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Department of Genetic Biochemistry

Head of the Department

Staff Members

PhD Students

  • mgr Beata Augustyniak
  • mgr Marta Burgberger
  • mgr Yelyzaveta Kochneva
  • mgr Dzmitry Lysh
  • mgr Agnieszka Sawuła
  • mgr Iwan Zalewski


ul. S. Przybyszewskiego 63/77
51-148 Wrocław

dr hab. Anna Kulma, prof. UWr – room 27F, phone number: +48 71 375 6326
dr hab. Magdalena Żuk, prof. UWr – room 27G, phone number: +48 71 375 6202
dr Aleksandra Boba – room 27H, phone number: +48 71 375 6240
dr Justyna Mierziak-Derecka – room 27C, phone number: +48 71 375 6354
dr Wioleta Wojtasik-Górna – room 27F, phone number: +48 71 375 6326
mgr Jan Widuła – room 27D, phone number: +48 71 375 6207
mgr Beata Augustyniak – room 27B, phone number: 48 71 375 6337
mgr Marta Burgberger – room 27B, phone number: 48 71 375 6337
mgr Agata Hnitecka – room 27C, phone number: +48 71 375 6354
mgr Yelyzaveta Kochneva – room 27D, phone number: +48 71 375 6334
mgr Dzmitry Lysh – room 27H, phone number: +48 71 375 6240
mgr Agnieszka Sawuła – room 27B, phone number: 48 71 375 6337
mgr Iwan Zalewski – room 27D, phone number: +48 71 375 6334

Student’s lab – room 26

Research topics and the most important results

Our research interests are focused on improving the properties of crops mainly by manipulating their secondary metabolism. For several years we have been focusing mainly on flax, a plant with versatile use, which is a source of good quality fiber, valuable oil and bioactive compounds.

Plant metabolites have many applications, therefore a large part of our research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of their synthesis and their function in both plants during their growth and development and in animals, where they may serve as potential health-oriented agents. Our research led to the broadening the knowledge on new biochemicals in flax, like phenylpropanoid and cannabinoid compounds. In addition to metabolic analyzes, we also conduct research in the field of genetics and epigenetics for better understanding of the structure of metabolic pathways and their regulation.

One of the most dangerous factors contributing to the reduction of flax yield are diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms. Therefore, in our laboratory we have been intensively working on understanding the regulation of biosynthesis and function of plant metabolites in response to pathogens, like fungi of the Fusarium genus and in effect on seeking for new ways to strengthen this response.

Due to the variety of health-promoting compounds, flax can be successfully used in medicine, pharmacy and cosmetics. One of our achievements was the development of the flax fabric dressings for the treatment and acceleration of healing of chronic wounds. The flax fabric dressings have been clinically tested and their effectiveness has been documented in scientific publications.

Our research achievements have been patented (No. P 386185; No. P 393750; No. P 407181). Moreover, we created a new flax type – Silesia, which is now a registered variety (National Register of Varieties No. R3349).

In our research, we cooperate with many domestic and foreign institutions, which has resulted in scientific publications, conferences and workshops.

We encourage everyone interested in exciting research projects to join our research team.

Example doctoral dissertation topics

  • “Development of genetic and epigenetic strategies for modulation of the activity of the chalcone synthase gene in flax”, Magdalena Działo, 2019.
  • “The importance of the beta-ketothiolase gene for flax metabolism”, Justyna Mierziak-Derecka, 2019.
  • “Manipulation of terpenoids biosynthesis in flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) with the methods of transient transformation”, Anna Kostyn, 2018.
  • “Elevating the stability of linseed oil by increasing the pool of antioxidants”, Karolina Hasiewicz-Derkacz, 2017.
  • “The influence of the change in chs gene expression on the metabolism of phenylpropanoids and polymers of the cell wall of the oily flax stem (Linum usitatissimum L.)”, Jakub Szperlik, 2016.
  • “Identification and analysis of flax fiber components with biomedical properties”, Monika Styrczewska, 2015.
  • “Biochemical composition of gm flax and it‘s relation to plant productivity”, Ahmed Zeitoun, 2015.
  • “Induction of an alternative route of tyrosine metabolism in potatoes by introducing the tyrosine hydroxylase gene from a laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus)”, Kamil Kostyn, 2015.
  • “Terpenoids in the response of flax to fusariosis”, Aleksandra Boba, 2015.
  • “Transgenic flax as a source of improved fiber manipulation of polymer metabolism of the flax fiber cell wall”, Marta Preisner, 2015.
  • “Assessment of the importance of cell wall polymers in the response of flax to fusariosis”, Wioleta Wojtasik-Górna, 2014.
  • “Assessment of the importance of glucose transferase enzyme enabling the improvement of functional properties of flax seeds”, Magdalena Czemplik-Hubacz, 2011.
  • “Creating plants with increased antioxidant properties, analysis of gene promoter sequences and their modification”, Anna Aksamit, 2007.
  • “Creation and analysis of transgenic flax and potatoes with increased content and stability of flavonoid compounds”, Katarzyna Lorenc-Kukuła, 2007.
  • “Characteristics of the glucose transferase gene promoter and its use in the modification of flavonoids in potato”, Alina Korobczak, 2006.

