Joanna Stojak
Assistant professor
Genetics and Evolution
Education and scientific degrees
  • Postgraduate studies in epidemiology: 2019, Medical University of Białystok
  • PhD: 2017, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Biology, Biology
  • MSc: 2012, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Faculty of Biology, Biotechnology
Research profile

The genomes of organisms harbour information about the different evolutionary histories of species and how they responded to events occurring in the past. Dr Stojak is interested in analyzing how climate changes influenced the evolutionary history of different species, how it could change species' ranges, and how past climatic conditions and/or humans affected biodiversity, both in the past and present. The distribution of species, their genetic groups or lineages, post-glacial re-colonization and the identification of glacial refugia are also extremely interesting to her. During her PhD project she was working on the phylogeography and genetic diversity of small mammal species, especially the Eurasian common vole and field vole, and how the Carpathian refugium influenced their evolutionary histories (on the basis of museum and modern samples). She is highly experienced in laboratory procedures applying different molecular markers (DNA microsatellites, mitochondrial cytochrome b and control region sequences, SNPs, complete mitogenomes, amplicon analysis and libraries preparation). Another scope of her study is DNA barcoding of forensically important beetle species, significant in post-mortem interval estimation. Additionally, dr. Stojak conducts research in the field of epidemiology, analyzing interactions between reservoir host species (rodents) and pathogens that cause serious zoonoses in humans (for instance Lyme disease, hantavirus infections).

Research projects
  • 2021 - Genetic diversity of the Late Pleistocene Norwegian lemming Lemmus lemmus populations in southern Poland; Fulbright Senior Award (Paleogenomics Laboratory, University of California Santa Cruz)
  • 2018-2020: investigator in the project financed by the National Science Centre in Poland Opus 13: Impact of climate and environmental changes on population dynamics, migration and extinction events of selected rodent species in Late Pleistocene and Holocene.
  • 2015-2016: Doctoral fellowship at the Cornell University, ETIUDA3: Phylogeography of the common vole (Microtus arvalis) and genetic diversity of the common end field vole (Microtus agrestis) populations.
  • 2011-2014: Phylogeography and genetic diversity of two species of voles (Microtus) in Poland. Project financed by the Ministry of Sciences and Higher Education, investigator
  • 2014-2016: Genetic structure of the common vole and field vole populations in Poland: comparisons of museum and contemporary samples. Project financed by National Science Centre. Project leader.
Additional functions

2020-2021: coordinator of the MammalNet project, financed by the European Food Safety Authority

Membership and Awards
  • 2013 - 1st prize for the best oral presentation in "Outstanding Presentation" contest during 2nd Conference of Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology "Down to Earth"
  • 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017 academic years: doctoral scholarship for achievements in research and teaching granted by the Rector of Warsaw University for 30% of the best PhD students
  • 2017 - Star Peer Reviewer of 2017 nomination given by Springer
  • 2018 - laureate in 2nd edition of Award of Olsztyn and Białystok Department of the Polish Academy of Sciences in biological, agricultural and medical sciences, for series of three publication on phylogeography of the common vole and genetic structure of the common vole and field vole in Europe
  • 2020 – laureate of Fulbright Senior Award 2020-21 (6-months visit in prof. Beth Shapiro’s Paleogenomics Lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz, USA)