applies a variety of approaches to constrain the history and rates at which the Earth’s surface topography evolves through time and space. His work is in and adjacent to mountains and involves the use of in-situ cosmogenic radionuclides, stable isotopes of carbonate and waters in modern and ancient settings, topographic analysis and field geology. Hoke has worked extensively in Argentina, Chile, SW China and, in recent years, has extended his research to the Northeastern USA with a particular focus on glacial erosion. During his year in residence at the University of Wrocław he will extend his interest in glacial erosion to Europe by working with Polish colleagues to quantifying the timing and magnitude of glacial erosion in the Tatra and Sudets mountains through the lens of cave networks. Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse University in 2009, Hoke was a Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Universität Potsdam, Germany and a US National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship Program postdoc at the Instituto Argention de Nivología, Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales in Menodza, Argentina. He earned his doctoral degree in Geological Sciences from Cornell University and a bachelor of Science in Geological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Hoke is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and an associate editor for the GSA journal Geosphere.

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 23
Time: 5.00pm

February 21

Topic: “Studia Humanitatis: The Intellectual Contributions of the European Renaissance”

What do we owe to the intellectual thought of the Renaissance? This question has pervaded the research of Intellectual Historians since the 19th century. In this lecture, the speaker will discuss Renaissance Humanism, the central intellectual and educational discipline of the Renaissance in Europe. In so doing, he will discuss how our historical interpretation has changed over time and what research there is yet to be done to understand this crucial period in our shared past with specific attention drawn to East Central Europe and its role in the European Renaissance at large.

Presenter: Michael LoPiano

Michael is a fifth-year combined PhD student in History and Renaissance Studies at Yale University from New Haven, Connecticut. His research focuses on Renaissance Humanists in the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Central Europe across church, state, and university boundaries while tracing the development of Humanist ideas between Italy and the region. Michael examines early print and manuscript books, epistolary correspondence, and archival records while exploring the relationship between text, authorship, and patronage in humanist historiography.

Michael graduated with a B.A. degree in History and Italian from Johns Hopkins University with general honors as well as honors from both his major departments in 2015. There he completed a joint History-Italian senior thesis (submitted in English and Italian) analyzing humanist historiographical techniques and Papal propaganda in Bartolomeo Sacchi il Platina’s Liber de vita Christi ac omnium pontificum (1474) on behalf of which he received a nomination for the 2015 Kouguell prize for best senior thesis. Michael is proficient in Italian, French, German, Latin, and Polish.

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 23
Time: 5.00pm

January 17

Topic: ”From Dybbuk to Skrzypek: A brief history of Jewishness in Polish performance”

From the interwar period onwards, Jewish cultural material and production has been part of the bustling theatrical scene in Poland, whether performed independently, in partnership, or through modes of translation and cultural transmission from Polish to Jewish spheres, and vice-versa. Throughout that time, Jewish material and performed Jewishness has been one means of exploring both ongoing and new conversations about the world beyond the theatre. This talk will highlight several critically acclaimed – and commercially successful – performances from the past century alongside their significance within changing political and cultural contexts.

Presenter: Rachel Moss

Rachel Merrill Moss is a doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University and a 2018-2019 Fulbright grantee to Poland. In her dissertation, Chosen Peoples: Performances of Jewishness in Poland, 1918-2018, Rachel examines stage and public performances in Poland, specifically exploring shifting representations of Jewishness in conversation with changing national politics and culture. She has presented work at the American Society for Theatre Research, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, ASEEES, BASEES, and the Polish-Jewish Studies Working Group and been published in the Journal of American Drama and Theatre. With Debra Caplan, Rachel is co-editor of the forthcoming collection, The Dybbuk Century: The Jewish Play that Possessed the World.

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 8

Time: 5.30pm

January 10

Topic: ”Geographic Inequality in Cities of the United States: A Matter of Life and Death”

Imagine a place where people living in a neighborhood on one side of a street live twenty years longer than do those living in the neighborhood on the other side. Unfortunately, there is no need to imagine, because such a place exists in the relatively small city of Nashua, New Hampshire. In fact, this type of disparity can be found in cities all across the United States. Such disparities are due, in part, to inequalities in the urban landscape. From availability of amenities, to the spatial mismatch of employment opportunity, to issues of environmental injustice. Collectively, these and other life inequalities can have a significant and deleterious effect on the morbidity and mortality rates of various populations. These inequalities and effects also frequently take on a spatial connotation that make them ripe for geographic analysis.

