Team

Grzegorz Sumara - PhD - principal investigator

I started my research career with undergraduate student internships at the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna, Austria, and at the University Hospital of Zürich, Switzerland. I received my PhD from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich. Afterwards, I spent 4-years as a postdoctoral HFSP fellow at Columbia University in New York and half a year at the IGBMC in Strasbourg. Prior to coming to the Nencki Institute, since August 2013, I was a junior group leader at the Rudolf Virchow Centre in Würzburg, Germany. For my research I acquired prestigious Emmy Noether grant from the German Research Foundation for studying hormonally-induced signalling cascades in adipocytes and hepatocytes and the ERC Starting Grant, within which I established Protein kinase D (PKD) family members as a crucial regulators of energy metabolism. All of these allowed me to build the scientific program for the Dioscuri Centre of Scientific Excellence in Warsaw, where my research group focuses on unraveling the cross-talk of different signalling molecules in regulation of adipocytes function during metabolic diseases such as obesity or cancer-associated cachexia. Recently, we were also awarded an EMBO Installation Grant from European Molecular Biology Organization, which further helped us to start the lab in Poland.

In my spare time I enjoy biking and running.


Katarzyna Kolczyńska-Matysiak - PhD - postdoctoral researcher

I graduated from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences with a MSc in biotechnology. During my studies I spend one semester at Ghent University in Belgium within Erasmus Programme and did an internship at the VIB UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology.

I did my PhD in Prof. Agnieszka Dobrzyń’s laboratory at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. My PhD project aimed to investigate molecular mechanism involved in HSP72-associated regulation of insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle. During the last year of my PhD studies thanks to ETIUDA grant that I have received from National Science Centre I did an internship at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, where I studied the role of HSP72 in browning of white adipose tissue.

In 2019 I joined Grzegorz Sumara’s lab at the Rudolf Virchow Centre in Würzburg, Germany and at the beginning of 2020 I moved to Dioscuri Centre for Metabolic Diseases at Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology. Currently I am working on a project concerning the cross-talk between pancreatic β-cells and platelets. The aim of my second project is to unravel molecular mechanisms regulating cancer associated cachexia.

Toufic Kassouf - PhD - postdoctoral researcher

My research interest is focused on the topic of post-translational protein modifications (PTMs) and their crosstalk with almost every cellular pathway. In 2013, I started my PhD studies at Dr. Peter Coopman lab at IRCM Montpellier. During my PhD work, I could show that Syk Kinase is involved in the maintenance of the epithelial integrity of the mammary gland via the phosphorylation and stabilization of the E-cadherin/catenin adherens junction complex, thereby inhibiting cell migration and malignant tumor invasion (Kassouf T. et al., 2019, Cancers). In 2017, I joined the lab of Dr. Dimitris Xirodimas at CRBM Montpellier, whose studies on Protein Quality Control and Neddylation via the Ubiquitin-like protein NEDD8 have gained high exposure in the past years. My postdoctoral research plan combined cellular, molecular, and advanced microscopic approaches to understand the role of NEDD8 and the deNEDDylating enzyme NEDP1 in Stress Granule assembly and dynamics. In February 2020, I joined the Dioscuri Centre for Metabolic Diseases. The aim of my current project is to define the impact of ubiquitin-dependent signaling events on regulation of adipose tissue function. Since the impact of ubiquitination-dependent signaling on adipocytes function has been ignored until now, we believe that our project will open a new research field.

Izabela Hawro - MSc - PhD candidate

I graduated with a Bachelor of Biology/Microbiology at the University of Wrocław. I received my Master's degree in Molecular Biotechnology from the University of Warsaw. My master thesis I have done in The Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics Polish Academy of Science. I used to work on proteins involved in Atp9 domain assembling in mitochondria. Then I joined Derewenda Lab at the University of Virginia, as a Fulbright Scholar. I focused on RSK kinase and its inhibition from a structural biology point of view.

I started my Ph.D. studies at Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany. In 2020 I joined Dioscuri Center for Metabolic Diseases.

Currently, I am interested in the mechanism of Protein Kinase D2 in the atherosclerosis.


