Vitamin D helped Mary to win

Maria Latacz
Maria Latacz – a 4th-year student at the Faculty of Medicine of the UWM – can regard the past holidays as very good. But it’s not about leisure. Maria won the international competition held by Kerafast – an American biotech company.

Maria is a medical student and a member of the Inter-Faculty Medical Biology Science Club, which is supervised by Dr Anna Cieślińska of the Department of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology. She has a clear vision of her future: she would like to be a scientific researcher. The science club cooperates closely with Dr Jadwiga Snarska, Professor of the UWM, Head of the University Public Health School. She informed Marta about the competition organised by Kerafast.

“Prof. Snarska told me about this competition and suggested that I take part in it. I agreed because I saw it as another challenge”, admits Marta.

Earlier, she had taken part in scientific conferences and written scientific papers. Kerafast announced a competition for an entry in its blog disseminating new developments in medicine. There were two conditions: an entry could not exceed 700 words and it had to deal with medical knowledge.

Maria knew at once what her entry would be about: vitamin D, because her science club had devoted a lot of time to it.

“It is a common belief that taking vitamin D prevents the development of cancer. There have been quite a lot of scientific reports about it, but I have noticed that their authors draw conclusions based on short-term, 3-5-year long studies. In my opinion, it’s too short. Cancer develops over a long time. I’ve found examples of the disease developing for as long as 50 years. That’s why I think we still know too little about the effect of vitamin D on cancer cells and we should take into account many other factors to draw reliable conclusions. And this is what I wrote about in my competition entry, which was 600 words long.”

Obviously, Marta wrote in English, and it took her a month to prepare the 600-word entry.

“I read a lot of scientific literature and I learned a lot of new and interesting things on the way.”


We don’t know how many entries were sent to the competition. Kerafast announced that it had qualified seven – the largest number from the USA, but also from Australia, Egypt and the entry that Maria sent. It was her entry that the competition jury regarded as the best. You can find it on the Kerafast blog. It is one award. The other is an attractive gift card.


Kerafast, Boston, facilitates scientists’ access to reagents from leading laboratories around the world, such as antibodies, cell lines, compounds, virus vectors, plasmids, etc. Owing to the company’s help, they do not have to make them themselves. Thus, it helps them to overcome barriers in transferring biomaterials among scientists and to reduce the cost of research.


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