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Department of Biophysics

Head of the Laboratory


PhD Students



Head: room No. 3.15, phone number +48 71375 6236
Dr W. Białek, dr J. Sławski: room No. 3.14, phone number +48 71375 6245
Dr J. Grzyb: room No. 3.13, phone number +48 71375 6247
Dr P. Czechowicz: room No. 3.16, phone number +48 71375 6243

Research topics and the most important results

The Department of Biophysics engages in three main research areas:

  • studies of photosynthetic proteins, their biosynthesis, the structure and function relationship. This includes the studies of protein folding mechanisms, the role of chaperonins and ubiquitinylation mechanisms. Some interest is dedicated to increasing the efficiency of the RuBisCo enzyme, responsible for CO2 assimilation.
  • studies of biological membranes, in particular the ABCA1 protein complex (the ABC transporters family, ATP-Binding Cassette) and its influence on the control and maintenance of cell membrane organization in living cells.
  • research on the application of bionanohybrids (junctions of nanoparticles and other nanomaterials with biological elements) in biotechnology. In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms of energy transfer in nanohybrid chains and networks. Historically greatest Department achievements include obtaining crystal structures of several photosynthetic proteins. It is worth mentioning the structure of the cytochrome C6, involved in electron transport, and the RbcX chaperone, involved in the RuBisCo folding.

Recently, the subjects of study have been extended to the research on membranes and nanohybrids. A beautiful example of the latest is the demonstration of how the ATP-dependent lipid transporter ABCA1 regulates the distribution of cholesterol in the cell membrane. This finding is of great importance for the explanation of the amphotericin (an antibiotic used in resistant fungal infections) toxicity, and also for increasing our overall understanding of the structure and function of biological membranes. Building up the bionanohybrid systems, we are using both two-element and more complex junctions, with interaction nets. A smart system, based on CdTe quantum dots and proteins, cytochrome c and its fluorescent derivatives, helped us to explain how resonance energy transfer and electron transfer coexist in the network of possible interactions. This knowledge allows us to be better prepared for the nanohybrids use in the studies employing living organisms.

On our research, we cooperate with several teams in Poland and abroad. It includes the Department of Biophysics of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, researchers from the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the Department of Plant Biotechnology at the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biotechnology of the Faculty of Biotechnology in Krakow and the Center for Immunology at the University of Marseille.

Example doctoral dissertation topics

  1. “Structural and functional characteristics of chaperone proteins involved in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 Rubisco biosynthesis”.
  2. “Analysis of energy and electron transfer in multicomponent bionanohybrid systems”.
  3. “The role of the ABCA1 protein in the organization of the cell membrane in mammalian cells”.
  1. “Cyanobacterial cytochromes – structure and properties”, Paweł Zatwarnicki, 2014.
  2. “The role of the RbcX protein from cyanobacteria and higher plants in the biosynthesis of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxidase”, Piotr Kolesiński, 2012.
  3. “RbcX protein from Thermosynechococcus elongatus – structure and function”, Mirosław Tarnawski, 2009.

Current bachelor’s and master’s theses

  • “Steadystate and timeresolved fluorescence as a tool to understand proteinligand interactions”
  • “Application of fluorescence anistropy in protein studies”
  • “Use of therapeutic antibodies in cancer treatment”
  • “The significance of the spatiotemporal organization of the plasma membrane for the carcinogenesis”
  • Investigation of the interaction between carbon nanoparticles and photosynthetic antenna complexes
  • Model systems for quinone photoreduction optimisation and characterisation
  • Optimization of ABCA1 purification by affinity chromatography and reconstitution in lipid vesicles
  • Purification and analysis of tumor derived exosomes (TEx) in the context of ABCA1 expression”

Research projects

  • NCN research project Sonata Bis (2016/22/E/NZ/00673): “Mechanisms of energy transfer in bionano-hybrid chains and networks”, (2017-2022).
    Head of the project: dr hab. Joanna Grzyb.
  • NCN research project Preludium (2019/35/N/NZ3/00633): “Investigation of the role of ABCA1 protein in key processes of melanoma progression”, (2020-2022).
    Head of the project: Ambroise Wu.
  • NCN research project Preludium (2019/33 /N/NZ3/01168): “Characterization of the cyanobacterial homologue of the DnaJ protein responsible for binding the large RubisCO subunit”, (2020-2022).
    Head of the project: Małgorzata Rydzy.
  • NCN research project OPUS (2016/21/B/NZ3/00343): “The relationship between the activity of ABC transporters and cell membrane reorganization and toxicity of amphotericin B in mammalian cells”, (2017-2020).
    Head of the project: dr Tomasz Trombik.
  • NCN research project Sonata (2015/19/D/NZ1/02790): “SPL1 / SPL2 and ubiquitinylation in the control of protein import to chloroplasts”, (2016-2019).
    Head of the project: dr Wojciech Białek.
  • NCN research project Sonata (2013/09/D/NZ1/00185): “Chaperone proteins involved in the biosynthesis of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylases / oxygenase”, (2013-2017).
    Head of the project: dr Piotr Kolesiński.

Laboratory equipment

  • Spectrophotometer DU 800 (Beckman Coulter)
  • FS5 spectrofluorimeter (Edinburgh Instruments) with setup for fluorescence lifetime measurement (picosecond excitation sources 280 nm, 405 nm, 475 nm and 670 nm)
  • Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (Cary 630), with a diamond module for single reflection measurement
  • Akta Purifier liquid chromatography system (Amersham Pharmacia Biotech)
  • Clarck type oxygen electrode (Hansatech)
  • Climatic chamber for growing plants (Sanyo)
  • Crystal growing chamber (Mammert)
  • The Department of Biophysics possesses the only in Poland and world-unique system for measuring FCS in a variable field (svFCS)

Selected publications