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Open position for the Leader of the Dioscuri Centre of Excellence at IIMCB


The International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw invites outstanding candidates to apply to the 1st call for Dioscuri Centre of Excellence program announced by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) and National Science Centre Poland (NCN). The position is offered to excellent scientists conducting internationally competitive and innovative research who obtained their PhD degree within a period not exceeding fifteen years prior to the submission of their application to Dioscuri. 

Application deadline to NCN is February 12, 2018. Candidates wishing to apply for the Dioscuri Center with the support of IIMCB should provide Marcin Nowotny, PhD (mnowotny@iimcb.gov.pl) with: CV, publication list, project outline (max 1 page) and information on the German partner.


Founded in 1999, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB) is a modern research institute, ranked with the highest score (category A+) by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. We have nine independent research groups that conduct studies in the fields of molecular cell biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, structural biology, bioinformatics, and developmental genomics.

IIMCB is an important part of the European and international research network, reflected by long-term scientific cooperation with world-leading foreign research centers, such as the Max Planck Society. IIMCB research groups develop individual international collaborations through common grants, regular contacts, exchange visits, and open seminars that are systematically organized with outstanding invited speakers from all over the world. The international recognition of IIMCB is visible in the active participation of IIMCB researchers in prestigious European and international organizations: EMBO, Scientific Advice Mechanism High Level Group, Advisory Group for Health in FP7, ERC, MSCA.

IIMCB follows organizational standards of the best European research centers. It fosters an international work environment and positive workplace culture with a “team spirit” that stimulates creativity. IIMCB holds the “HR Excellence in Research Logo,“ a prestigious accreditation that is awarded by the European Commission, recognizing IIMCB as a quality employer that offers its researchers a favorable working environment. Altogether, the supportive environment at IIMCB allows the academic staff to devote their time primarily to scientific tasks. The Dioscuri Centre will be fully integrated in this environment and carefully supported at both the scientific and administrative levels:

Employment. The Dioscuri holder will be employed with a professorial position and full-time contract. The salary will be specified by the Dioscuri program, and the Dioscuri holder will have no teaching obligations. The new leader will receive a benefits package according to national legislation, IIMCB bonuses, and private medical care. These will also apply to other Centre members, depending on their type of employment.

Additional funds. In agreement with the Dioscuri program rules, IIMCB will support the Centre with 25,000 EUR annually and additionally with 75,000 EUR of start-up funds. Further support will be negotiated, depending on specific research needs of the Dioscuri Centre.

Research Freedom. The Dioscuri holder will be offered an independent lab leader position, with full freedom in scientific and organizational management of the research group. The new leader will also be responsible for the Centre and its research achievements.

PhD Schools. PhD students who are recruited by the Dioscuri Centre will be enrolled in one of the PhD programs of the Ochota Campus, offered by the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, and the School of Molecular Medicine of Warsaw Medical University.

English-speaking administrative personnel. IIMCB will provide an administrative manager who is employed full-time and dedicated to support the Dioscuri Centre. The new team will receive professional and comprehensive assistance from English-speaking administrative personnel.

Support with grant applications. To ensure the Dioscuri Centre’s sustainability, the new PI is expected to apply for external funding. Currently, numerous grant schemes are available, especially from Polish sources. During the application process, the Dioscuri holder will receive thorough internal support and mentoring, both scientific (from other PIs) and administrative (from the dedicated Grants Office).

Laboratory technical support. Dedicated technicians who are employed by IIMCB will provide basic laboratory support to the Dioscuri Centre, including glass cleaning, media preparation, and material sterilization.

Access to certification courses and training. If needed, IIMCB will offer the Centre’s researchers free participation in required certification courses on the usage of laboratory animals (in English). New staff will also be offered professional in-house training (e.g., on the use of equipment) and will be fully supported to participate in specialized, external training.

Robust networking possibilities. Dioscuri Centre staff will be integrated in IIMCB’s research community. They will participate in weekly open seminars that are held in English (a forum to share experiences and network with in-house researchers and outstanding invited scientists). They will also be invited to networking events that are organized at IIMCB and neighboring institutes of the Ochota Campus. These are tremendous opportunities for the Centre to broaden its scientific horizons and develop inspiring contacts.

Cooperation, technology transfer, and commercialization. The Dioscuri Centre will benefit from IIMCB contacts with pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms and will be supported by Biotech Innovation Ltd., an IIMCB company, in efficient technology transfer to industry and commercialization.

Laboratory and office space for Dioscuri Centre

The Dioscuri Centre holder will be provided the best conditions to conduct their research. The new leader will be offered laboratory space and neighboring furnished office space that are ready to be equipped according to Centre needs and specifications. The size of the space will be adjusted to the number of new Centre team members, which will increase with time if needed. In the initial phase of the Dioscuri Centre’s development, the new PI will have at their disposal a laboratory of ~50 m2, an equipment room of ~32 m2, and a culture room. The Dioscuri holder will also have two offices, one for themselves and one for the team members, each ~17 m2. In addition to IIMCB Core Facilities (see p. 9), the Centre will benefit from full and unlimited access to common infrastructure, such as -80°C freezers, centrifuges, incubators, isotopes, cell cultures, autoclaves, and washing devices, and will be supplied with common standard services, such as the Mili-Q ultrapure water system. The Dioscuri holder will have full access to mouse/rat and C. elegans facilities. Lastly, the Dioscuri Centre will benefit from the space of a meeting room, a small conference room, a seminar room, a quiet work room, and a social room.

