Scientists from the University of Gdańsk: Director of the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Studies (ICCVS) prof. dr hab. Natalia Marek -Trzonkowska and dr Łukasz Rąbalski from the Department of Recombinant Vaccines received awards from the Minister of Education and Science at the Polish Science Gala held on February 19, 2023, in Toruń.
The 66 awards (52 individual and 14 team awards) were announced at the First World Copernican Congress in Toruń at the Polish Science Gala.
Prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska was awarded, with her PhD student dr Karolina Piekarska from the UCK Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Transplantology, the team prize for significant achievements in implementation activities.
Prof. Natalia Marek- Trzonkowska is a co-developer of a clinical therapy using regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), type 1 diabetes (T1D) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Her research, in collaboration with dr Karolina Piekarska, led to 2 inventions related to Tregs cell therapy, which were filed with the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2020. These inventions enhance the therapeutic potential of Treg lymphocytes multiplied in vitro in the presence of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The developed methods were created through the cooperation of the University of Gdańsk, the Medical University of Gdańsk and the PolTREG S.A. company. They are being commercialised by PolTREG S.A. and implemented in treating type 1 diabetes in children.
Dr Łukasz Rąbalski, assistant professor at the Department of Recombinant Vaccines of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Medical University of Gdańsk, received an individual award from the Minister of Education and Science for a significant achievement in scientific activity: 'Determination of the genetic variability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within the human population and during interspecies transmission'.
His work demonstrated how the virus causing the COVID-19 disease was changing genetically. What we observe as successive variants of the virus emerging can be characterised by determining the fixation of new mutations per time unit. This makes it possible, for example, to predict the variability of the virus in the case of subsequent interspecies infections (e.g. farmed mink and humans). The work carried out by dr Łukasz Rąbalski and his colleagues has resulted, among other things, in a series of publications in prestigious foreign publications on human infectious diseases such as Eurosurveillance and Emerging Infectious Diseases published by the European and American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC and CDC).
Congratulations to the winners!