Using data released for the first time in 2018 as part of the United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Project (USALEEP), this research examines differences in life expectancy in an analysis of urban settings. Following a national overview of urban America, life expectancies and quality of life at the neighborhood level are provided via statistical analysis and field research in the city of Detroit as well as the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Living conditions and expected mortality are both revealing and troubling and help shed light on the prevalence of such substantive differences throughout urban America. The data and resulting analysis help to portend the need to bring planning and policy awareness to stark differences in life expectancies at the local level. Achieving progress in quality of life through sustainable development, particularly at the neighborhood level, requires careful planning that involves community input and seeks to attain equity for all. 

Presenter: Christopher Cusack 

Christopher Cusack is a Professor in the Department of Geography, Outdoor Recreation, and Planning at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire. His areas of specialization include Sustainability Planning and Geospatial Technologies. Chris has served as the President of the New England/St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (NESTVAL), as well as Chair of the Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. Highlights of his work include multiple publications co-authored by Keene State College students. His most memorable and enjoyable professional experiences involve national and international travel with his students. In 2015, Chris received the Distinguished Teacher Award from Keene State College. During the Fall 2019 semester he is a Fulbright Teaching Scholar at the University of Lodz, in Lodz, Poland. 

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 8

Time: 5.30pm

December 13

Topic “The US Education System: Structure, Status, and Climate”

This lecture will include an overview of the structure and function of the US Education system from kindergarten to the Post-Secondary level. It will include a discussion of the changes and various movements in the US regarding education reform. Areas of specific interest will include the education of individuals with disabilities, school choice, and changing paths for University students. The climate and atmosphere within the education system will be discussed from the perspective of all major stakeholders: students, teachers, parents, and administrators. 

Presenter: Taylor Wichtendahl

Taylor Wichtendahl is from Virginia Beach, Virginia where she grew up with her parents, two sisters, and many dogs. As a young teen, Taylor and her mother created a nonprofit program for individuals with Autism called Autism Buddies. Her work with this program inspired Taylor to pursue a career in education.

Taylor is a graduate of George Mason University (Fairfax, VA), where she earned her undergraduate degree in history and her graduate degree in Special Education. During her time at Mason, Taylor taught at a postsecondary program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also worked in various jobs supporting individuals with disabilities. On campus, she was involved in various activities such as the student newspaper and an array of community service organizations. During her undergraduate career, Taylor traveled outside of the US for the first time as part of a two-week study abroad trip to Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. During this trip, Taylor fell in love with Poland and has been eager to return ever since.

After her Fulbright year, Taylor will return to the US and begin teaching full-time in a K-12 classroom while pursuing a doctoral degree in education. In her spare time, Taylor loves to walk her dog, Belle, and is an avid reader.

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 23 

Time: 5pm

December 6

Topic “From Interest to Action: Student-Driven Learning and the Future of Medical Education”

When was the last time you fell in love with learning? Advances in the fields of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and robotics will fundamentally change the concept of “work” in our society. The consensus view is that humans will only be needed to perform work that technology can not, those tasks requiring higher-order critical thinking, innovation, emotional engagement, or manual dexterity along with real-time problem-solving.

We must also acknowledge that the present state of education wholly fails to prepare students for success. Curricula promotes success for a small subset — only those who can master “one size fits all” academic standards. This preparation in isolation of personal quality development, professional knowledge, and innovative mindsets, fails to foster the success of all students based on their unique strengths.

While not a cure-all for education’s ills, I advocate instead for replacing the current compliance model of schooling with an agency model of human life, one that leverages the natural curiosity and risk-taking of youth to inspire the next generation. This process can be dubbed “student-driven learning” (SDL) in which we absolve traditional role schema to place students in the driver’s seat of their education. I will describe the work I performed through my non-profit, ReinventED Lab to serve as a model for this movement.

Further, building off my own experience in medical technology, I will highlight the increasing demand for healthcare providers to simultaneously master the clinical content and thinking necessary to address complex patient-care problems. This demand has led us to design thinking (DT) as a framework for addressing increasingly ill-structured problems in healthcare. DT facilitates flexible problem-solving methodologies designed to iteratively explore solutions, refine the problem space, and understand the end-user. Thus, we also approach the question of what role SDL and DT play in crafting the future of health professions education.   

