Unique Scientist: Dr. Adam Ostrowski

Time to meet Dr. Adam Ostrowski (He/him)! Dr. Ostrowski is a Polish molecular microbiologist working as a head microbiologist at Carbogenics in Scotland, UK!

What kind of scientist are you?
I did a degree in biotechnology and a PhD in molecular microbiology. After a couple of post-docs I decided to part with academia and now I am a lead scientist in a start-up company (Carbogenics) developing technology to improve efficiency of anaerobic digestion – a sustainable way to produce energy.

What made you want to become a scientist?
I always was fascinated by anything to do with science and modern technology. My folks told me that my favourite book as a child was a human anatomy atlas for kids, I guess I was just born that way! Things just spiralled from there, I liked all science subjects at school. First I wanted to be an astrophysicist, until I figured out I’m not that good with maths and all that. Then there was an idea for medical school. Finally, my mum inspired me to combine my love for biology and technology and here we are a decade and a half later I’m actually using biology to develop new technology!

“Our lives is what makes us unique, our individual collection of experiences and people you have around you.”

Dr. Adam Ostrowski

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
Unique? I don’t know, nothing really, I’m just an average bloke trying to do his job and get on with having a life, cherishing friendships and loving the loved ones. Everything, growing up in a split family, coming out as gay, first failed relationships, first real love, going from not doing so well at uni to finishing a PhD with a record I’m proud of, settling down in a country I never thought I’ll stay in for long, marrying my husband. Our lives is what makes us unique, our individual collection of experiences and people you have around you.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I’m a massive sci-fi geek, I grew up watching Star Trek. Yes, Mr Spock and Data had a huge influence on me and probably had something to do with where I am now. So I like to let my mind dive into the world of my own fantasy just as much that of PC games and films. It’s my escape from reality, since I don’t have much time for hiking Scottish highlands.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I would remove all the unnecessary cockiness, ego and pursuit of false superiority over other scientists or people in general. It takes away what should be the true spirit of scientific progress, to make the world better, easier to live in and more friendly to everyone. Many scientists are naturally introverts, but because of that too many of us forget that this is not about our own glory but progressing our understanding of the world that surrounds us.

“[…] many of us forget that this is not about our own glory but progressing our understanding of the world that surrounds us.”

Dr. Adam Ostrowski

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
There were so many! I already mentioned the early inspiration from fictional characters, but later many of my teachers, some special thanks should go to Prof Tracy Palmer though for inspiring me to push on when things were hard and I wouldn’t be where I am without some amazing friends I made along the way.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
Together with Ana, the MSc student working with us we’ve run our first metagenomics sequencing using a MinION and we did it ON THE BENCH! Technology is such an amazing thing.


#QueerInSTEM

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