On Friday, 9 October 2020, a Gdańsk streetcar was named after Professor Anna J. Podhajska – the originator and cocreator of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology (MWB) of University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk and the Head of the Institute of Biotechnology MWB UG and MUG.
The event took place at the inactive streetcar station, at the 3 Maja and Nowych Ogrodów streets junction, on September 9th, at 10am. Number of invited guests was limited due to tightening of the sanitary regime.
- I am extremely pleased that cities take care of commemorating important figures of Gdańsk, people whose actions transformed the place we live in and Professor Anna Podhajska undoubtedly is such a person, First Lady of polish biotechnology, creator of the Poland’s one of a kind Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology (MWB) of University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk. The Faculty and its intercollegiate form was the idea of Professor Podhajska, who realized it with her characteristic determination – states prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Bielawski, Vice Rector for Development and Cooperation with Business and Industry, acting UG Rector. – However, it is not the only ‘living monument’ of Ms. Professor, who (it is worth remembering) initiated the creation of regional, extramural Technology Transfer Center, a unique institution combining science with business in Pomorskie Region and greatly contributed to creating Pomeranian Science and Technology Park Gdynia, now a beautiful and supremely equipped facility, comprising laboratories conducting applied research and hosting Experiment Science Center. Ladies and Gentleman, those were the 90s. I often think about Professor Podhajska as someone undoubtedly ahead of her time. She was always an open, warm and kind person. I am glad that this Gdańsk initiative to name a streetcar after Ms. Professor will keep the memory of her alive.
She was born on 17 April 1938 in Gdynia. Outstanding scientist, biotechnologist, professor of biological sciences. In 1955 she graduated Mikołaj Kopernik I High School in Gdańsk and later Medical Academy in Gdańsk in 1964. From 1965 to 1970 she worked at the Department of Microbiology of the Medical Academy in Gdańsk. From 1970 she worked at the UG Faculty of Biology, Geography and Oceanology. In 1975 she established the Department of Microbiology, which she was a head of till 1996.
As a representative of Rectors Conference of Tricity Universities in 1993 she initiated and cocreated the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk and served as Deputy Dean from 1993-1996 there. From 1996 until her passing she was the Head of the Institute of Biotechnology MWB UG and MUG, which she established. She supervised 17 doctoral theses and several habilitations. She was a charismatic scientist, always full of enthusiasm and innovative ideas, a mentor for numerous biotechnology adepts.
She cocreated Gdańsk Technology Transfer Center and Pomeranian Science and Technology Park Gdynia. She was a Member of Biotechnology Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) and Deputy Chairman of PAN Gdańsk Library Scientific Council (2003-2006).
In 2001, at her initiative, the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women and Science Scholarship Program was launched, which has been supporting Polish female researchers with outstanding achievements for almost 20 years.
Professor Anna Podhajska pioneered introducing molecular markers based innovative methods to the diagnostics of virus, bacterial and cancer diseases. She researched genetic and molecular basis of cancer formation, the use of photodynamic method to diagnose and treat cancer and the development of novel technologies to manufacture bioactive substances for pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
Translation: Adam Myzyk