Prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn with honoris causa doctorate of the University of Szczecin


Distinguished scientist, molecular biologist prof. dr hab. Grzegorz Węgrzyn was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Szczecin.

 Conferring the title to prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn took place during a ceremonial meeting of the Senate of the University of Szczecin on 7 June 2024.

‘I am honoured to have been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Szczecin. It is a great honour to receive this highest academic dignity. I take it as a recognition of academic achievements - scientific, teaching and organisational - as well as an expression of confidence. Let us remember, however, that this honour is the result of the work of a whole Team of researchers, not only my achievements, but all that we have been doing together with the Team for many years. All these people also deserve huge thanks and recognition,' says prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn.

The promoter in the procedure for awarding prof. Węgrzyn with the title of doctor honoris causa at the University of Szczecin was dr hab. inż Beata Tokarz-Deptuła, prof. US from the Institute of Biology, and the reviewers were: prof. dr hab. Ewa Bartnik from the University of Warsaw (Faculty of Biology, the Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology), prof. Zofia Szweykowska-Kulińska from the A. Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) and prof. Michał Witt from the Institute of Human Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

‘This is a unique celebration at the University of Szczecin, as at any university. This is the highest academic dignity that a university can confer. The requirements for its award are defined by law and regulations, but there is also an added value, i.e. what these individuals represent. Not only does the Professor conduct research at the highest world level, recognisable all over the world, not only does he organise scientific life in Poland, and this is what he is known for - but what is important for us is that he has found a place in his heart for the University of Szczecin, especially the Institute of Biology. It is thanks to the Professor that our scientists have carried out research and been inspired to do so. This is the contribution that Mr Professor has made to building the University of Szczecin that we are proud of,’ said US Rector prof. dr hab. Waldemar Tarczynski.

Prof. Beata Tokarz-Deptuła, the promoter of the DHC candidate, delivered a laudation, presenting the merits and achievements of the promoted doctor honoris causa.

This was followed by a lecture entitled: ‘Let's not be afraid to think’, delivered by prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn. ‘Among many quotations concerning thinking, I would like to quote my master Professor Charles Taylor, who stated that ‘the rarest, but also the most valuable, is the courage to think, because this courage to think is often lacking in us as human beings’. And what happens when we no longer have the courage to think? We are called homo sapiens - the man of reason, the thinking man. And thinking is, of course, science, but are we always able to think for ourselves, even when doing science?’ said Professor Grzegorz Węgrzyn as he began his lecture.

The ceremony culminated with the singing of the song ‘Gaude Mater Polonia’ together with the Szczecin University Choir.

Full coverage of the ceremony is available on the University of Szczecin website.


Prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn

Prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn was born on 27 June 1963 in Gdańsk. There he graduated from Primary School No 55 and the First High School. He obtained his master's degree in biology in 1987 at the Faculty of Biology, Geography and Oceanology of the University of Gdańsk. At the same faculty, 4 years later, he defended his doctoral thesis, and after another 4 years (1995) he was awarded a postdoctoral degree. In 1998, he became a professor of biological sciences.

His scientific career is connected with the University of Gdańsk, where he worked as an assistant (1987-1992), assistant professor (1992-1996), assistant professor with the degree of PhD (1996-1997) and at the post of associate professor (1997-1999), and since 1999 as full professor.

He has also served as Vice-Dean (1993-1996) and Dean (2002-2008), as well as Vice-Rector for Science at UG (2008-2016). He has promoted 57 PhDs - 11 of them received habilitation, and 5 received the title of Professor of Biological Sciences.

In the meantime, prof. G. Węgrzyn has completed two long-term scientific internships: at the University of Nottingham (UK - 1991) and the University of California, San Diego (USA - 1992).

He is also the author of more than 500 articles - mainly in international scientific journals in the fields of molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and microbiology, and the holder of 12 patents, including two for the treatment of mucopolysaccharidosis (patent in the USA) and Alzheimer's disease (patent in Poland).

He has been honoured for his scientific activities, among others: Prime Minister's Award for his habilitation thesis, MEN/MNiSW Award (three times), J. Hevelius Award, Vebleo International Scientific Award and Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (USA) Award. He has also won awards from scientific societies for the best genetic, biochemical or microbiological publication of the year (13 times in total). He was awarded the Leon Marchlewski Medal by the Committee on Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

He is President of the Gdansk Branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences for the term 2023-2026 (also 2019-2022). He is also an editor in JCR-listed scientific journals.

Edit. Julia Bereszczyńska/Press Team; source: University of Szczecin