Filip Dziaczkowski - MSc - Lab manager and Research Technician



Angel Erandeni Loza Valdes - MSc - Research Specialist

I received my Bachelor's degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. As part of my training, I carried out a research internship in the Laboratory of Dr. Armando Tovar in the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico City. During this time my research was focused on understanding how flavonoids interact with nuclear receptors ( LXR, PPARs, FXR) to regulate lipid metabolism in the liver and the intestine at the transcriptional level. In 2013 I moved to the Netherlands to start my master’s in Molecular Nutrition at Wageningen University. I carried out my Master's thesis in the Laboratory of Dr. Sander Kersten, where I worked on novel PPAR alpha targets in lipid droplet biology. Subsequently, as part of my Master's training and to gain further expertise in the field I joined the Department of Molecular Genetics (Led by the Nobel laureates Joseph L. Goldstein and Michael Brown) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, USA. I performed my research in the Laboratory of Dr. Jay Horton, where I investigated novel roles of PCSK9 in sepsis and the molecular aspects of fatty liver disease. For my Ph.D. research, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Gzregorz Sumara at the Rudolf Virchow Zentrum in Wurzburg, Germany in 2016, where I worked on the roles of the atypical MAPK6 in adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, and the whole body. I am aiming to identify the roles of MAPK6 in the onset of metabolic diseases and energy homeostasis. In March 2020, I embarked on a new scientific journey and I moved to the Nencki Insitute of Experimental Biology in Warsaw, Poland, to continue and expand my previous research in the recently created Dioscuri Centre for Metabolic Diseases.

In my spare time I enjoy mountain bike, trying new (mexican) restaurants, and traveling. I visited so far 43 countries and counting.


Magdalena Dorota Wit - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine - PhD candidate

I graduated in veterinary medicine from Warsaw University of Life Sciences (2020). During studies, I joined prof. Król's lab at maternal university and investigated a crosstalk between tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and breast cancer cells. That experience allowed me to gain first hands-on experience in working in research laboratory and motivated for choosing scientific pathway.

I started my PhD studies at Dioscuri Centre for Metabolic Diseases in 2020. In my current project I am investigating the role of PKD isoforms (PKD1, PKD2) in lipid droplet formation in adipocytes and function of PKD2 in lipid absorption from the intestine. The aim of my future project will be to elucidate the impact of ERK3/MK5 signalling pathway on development of cancer-associated cachexia.

Fan of biking, swimming and running.

Katia El Ghoz - MSc -
- PhD candidate


I carried out my studies at the Lebanese University where I received my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. In 2020, I received my Master's degree in Chemistry and Biology of Bioactive Molecules. During my master's, I joined prof. Ziad Abdel Razzak lab at the Lebanese University where I studied the interaction of cigarette smoke condensate and its inorganic components with amiodarone in terms of toxicity.

I start working at Dioscuri Centre for Metabolic Diseases in November 2021. My current project aims to increase the performance of skeletal muscles and brown adipose tissue to combat obesity and related diseases.

Carlos Acosta Gallo - MSc -
- PhD candidate


I graduated with a BSc in Human Nutrition Science and did my internship in the Hospital de la Princesa at the Nephrology Unit, which help me to develop my final degree thesis, entitled "Protein-energy wasting Syndrome (PEW) in chronic kidney disease: nutrition and exercise as therapeutic targets". Afterwards, I graduated from an MSc in Exercise Physiology from the University of Barcelona and did my master's thesis about the variations in the expression of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) induced by strength training stimuli with different intensities. Then, I moved to graduate from a MSc in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid while doing an internship at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, focusing my research on the role of neuromelanin in the onset and progression of neurodegeneration and working mainly with Neural Stem Cells.

Currently, I am a PhD student at the Dioscuri Center for Metabolic Diseases, focusing my research on identifying molecular targets to increase the performance of skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue, to combat diabetes and its comorbidities as well as pathological states such as cachexia, sarcopenia or dynapenia.

Lab members at the Rudolf Virchow Center in Würzburg, Germany

Till Karwen - PhD student

Alumni:

Jonathan Trujillo Viera (PhD student at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg, Germany)
Agnieszka Demczuk (research technician, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland)
Mona
Löffler (PhD student at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg, Germany)
Alexander Mayer
(PhD student at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg, Germany)
Rabih El-Merahbi (PhD student at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg, Germany)
Kai Cai (postdoc at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg, Germany)
Anja Slotta (Medical
PhD student at the Rudolf Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine, University of Würzburg, Germany)