Head: Agnieszka Dobrzyń



2015 Professor of Biological Sciences, nomination by the President of the Republic of Poland, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, PAS

2006 DSc Habil in Medical Sciences, Medical University of Bialystok

2001 PhD in Medical Sciences, Medical University of Bialystok

1997 MSc in Biology, University of Warsaw


Research trainings:

2002-2006 Dep. of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

2001 Dep. of Surgery, Vienna University Hospital, Austria

1998 Dep. of Biochemistry, University of Munster, Germany


Professional employments:

2007-present Head of the Laboratory of Cell Signaling and Metabolic Disorders, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, PAS

2002-2006 Postdoc, Dep. of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

1997-2002 Assistant, Dep. of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University of Bialystok


Honors and fellowships:

2016 Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievements  awarded by the Minister of Science of Higher Education

2017- present Chair of the ‘ERC starting grants’ expert panel, Brussels, Belgium

2016-present Member of the Committee of Molecular and Cellular Biology, PAS

2015-present Chair of the ‘Mobility plus’ expert panel, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education

2007-present Member of EMBO YIP

2003, 2005 Polish Public Health Minister’s Research Awards

2004-2005 American Heart Association Fellowship

Staff: Aneta Dobosz (PhD student), Anna Dziewulska, Justyna Janikiewicz, Katarzyna Kolczyńska (PhD student), Sai Santosh Babu Komakula (PhD student), Błażej Krupa (PhD student), Patrycja Kucharczyk (PhD student), Paulina Pawelec, Aleksandra Rumińska (PhD student)


Research profile:

Our research group carries out multidisciplinary studies on signaling and transcriptional cascades that have far-reaching implications on cell metabolism and human metabolic diseases, mainly type 2 diabetes. Our main priority is to understand the role of lipid metabolites and epigenetic modifications of gene expression in the development of insulin resistance and pancreatic β-cell dysfunction. We are also interested in gaining insights  into  the  functional  role  of  stearoyl-CoA  desaturase  (SCD)  in  regulation of pancreatic islet metabolism and development because it will increase our awareness of lipid partitioning, and may have important implications for pathogenesis of the Metabolic Syndrome. Our research is focused on signaling pathways affected by fatty acids during pancreatic organogenesis in healthy and insulin resistant models and determination the role for lipid mediators in pancreatic β-cell – α-cell communication as well as the cross-talk between insulin resistant tissues (i.e. skeletal muscle and adipose tissue) and pancreatic islets. Our genuine intension is to provide solid foundation for knowledge about the role of lipid mediators in pancreatic islet organogenesis and function, and to increase an understanding of molecular mechanisms that trigger pancreatic β-cell adaptation towards systemic insulin resistance. We are also a partner of a multi-sectorial consortium whose ultimate goal is to generate Human Bionic Pancreas – a 3D functional scaffold for islet transplants that could become a fully-fledged method for the treatment of diabetes.

Current research activities:

  • metabolic regulation of the DNA damage response in pancreatic β cells in different models of type 2 diabetes
  • lipid signaling in regulation of organogenesis and embryonic development of pancreatic islets
  • epigenetic regulation of pancreatic islets’ metabolism and function
  • metabolic and genetic abnormalities in endocannabi-noid-related regulation of insulin sensitivity
  • heat shock protein HSP72 in the development of lipid-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle
  • adipose-derived stem cells as a source of insulin-and glucagon-producing cells for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications

Selected publications:


Koziński K., Jazurek M.,DobrzyńP.,JanikiewiczJ., KolczyńskaK., GajdaA.,DobrzyńA.(2016)  Adipose- and muscle-derived Wnts trigger pancreatic β-cell adaptation to systemic insulin resistance. Sci Rep, 6: 31553.


Maleńczyk K., Keimpema E., Piscitelli F., Calvigioni D., Björklund P., Mackie K., Di Marzo V., Hökfelt T.G., Dobrzyń A., Harkany T. (2015) Fetal endocannabinoids orchestrate the organization of pancreatic islet microarchitecture. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 112: E6185-6194.


Janikiewicz J., Hanzelka K., Dziewulska A., Koziński K,. Dobrzyń P, Bernaś T, Dobrzyń A (2015) Inhibition of SCD1 impairs palmitate-derived autophagy at the step of autophagosome-lysosome fusion in pancreatic β-cells. J Lipid Res, 56: 1901-1911.


Malodobra-Mazur M., Dziewulska A., Koziński K., Dobrzyń P., Kolczyńska K., Janikiewicz J., Dobrzyń A. (2014) Stearoyl-CoA desaturase regulates inflammatory gene expression by changing DNA methylation level in 3T3 adipocytes. Int J Biochem Cell Biol, 55: 40-50.


Malenczyk K., Jazurek M., Keimpema E., Silvestri C., Janikiewicz J., Mackie K., Di Marzo V., Redowicz M.J., Harkany T., Dobrzyń A. (2013) CB1 cannabinoid receptors couple to focal adhesion kinase to control insulin release. J Biol Chem, 288: 32685-32699.