Thursday, 30 September saw the opening of the RNA-Protein Interaction Laboratory – Dioscuri Centre, headed by Prof. Gracjan Michlewski. It will be established at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.
The centre's German project partner is Juri Rappsilber from the Institute of Biotechnology, Technische Universität Berlin. Researchers will investigate the cellular roles and structural characterisation of novel RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and RNA-protein interactions. The focus of their work will be RNA-protein interactions in the innate immune response to RNA viruses such as influenza.
RNA viruses have already caused several epidemics in the 21st century. The outbreak of a new flu pandemic or a viral bioterrorist attack could have catastrophic consequences for public health and the global economy. Therefore, understanding the interaction between host and virus at the cellular level is crucial to find the best way to inactivate the virus and prevent large disruptions and losses, stressed Prof. Gracjan Michlewski in 2019. In the current pandemic situation, his words, and above all his research, will have an even greater role and importance.
Dioscuri is an initiative of the Max Planck Society (MPG) carried out together with the National Science Centre and funded by the Polish Ministry of Education and Science and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The programme aims to support the development of Centres of Scientific Excellence in Central and Eastern Europe. An important aspect is financial support for outstanding researchers wishing to carry out research in the region. Dioscuri centres are set up where, thanks to the infrastructure that has been created, the conditions and the right environment already exist for conducting top-level research. They will run for five years, with the possibility of extension for a further five years following a positive evaluation by external experts. Past winners and therefore unit managers have also been:
- Dr Aleksandra Pekowska – Centre of Excellence for Evolutionary and Functional Genomics of Astrocytes, i.e. specific cells in nervous tissue,
- Dr Grzegorz Sumara – Centre of Excellence at the Lech Walesa Institute of Experimental Biology M. Nencki PAN,
- Dr Paweł Dłotko – Centre for Dioscuri Topological Data Analysis at the Institute of Mathematics, Polish Academy of Sciences,
- Dr Bartłomiej Wacław – Dioscuri Centre of Excellence for research on physics and chemistry of bacteria at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
You can read more about the programme HERE.