Department of Neurobiology

The Department of Neurobiology consists of separate research teams and the independent Laboratory of Trace Elements Neurobiology. Research teams conduct complementary studies in areas such as metabotropic receptors for glutamate and the search for new sites of action for psychotropic drugs.

The team consisting of the following members: dr hab. Agnieszka Pałucha-Poniewiera (PhD), Karolina Podkowa (MPharm) and Szymon Rzeźniczek (MSc) takes part in the study of potential antidepressant properties of glutamate metabotropic ligands and their mechanisms of action.

The team consisting of the following members: Piotr Brański (PhD), Grzegorz Burnat (PhD), Paulina Chorobik (PhD), Marcin Marcinak (PhD), Barbara Chruścicka (MSc) deals with an identification and pharmacodynamic characteristics of biologically active chemical compounds. Their studies are focused on metabotropic receptors, in particular mGluR and GABA B.

The methodology and experimental procedures:

  • Mammalian cell cultures
  • Analysis of protein expression using RT-PCR and Western Blot
  • Immunofluorescence (microscopy and FACS)
  • Measurement of metabotropic receptors-mediated GTPase activity in isolated cell membranes
  • Cyclic ATP measurement (cells, tissue sections) using HTRF
  • Kinetic luminometric measurement of intracellular cAMP levels using a molecular sensor (Glo)
  • Measurement of the IP1 accumulation (cells, tissue sections) using HTRF
  • Measurement of intracellular mobilization of calcium ions (fluorescence)
  • Molecular cloning (propagation of bacterial vectors, modification of DNA sequence, transfer into mammalian cells [including tetracycline-inducible gene expression system], selection of cell clones)
  • Point mutations
  • Experiments on transgenic animals (PCR, electrophoretic separation of products)
  • Evaluation of sperm quality parameters (evaluation of: motility, vitality – eosinophilic test, maturity – presence and location of cytoplasmic droplets, integrity of cytoplasmic membrane – hyposmotic test and morphology of spermatozoids)

Dr hab. Joanna Wierońska (PhD), Monika Woźniak (MSc) and Paulina Cieślik (MSc) form a team whose main research direction are antipsychotics and their mechanisms of action. We use animal models of positive, negative and cognitive symptoms as well as techniques to determine the level of specific proteins and mRNA. Our studies oscillate around metabotropic receptors for glutamate and GABA B receptors.

The Laboratory of Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection (no formal status), whose members are prof. dr hab. Maria Śmiałowska and Dr. Helena Domin, is involved in:

  • Research on neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in experimental models of ischemia
  • Study of neuroprotective and antidepressant mechanisms of glutamate group III receptor ligands and neuropeptide Y receptor ligands
  • Study of anatomical and histochemical interactions between different types of neurons and astrocytes in the cerebral cortex and limbic structures. We pay special attention to GABA and NPY neurons.

Methods used:

  • Histology (Nissl, HE, Kluver-Barrera staining)
  • Histochemistry and immunohistochemistry (NPY-ir, GAD67-ir, GFAP-ir, CRF-ir, NeuN-ir, TH-ir, TrpH-ir, immunohistochemical staining of selected receptors, and others)
  • Stereological quantification in microscopic images
  • Intracerebral administration of substances
  • Behavioral observations and tests
  • Western blot analysis of selected proteins or peptides.

The team closely collaborates with Laboratories of the Department of Neurobiology and other researchers in the Institute, especially in the field of behavior, Western blotting, neural cell cultures, and assessment of neurodegenerative changes in Parkinson's disease models.

The Department also conducts studies regarding the anxiolytic activity of drugs and the mechanisms of action of these compounds.

More publications
  • Can SARS-CoV-2 virus cause mental illness as a complication of COVID-19disease – theoretical considerations

    Wszechświat  t. 121, 7-9:213-218, 2020

    The article presents theoretical considerations as to whether  late post-pandemic complications, in the form of mental disorders, may occur.

  • Lapses of memory

    Wszechświat t. 121, 1-3:52-57, 2020

    The article discusses in a concise way how we define lapses of memory, and distinguishes between physiological forgetfulness and dementia-type diseases. The article presents two diseases: Alzheimer's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder, as opposing diseases.

  • Human mind under microbiom control

    Wszechświat t. 120, 10-12, 2019

    The article presents microorganisms inhabiting the human body, and shows how they affect our psyche.

  • Empathy

    "Wszechświat" t. 120, nr 7-9/2019

    In the article empathy was discussed in philosophical, psychological and neurobiological approach.

    Brain structures involved in empathy, neurotransmitters and diseases with altered empathy levels were presented.

  • Tyrosine - a relatively endogenous amino acid - does it play a role in mental illness?

    "Wszechświat" t. 120, nr 7-9/2019

    The article discusses the current state of knowledge about tyrosine, the role it plays in the body, disorders in the pathways of tyrosine metabolism, and an attempt to answer the question whether tyrosine plays a role in mental disorders.

  • Adhesion in the world of plants and animals

    "Wszechświat" vol. 120, No. 4-6 / 2019

    The article describes the physical phenomenon of  adhesion, discussing factors affecting adhesion such as surface tension. Next, the article shows where in the world of plants or animals we can observe adhesion. Finally, the practical use of the above knowledge is discussed.

  • Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (DSCAM)

    "Wszechświat"  118, 10-12/2017

    Brief description of one of the biggest representative of immunoglobulin superfamily - Down Syndrome Cell Adhesion Molecule (DSCAM). Depicts classification, molecular composition and proposed role of this protein in the proces of synaptic plasticity.

  • Deciphering Fear

    Academia 2(30)2011

    Concise discussion on fear and useful methods of it's detection with rodents use

More publications
  • Involvement of cyclooxygenase 2 in antidepressant-like effects of metabotropic glutamatergic receptors group I. Grant: SONATA 7 NCN, Katarzyna Stachowicz, PhD

  • , Piotr Brański, PhD

  • L'OREAL For Women in Science , Katarzyna Stachowicz, PhD
    Monday, 30 November -0001
  • Scientific Team Award WUM, Katarzyna Stachowicz, PhD
    Monday, 30 November -0001
  • Postdoc Research position Vanderbilt University, Katarzyna Stachowicz, PhD
    Monday, 30 November -0001
  • , Piotr Brański, PhD
    Monday, 30 November -0001

Joanna Wierońska, PhD

Phone number: +48 12 6623288