Presenter: Aditya Narayan

Aditya Narayan of Fairfax, a 2018 Chemistry and Biology graduate of the University of Virginia is an ETA at the Medical University of Łódź. 

As an undergraduate, he co-founded ReinventED Lab, an education innovation non-profit focused on incorporating student-driven learning frameworks into schools, the TomTom Youth Innovation Conference celebrating student-driven learning efforts throughout Virginia, the Co-Create UVA program, an initiative to train students as consultants in course design, the Changemakers program which trained UVA students as project-based learning mentors for high school students, the Future of Learning Collective which served as an organizing body for education innovation in the county, and Medlock, LLC, a company supporting development of a hardware/software hybrid system which empowers patients and providers in rural settings to provide medically assisted treatment. Further, he served as a research assistant exploring cancer genomics, cardiovascular translational research, neurosurgical research, and education on anaphylaxis in schools. 

In the future, he aims to work in the academic medicine space to design interventions and conduct translational research on addiction, as well as innovate in medical education to better prepare the next generation of physicians to address the changing landscape of medical design, public health and health care delivery. 

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 8

Time: 5pm

November 29


Transversing analog and digital realms in his creative practice of drawing, printmaking and animation, Endi Poskovic explores the nature of composite narrative in which visual signifiers, both real and invented, intersect to form imagery suggestive of dichotomies, proposing themes of displacement, transformation and revival. This fusion allows for rules of scale and representation to shift and for new visual narratives to emerge. The unfamiliar becomes almost tactile, while the familiar provides a handhold on reality.

Presenter: Endi Poskovic

Endi Poskovic is a multimedia artist working in printmaking, drawing, sculpture, and animation. His creative practice considers a range of technologies as a way to explore certain characteristics of printed image: translation, multiplicity and seriality. Through his visual work, he seeks to construct representations that suggest broader themes of displacement, memory and reconciliation. Merging visual image with text, Poskovic’s Majestic Series shifts the reading of the print by providing an unexpected new context, forcing the viewer to continually reinterpret. He is Professor at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design (Ann Arbor, Michigan). Poskovic was educated in Yugoslavia, Norway, and the United States. His works have been exhibited worldwide in numerous important international print biennials and triennials, and have brought him many notable awards and honors, including grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, John D. Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio Center Italy, J. William Fulbright Commission Senior Research Fellowship to Poland, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Camargo Foundation France, Open Studio Toronto-Ontario Arts Council, Indiana Arts Commission, Art Matters Foundation, New York State Arts Council, Flemish Ministry of Culture-Frans Masereel Centrum, and many others. Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of the Arts, Fogg Art Museum-Harvard University, New Orleans Museum of Art, Tampa Museum of Fine Arts, Vaasa Ostrobothnian Museum (Finland), Musée d’Art Contemporain Fernet Branca-Saint-Louis (France), Jincheon Museum (South Korea) and many others. Comprehensive solo exhibitions of Poskovic’s work have been organized by Philadelphia Print Center, Plains Art Museum, Des Moines Art Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, SUNY-Fredonia Rockefeller Arts Center, Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium, Tidaholm Konstlitografiska Museet, Sweden, and Changsha Yu Xiang Cultural & Art Center in China.  

Venue: Medical University of Warsaw, Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 23 , Żwirki i Wigury 63

Time: 12:00

November 15

Topic “The Journey to U.S. Residency and Opportunities Beyond”

The path to pursuing medicine in the USA can be quite complex, especially for International Medical Graduates. This lecture aims to shed light on the medical admissions process in the United States and how to become a well-rounded, competitive international candidate for future residency in the U.S. What is the admissions process like? What exams are required for residency? What will make you stand out from the crowd? How do you get involved in research? What opportunities are available for medical graduates beyond practicing as a physician? Come and discover the complex journey to U.S. residency.

Presenter: Dzhuliyan Vasilev

Dzhuliyan Vasilev is a biomedical engineer with a specific interest in merging the fields of engineering, medicine, and entrepreneurship. In May 2017, Vasilev graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering and emphasis in Engineering Mathematics. While at Saint Louis University, he spent four years conducting research in the spheres of soft tissue engineering and microfluidics, in addition to founding the Engineering Health Collaborative, an organization focused on the development of low-cost medical devices for medically underserved countries.

Vasilev was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Medical University of Warsaw during the 2017-2018 grant period. Currently, he is engaged in the entrepreneurial sphere and technological innovation as a startup analyst at Hello Tomorrow in Paris, France. He is projected to pursue an MD/MBA in 2020 at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. 