Current bachelor’s and master’s theses

  • “Mycotoxins and their role in plant pathogenesis”
  • “Plants communication with the environment”
  • “Transmutable media for root growth promotion in clones or aeroponics”
  • “Role of microRNAmediated transkingdom gene regulation in plant pathogenesis”
  • “Modifications of the amino acid profile of plants through the regulation of various metabolic pathways by genetic engineering methods”
  • Determination of the role of conjugated dienes in lipid metabolism on the example of flax plants
  • Influence of exogenous application of carotenoid derivatives on the progression of flax fusariosis
  • Establiishement of flax suspention culture and their use in elicitor testing

All interested in the implementation of diploma theses in our Department are asked to contact the department employees directly. More about the research interests of individual team members on the website of the Department.

Students who would like to work in our lab as volunteers, are kindly requested to contact Agnieszka Sawuła, MSc. (room 27B ; Phone No. +48 71 375 6337, e-mail:

Research projects

  • NCN Preludium Bis Project (2019/35/O/NZ9/00364): “Determining the role of polyamines in interactions between flax and Fusarium fungi”, (2020-2024).
    Head of the project: dr hab. Anna Kulma.
  • NCN OPUS Project (2019/33/B/NZ9/00408): “The impact of the non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum strain on immunological memory in flax”, (2020-2023).
    Head of the project: dr Wioleta Wojtasik-Górna.
  • NCN OPUS Project (2018/29/B/NZ9/00288): “Abscisic acid function in response of flax to Fusarium infection”, (2019-2022).
    Head of the project: dr hab. Anna Kulma.
  • NCN OPUS Project (2017/25/B/NZ9/01060): “Investigation of the participation of cyanogenic glycosides in the response of flax to Fusarium infection. Assessment of the interaction of secondary metabolic pathways in plant response to pathogenic infection”, (2018-2022).
    Head of the project: dr hab. Magdalena Żuk.
  • NCN PRELUDIUM Project (2017/27/N/NZ9/00387): “To study the function of beta-hydroxybutyrate in plant response to a fungal infection using the example of flax”, (2018-2020).
    Head of the project: dr Justyna Mierziak-Derecka.
  • NCN PRELUDIUM Project (2016/23/N/NZ9/01619): “Identification of chalcone synthase isoforms and assessment of their specificity according to tissue specificity, stage of development and response to stress factors”, (2017-2020).
    Head of the project: dr Magdalena Działo.
  • NCN OPUS Project (2014/15/B/NZ9/00470): “Functional analysis of carotenoid oxygenases and their participation in the response of flax to Fusarium infection”, (2014-2019).
    Head of the project: dr hab. Anna Kulma.
  • NCN MAESTRO Project (2013/11/B/NZ1/00007): “Study of the coordination of biopolymer biosynthesis in flax and its components”, (2013-2019).
    Head of the project: prof. dr hab. Jan Szopa-Skórkowski.
  • NCN OPUS Project (2013/11/B/NZ9/00150): “Development of a method for inducing beneficial changes in plant metabolism by means other than transgenesis”, (2014-2018).
    Head of the project: dr Magdalena Żuk.
  • NCN MINIATURE Project: “Investigation of the mechanism of bacterial gene silencing in plant transformants on the example of flax”, (2014-2018).
    Head of the project: dr Aleksandra Boba.
  • NCN OPUS Project (2013/11/B/NZ1/00007): “Investigation of the benzenoid synthesis route in flax”, (2014-2017).
    Head of the project: prof. dr hab. Jan Szopa-Skórkowski.
  • NCN PRELUDIUM Project (2013/11/N/NZ1/02378): “Estimation of DNA methylation patterns of PR genes in flax after infection with pathogenic and non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum strain”, (2014-2016).
    Head of the project: dr Wioleta Wojtasik-Górna.

Laboratory equipment

The Department has the equipment necessary to work with plant material, including plant tissue cultures, and to carry out research in the field of molecular biology and metabolomics.

Selected equipment:

  • Three phytotron chambers, three grow boxes, a greenhouse and an experimental field for plant breeding
  • UPLC ultra-efficient liquid chromatography system with a photo diode detector (Waters Acquity UPLC PDA (200-800nm) System)
  • System for ultra-efficient liquid chromatography with photo diode detector (200-500nm) and mass spectrometer (Waters Acquity UPLC- PDA- Xevo QTof)
  • Gas chromatography system with flame ionization detector (Agilent Technologies)
  • Plate reader for photometric, fluorescence, flurescence TRF and luminometric measurements VARIOSKAN FLASH Multimode Reader, (Thermo scientific)
  • StepOne™ Real-Time PCR System (Applied Biosystems)
  • EpMotion 5070 Pipetting Station (Eppendorf)
  • Equipment for Pulse electrophoresis. CHEF DR III System (Bio-Rad)


For more information about our Department, please visit the website.