The first headquarters of the Department of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences at Grzegórzecka 16 in Krakow

Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences was originally established in 1954 as the Department of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, before being changed in 1974 to Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences. The initiator and the first director of the new unit was professor Janusz Supniewski. In the following years the institute was headed by: professor Józef Hano (1964-1977), professor Jerzy Maj (1977-1993), professor Edmund Przegaliński (1993-2006), professor Krzysztof Wędzony (2007-2016), professor Władysław Lasoń (2017-2021) and professor Małgotrzata Filip (since 2021). The headquaters of the Department of Pharmacology was originally located in the building of Copernicus Medical Academy at Grzegórzecka 16, whereas the construction on the new facility at Smętna Street was finished in 1976. During the years 2006-2007, with support of  the European Union funds and the institute’s own resources, the Animal House was rebuilt and modernized, introducing the highest world animal welfare standards. The comprehensive modernization of the main building, carried out during 2010-2013, ameliorated its design and considerably improved conditions and comfort of experimental work.

In its initial period (1950s and 1960s of the last century) the research conducted in the Department of Pharmacology focused on biological activity of new chemical compounds and substances isolated from plants, with expected cardiovascular, antibacterial, antitumor and antidiabetic properties. Due to a worldwide surge of interest in neuropsychopharmacology, the scope of research was gradually extended and by the late 1960s it included the physiological and pathophysiological role of various brain neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, the effects of centrally acting drugs, in particular antidepressants, the physiological function of neuropeptides and their role in the phenomena such as pain, convulsions and drug addiction. Currently, this research direction is continued with the use of various behavioral, neurochemical, electrophysiological and molecular biology techniques and supplemented with appropriate pharmacokinetic analyzes. Further, research directions include the synthesis of new chemical structures with potential therapeutic effect, the relationship between the chemical structure and biological activity of xenobiotics, as well as the isolation of biologically active substances from plant material and determination of their chemical structure.

In 1970, the former Department of Pharmacology had launched a doctoral study program. From that time through 1997, 38 graduates received a PhD degree. The PhD studies, financed from the institute's own resources, was reactivated in 2003; currently at the institute there are 25 PhD students with ongoing doctoral projects. Since 1971, the institute has been authorized to confer the academic degree of doctor in medical science and doctor in natural science. At present, the institute is authorized to award scientific degrees of doctor and since 1994 habilitated doctor in medical science in the field of medical biology. Within 63-years, 33 employees of the institute were awarded the academic title of professor, 60 habilitated doctoral degree, including 29 persons awarded on the basis of habilitation procedures conducted at the institute, and 228 doctoral degrees, including 194 graduates who defended their theses at the institute.

During the 1988-2003, the institute had a NIH (National Institute of Health USA)-approved assurance for research on laboratory animals. The institute has been cooperating with academic and scientific institutions in other countries - including Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel, the United States, France, Sweden, Great Britain, Russia and Hungary. This collaborative research has resulted in numerous joint scientific publications and exchange of scientists. During the 1986-2017 the international academic exchange included 101 long-term research travels (over 3 months), 781 short-term research travels and 1881 international conference travels. During this period, 758 scientists from other countries has visited our institute. The institute has been also cooperating with the domestic and foreign pharmaceutical industry. This cooperation includes pharmaceutical research services and drug research, scientific consultations and industry staff training in the field of pharmacology. The Scientific-Industrial Team working by the Institute of Pharmacology during the 1974-1978, received partial financial support from Krakow Polfa Pharmaceutical Company.

In 1954 the Institute of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (former Department of Pharmacology) began publishing its own quarterly journal “Dissertationes Pharmaceuticae” (predominantly in Polish). In 1966 the journal title was changed to “Dissertationes Pharmaceuticae et Pharmacologicae” and transformed into a bi-monthly publishing cycle. Since 1968, the journal has been published exclusively in English. Subsequent changes of the title were implemented in 1973 – to: “Polish Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacy”, in 1993 – to: “Polish Journal of Pharmacology” and in 2005 – to: “Pharmacological Reports”. In 2014 “Pharmacological Reports” established cooperation with the “Elsevier” publishing company, within which an electronic system of editing and producing the journal was introduced. “Pharmacological Reports” publishes scientific articles on experimental and clinical pharmacology, including original and review papers, and occasionally conference abstracts. The journal is on the “Journal Citation Reports” list and its current impact factor (according to JCR 2017) is 2.787.

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