Venue: Medical University of Warsaw, Pawińskiego 7, room 01

Time: 5:30pm

November 8

Topic “Bacteriophages: a Past, Present and Future Analysis”

Antimicrobial agents have extremely reduced the number of deaths from previously widespread and fatal infectious diseases. As a result of inappropriate use of antibiotics, bacteria have developed various mechanisms of resistance causing a rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria. These bacteria are resistant to three or more antibiotics from chemically different classes, and they cause infections that are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. In addition, treatment is often very costly and uses synthetic or semi-synthetic products which are toxic, mutagenic and/or teratogenic for animals and humans when applied in higher doses or for a prolonged period. There have been several proposed solutions to overcome this existing problem. The most promising the use of bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria and are ubiquitous in nature.

In the literature, there are few observations that the combination of alternative antimicrobial agents, i.e. bacteriophages and conventional antibiotics give synegism (PAS) against pathogenic bacteria. However, there is no a systematic in vitro and in vivo study on PAS, and most experiments were conducted using Gram-negative bacteria. The objective of this study is to examine in vitro and in vivo interactions of antibiotics and bacteriophages against Enterococcus faecalis – a Gram-positive bacteria which is one of the most common etiological agents of urinary tract infections a well as meningitis, bacterial endocarditis, diverticulitis, bacteremia and other infections in humans. Enterococcus faecalis is a rather prevalent vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and they cause higher morbidity and mortality, prolonged hospital stay, and higher costs of care when compared to antibiotic-susceptible strains. This study seeks to discover a viable VRE-PAS model to potentially be applied in an in vitro setting.

Presenter: Jamon Thomas

Jamon Thomas is a microbiologist and aspiring medical practitioner from the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois. He is a recent graduate of Howard University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry. During his time at Howard, Jamon was a member of the Howard Gospel Choir and Howard University’s CASCADE LGBTQ activism club. He also served as the membership chair of the Beta Kappa Chi National Scientific Honors Society where he cultivated his love for scientific inquiry and research.

Under the direction of Dr. Ryszard Miedzybrodzki, Jamon is researching antibiotic-synergy methods against vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VREs) at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław, Poland. This research will aid in lowering the cost and toxicity conventional antibiotics pose to individuals living with bacterial infections; thereby, providing substantial contributions to the fields of medicine and infectious disease prevention.

Alongside his research in Poland, Jamon plans to become involved with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights to assist in Asylum Seeking Process policy as well as the American Corners – Wrocław headquarters. Outside of his research and volunteer work in Wrocław, Jamon plans to explore Poland and all of its surrounding countries. As a fashion enthusiast, he is excited to study European fashion and looks forward to enhancing his wardrobe. Jamon is very grateful for this opportunity to conduct research under the tutelage of such world renowned faculty. After his Fulbright experience, Jamon hopes to enter medical school.

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 119

Time: 5:30pm

October 25

“Jewish Belonging and the Polish Road to Socialism, 1953-60”

Presenter: Frankee Lyons 

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 8

Time: 5pm

Frankee Lyons is a PhD candidate in Modern Eastern European History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a graduate of the George Washington University (B.A. in History, ’15). Her research has been supported by fellowships under the U.S. Department of State’s Title VIII Program for Research and Training in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. In 2018, Lyons was an Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellow through the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City and the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, Poland.

October 18

“Sociology of Global Health and Inequality”

Presenter: József Böröcz

Venue: Main Library (Centrum Biblioteczno-Informacyjne), room 119

Time: 5pm

József Böröcz is Professor of Sociology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Böröcz is a historical sociologist who studies large-scale social change. His project for this year as senior Fulbright American Fellow in Poland involves research for, and the writing of, a book comparing the newly capitalist morphological features of the thirty or so societies that had undergone a transformation from state socialism to capitalism over the last three decades. Böröcz has published six books and over eighty scholarly articles in eight languages (including Polish). His book The European Union and Global Social Change: A Critical Geopolitical Economic Analysis, first published in English in 2009 and in Hungarian in 2018, received honorable mention in the book competition of the Political Economy of the World-System Section of the American Sociological Association, and it is forthcoming in Romanian. Böröcz is a member of the Public Body of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was Immanuel Wallerstein Chair in Global Ethics at the University of Ghent, Belgium, in the 2005-2006 academic year.

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