Nencki Institute of Today

At the beginning of the 21st century, biology is faced with the enormous task of understanding how the information of the entire genome results in the biology of the organism. Employing over 260 full-time staff (of whom about 110 are research scientists) and training 150 PhD students, the Nencki Institute is currently the largest non-university biological research centre in Poland. The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving biological knowledge in order to meet contemporary challenges of the Polish society. High quality of externally funded research, excellent publication record, and strong international links place the Nencki Institute among the leading biological institutions of Central and Eastern Europe.

 

The research goals of the Nencki Institute are to arrive at molecular, cellular and organismal explanations of excitability, movement, development, memory, learning, behaviour, ageing and death. All those tasks need to be both intellectually satisfying and relevant to problems of human wellbeing.

 

Neurobiology and biochemistry represent two main research areas of the Institute. Nencki Institute is the only research centre in Poland, in which neurobiology is thoroughly studied from the molecular to the organismal level. Research projects in this field are carried out by teams belonging to the Centre of Neurobiology, integrated into the European network of microscopists in the frame of EURO-BioImaging project (www.eurobioimaging.eu) and consisting of 6 open-access laboratories, including advanced light microscopy and brain imaging, the Department of Neurophysiology (11 laboratories), Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (8 laboratories), and Department of Biochemistry (10 laboratories). For the teams from the two latter departments neural tissue and cells are the principal models, whereas in the Department of Neurophysiology studies are also conducted on rodents, cats, social insects, and humans.

 

Research in Department of Biochemistry is focused on structure and functional properties of cytoskeletal and motor proteins, on regulation of contractile processes, on biological membranes, bioenergetics of cellular processes, metabolic regulation, signal transduction, and regulation of gene expression.

 

In addition, Department of Cell Biology (4 laboratories) and several other laboratories carry on studies on signalling, plasma membrane dynamics, cell growth and differentiation, cell motility, molecular mechanisms of cell excitability, and ion channels of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

 

The Institute also places high emphasis on education and training. We actively recruit the best PhD candidates with the highest academic achievements, keen intellectual curiosity, and the desire to excel professionally and personally. Our staff provides them with a rigorous background in scientific concepts, tools, and a hands-on learning environment characterized by highly interactive laboratories. The best of the students, after completing the PhD curriculum with honours and a successful external postdoctoral stage, have an opportunity to return to one of our scientific teams as assistant professors, or to form a new team. New laboratories are created at the Institute to facilitate recruitment of the best specialists in research areas that are new and complementary to our current research profile. The Nencki Institute is an equal opportunity employer with full awareness of gender issues in scientific research (women account for approximately 65% of the Institute’s research and administrative staff, including senior level positions).