Chair of Biotechnology and Cell Biology

Our Research

The research fields of workers of the Department of Biotechnology and Cell Biology are focused on:

  1. Toxicology in vitro – studying of mechanisms of xenobiotics in biological systems such as tetrabromobisphenol A (TBPA), triclosan (TCS), phthalates, Tris (2, 3-dibromopropyl) isocyanurate (TBC), metallic nanoparticles and others.
  2. Neurobiology – studying of impact of natural and synthetic substances on cells characterized by neuroectodermal origin such as mouse neurons and astrocytes in vitro.
  3. Nanotechnology – using metallic nanoparticles as potential therapeutic factors in anticancer therapy, but also studying of methods of targeting delivery of these nanoparticles to cancer cells by liposomal encapsulation.

Scientific and research projects financed from external sources:

Extracting bioactive substances from Inonotus obliquus in a form that can be used in food enrichment
Project Manager: Konrad Szychowski, PhD, DSc., Assoc. Prof.
The wood parasite Inonotus obliquus is characterized by well-described pro-health properties, reported inter alia in the literature and folk medicine. Nowadays, the cancers are second cause of deaths. Therefore the obtaining of the active substances without losing their biological features from the I. obliquus, and subsequent development the food supplement based on this extract seems to be crucial, especially for the needs of society. The objective of this project is to obtain the extract from sporophore of the I. obliquus, next its modification, allowing to use it as a supporting supplement during the anticancer therapy or cancer prevention. The main aims of the project are optimization of the extraction process of the active substances from I. obliquus; obtaining of the powder of such extract, facilitating its application in the diet supplements and determination its physicochemical properties; evaluating of the safeness and optimal dose of such extracts in the cell models in vitro.
Implementation period: 02.2022–07.2022
Financing: Podkarpackie Centrum Innowacji (PCI)

Elastin derivative peptide VGVAPG as a carrier of cytostatic drugs into cancer cells.
Project Manager: Konrad Szychowski, PhD, DSc., Assoc. Prof.
Elastin is one of the main protein responsible for tissue elasticity. Studies have shown that product of its proteolysis is an active peptide characterised by the conserved sequence Val-Gly-Val-Ala-Pro-Gly (VGVAPG). This sequence is easily released from elastin in both physiological and pathological conditions, demonstrating high affinity to the elastin binding protein of the surface receptor, allowing elastin to enter the cell. The aim of the project is to conjugate selected cytostatics with the peptide and assess the impact of the obtained complexes on lungs and breast cancer cells in vitro by investigating their mechanism, including determining the level of expression of selected genes or the level of protein biosynthesis. The obtained results of the project will allow to examine the effectiveness of using elastin-derivative peptide as a drug transporter in targeted anti-cancer therapy in comparison to conventional (unconjugated) cytostatic.

Implementation period: 02.2021 – 07.2021
Financing: Podkarpackie Centrum Innowacji (PCI)

Scientific research financed by subsidies from the Ministry:

Determining the effect of elastin-derived peptide on Alzheimer’s disease
phenotype in neurons in vitro
Project Manager: Bartosz Skóra, PhD,
The main goal of the project is to determine the relationship between the formation of the VGVAPG peptide and the increased production of Sirtuin 2 with age, which would explain the development of Alzheimer’s disease in human neurons in vitro.
Implementation period: 2023-2026

Assessment of silver nanoparticles usefulness in the treatment directed against brain cancers in vitro
Project Manager: Konrad Szychowski, Assoc. Prof.,; Bartosz Skóra,
The aim of the project is to determine the effects of small-size (5-10 nm) silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) and glioblastoma (U-87MG) cells at the metabolism, genome and proteome level. Moreover, the interference of AgNPs with commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs will be evaluated. During the project the students of the Medical Biotechnology Student’s Science Group “Helisa” will be acquainted with the techniques of work in the cell culture laboratory and molecular biology methods. The prospective results of the research will be presented by the students in the form of oral/poster presentation and scientific publications.
Implementation period: 2022-2023
The project entitled. „Evaluation of the use of silver nanoparticles in therapy against brain cancer cells in vitro” was founded by the Minister of Education and Science in Poland with funds from the state budget within the „Studenckie Koła Naukowe Tworzą Innowacje” program. The allocated funded is 69,995.00 PLN.

Impact of VGVAPG peptide on the process of cell differentiation and aging in human cell lines
Project Manager: Konrad Szychowski, PhD, DSc., Assoc. Prof.
The aim of the project is to determine the effect of a short sequence elastin-like peptide on the process of cell differentiation and aging in human cell lines. The results of the project will serve as preliminary research for the submitted grant applications and will allow to extend the current knowledge on the basis of the mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases at the level of metabolism and genome, due to the presence of an elastin-like peptide – the amount of which increases significantly with age.
Implementation period: 2021-2025

Effect of xenobiotics on the activity of endocrine cells
Subject Manager: Anna Tabęcka-Łonczyńska, Assoc. Prof., Ph.D.
The aim of the study is to determine the effect of xenobiotics on the cells of the male reproductive and nervous system. Based on the preliminary analyses, a significant toxic effect of TBC xenobiotic (tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) isocyanurate) on spermatogenic cells was demonstrated – the standard parameters of metabolic activity, i.e. LDH and caspase 3, were altered. Preliminary studies on TBC mechanism of action on mouse spermatogenic cells have revealed the involvement of specific receptors in its toxicity mechanism at the proteomic level.
Implementation period: 2021 – 2023

Determination of the mechanism of endocytosis and toxicity of silver nanoparticles entrapped in EGF-labeled liposomes for EGFR-overexpressing cancer cell lines

Project Manager: Bartosz Skóra, MSc., BEng.
The main goal of the project is to determine whether higher expression of the EGFR receptor in lung and tongue cancer cells will be an effective target for the toxicity of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) enclosed inside liposomes. The project is based on conducting research on the level of metabolism and gene expression, which will serve as preliminary research for the submitted grant applications, and after their extension – the publication of the results in a series of thematically related scientific papers.
Implementation period: 2021

Department of Biotechnology and Cell Biology cooperates with many abroad and national research units, resulting in publishing articles in prestige, international journals, which are characterized by high Impact Factor (IF):

  • Yegor Vassetzky, Ph.D., D.Sc., Nuclear Organization and Pathologies CNRS UMR-8126 Institut Gustave Roussy, France;
  • Anna Wójtowicz, Ph.D., DSc., Prof.Tit., Department of Animal Nutrition and Biotechnology, and Fisheries, University Of Agriculture in Cracow, Poland;
  • Małgorzata Kajta, Ph.D., D.Sc., Prof.Tit., and Agnieszka Wnuk, PhD., Department of Experimental Neuroendocrinology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Science, Cracow, Poland;
  • Teresa Leszczyńska, Ph.D., D.Sc., Prof.Tit., and Aneta Kopeć, BEng., PhD., Department of Human Nutrition, University of Agriculture in Cracow, Poland;
  • Anna Lewińska, Ph.D., D.Sc. Assoc. Prof., and Maciej Wnuk, Ph.D., D.Sc., Assoc. Prof., Department of Biotechnology, College of Natural Sciences, University of Rzeszow, Poland;
  • Agnieszka Ścibior, Ph.D., D.Sc., Assoc. Prof., Laboratory of Oxidative Stress, Catholic University of Lublin, Poland;
  • Kamila Rybczyńska-Tkaczyk, BEng., PhD., Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of Life Sciences, Lublin, Poland;
  • Tomasz Piechowiak, BEng., PhD., Department of Chemistry and Food Toxicology, Institute of Food Technology and Nutrition, University of Rzeszow, Poland.

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