About the institute

Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków, founded in 1974 (with first organisational structures established in 1954), is currently one of the leading scientific units in Poland, specializing in neuro- and psychopharmacology. Scientific investigations, conducted in 14 departments, laboratories and modern animal house, focus on the nervous system disorders and the search for new biologically active substances that act on the central nervous system and can be used in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric conditions.

The Institute’s research priorities include depression, schizophrenia, chronic pain, drug and natural rewards and addiction. Further, study areas involve anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurodegenerative and immunoendocrine processes and phytochemistry. The Institute’s scientific activity promotes the search for innovative therapeutic strategies and biomarkers of certain pathological processes in the central nervous system using genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.

Modern infrastructure and broad spectrum of in vitro and ex vivo research technics, such as flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, confocal and fluorescence microscopy, optogenics, microdialysis, chromatography, immunohistochemistry, modern electrophysiological methods, transgenic models and bioinformatics tools, available in the Institute, enable study of brain function at multiple levels. Another significant area of interest is the development of new agents with potential therapeutic properties, using molecular modeling and computational studies of drug-receptor interactions.

Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of is equipped with advanced tools and instruments for laboratory behavioral testing in a range of animal models: IntelliCage system, paradigms to test anxiety (e.g. open field, Hole Board), depression and mood disorders (chronic mild stress, prenatal stress), symptoms typical for schizophrenia (sensory-motor gating), learning, memory and attention (e.g. object recognition test, Barnes maze, T-maze, attentional set shifting task) and behavioral effects of addictive substances (e.g. self-administration paradigm).

The Laboratory of Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry at the Institute, established in 2018, provides analysis using MALDI-TOF/TOF spectrometry.

The Institute is successful in attracting funding for scientific research from national and foreign sources. The scientists are strongly involved in long-term research projects in collaboration with the world's leading academic units. Good quality of research is reflected in the growing number of publications in high impact journals and a number of patents.

The staff of Institute has been also involved in several events aiming at popularization of science, such as the Brain Awareness Week and the Science and Art Festival, as well as in the publishing process of popular science magazine Wszechświat.

The Institute is authorized to award scientific degrees of doctor and habilitated doctor in medical science. Third level education is one of the central tasks of the Institute and the dynamic PhD Studies held in Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences was awarded in the prestigious PROPAN competition in 2016 and 2017. In July 2012 the Institute received the status of the Leading National Research Centre (KNOW) in the field of medicine/health sciences, in consortium with the Faculty of Medicine Collegium Medicum of the Jagiellonian University. In cooperation with Elsevier publishing company, the institute issues Pharmacological Reports, a scientific bi-monthly journal. The institute is involved in organizig and co-organizing the scientific meetings: Winter SchoolCentral European Biomedical Congress, European Pain Federation Krakow Pain School.