Scientific equipment

In compliance with IIMCB rules, the Dioscuri holder and his group will benefit from unlimited, free-of-charge access to a broad range of cutting-edge research technology platforms at IIMCB that are available at its Core Facilities and Zebrafish Core Facility. The new group will also benefit from the infrastructure and facilities at neighboring institutes of the Ochota Campus where IIMCB is located. Experienced scientists will provide Dioscuri Centre’s staff with initial training on methodological principles, experimental design, procedures that are needed for specific experiments, data analysis, and final data interpretation. Finally, the Dioscuri Centre team members will be allowed to use the equipment of other Lab Leaders. Free equipment sharing is one of core principles of IIMCB operations.

The majority of IIMCB equipment is concentrated in the Core Facilities. The equipment is available to all staff at no cost and is maintained by scientific staff members with substantial expertise. There are over 50 pieces of equipment that are grouped into several units based on leading technologies and applications:

The Macromolecule Crystallography Unit is one of the most advanced in Poland and is equipped with a Crystal Phoenix crystallographic robot (Art Robbins Instruments), X8 Proteum X-ray generator (Bruker) with 135 Platinum CCD detector (Bruker), Cryosystem series 700 cryostream cooler (Oxford Cryosystems), and two Minstrel Crystallographic Hotels (Rigaku).

IIMCB also has a cryo-EM setup that consists of a 120 kV TECNAI Spirit microscope (FEI) equipped with a TVIPS CMOS 4K´4K camera and all additional equipment that is required for cryo-EM work, such as a Vitrobot cryo-holder (FEI). This equipment is suitable for tissue/cell imaging and single-particle EM sample preparation and characterization.

The Biochemical and Biophysical Analysis of Proteins and Nucleic Acids Unit comprises analytical instruments for in-depth analyses of proteins and nucleic acids using different methods: VP-ITC Isothermal Titration Calorimeter (MicroCal/Malvern), VP-DSC Differential Scanning Calorimeter (MicroCal/Malvern), ProteomeLab XL-I Analytical Ultracentrifuge (Beckman), Biacore 3000 surface plasmon resonance device (GE), HELEOSII and Optilab T-rEX SEC-MALS equipment (Wyatt), J-810 Spectropolarimeter CD (Jasco), TENSOR Series FT-IR Spectrometer (Bruker), Nano Drop 8000 spectrophotometer (Thermo), FP-8300 Spectrofluorometer (Jasco), DMA 5000 M density meter, and Lovis 2000 M rolling-ball viscometer (Anton Paar).

The Mass Spectrometry of Proteins and Nucleic Acids Unit has two mass spectrometers: MALDI-TOF-TOF ultrafleXtreem and LC-ESI-Ion Trap amaZon speed ETD (both from Bruker).

The Microscopy Bioimaging Unit has fluorescence-based imaging systems that are suited for cell biology applications: confocal microscope LSM800 (Zeiss), LSM710 NLO dual confocal/multiphoton microscope for live imaging (Zeiss), TCS SP2 confocal microscope for live cell imaging and FRAP experiments (Leica), a system for real-time spinning-disk confocal microscopy and TIRF imaging Revolutions XD (Andor), Lightsheet Z.1 single-plane illumination microscope (Zeiss), CellR/ScanR imaging station for intracellular calcium measurements (Olympus), 80i Eclipse microscope (Nikon), and FACSCalibur for the quantitative analysis of fluorescence signals in suspension cells (BD).

The Generation Sequencing Unit is equipped with a NextSeq 500 sequencer (Illumina). The Core Facility also provides instrumentation for complete sample preparation for sequencing, including a system for precise DNA/RNA and chromatin shearing and size selection - Covaris M220 and BioRuptor Pico, BluePippin, and systems for nucleic acid quality and quantity measurements -TapeStation, NanoDrop 3300 Fluorospectrometer and Quantus.

Other pieces of IIMCB equipment include 14 FPLC Chromatography systems, a Sally Sue system for automated Western blot analysis (ProteinSimple), two Techforce-S bioreactors (Infors), HPLC 2996 detector and HPLC pumps (Waters), Odyssey Infrared Imaging System (LI-COR), Odyssey FC Imaging System (LI-COR), Optima LE-90K, Optima LE-80K, and Optima MAX XP Ultracentrifuges (Beckman Coulter), 7900HT Real Time PCR (Life Technologies), Typhoon Trio Variable Mode Imager (GE Healthcare), Imager ImageQuant LAS 4010 (GE), Centro XS3 LB 960 Microplate Luminometer (Berthold Technologies), Infinite M1000 Plate Fluorimeter (TECAN), Sunrise Plate Reader (TECAN), STERIVAP Steam Sterilizers (BMT), Acquity UPLC (Waters), B Series Cell Disruption System (Constant Systems), OPS-201 Oligonucleotide Purification System, and ASM-800 DNA Synthesizer (Biosset).

The new leader will also have full and free access to the Zebrafish Core Facility, a licensed breeding and research facility with a zebrafish stock collection of more than 16,000 fish. The ZCF is equipped with incubators, microscopes, injectors, and a thermocycler. Zebrafish Core Facility users have at their disposal a behavioral room that is equipped with a housing system for acclimatization and two automated systems that allow observations and the tracking of larval and adult zebrafish behavior.

A more comprehensive list of equipment is available at https://www.iimcb.gov.pl/en/equipment-facilities/equipment.


In 2000-2017, IIMCB researchers published over 800 papers in leading journals. The most important publications from the last 5 years are the following (names of IIMCB lab leaders in bold):

  • Jastrzebski K, […], Miaczynska M. Multiple routes of endocytic internalization of PDGFRβ contribute to PDGF-induced STAT3 signaling. J Cell Sci.

  • Majewski Ł, […], Kuznicki J. Overexpression of STIM1 in neurons in mouse brain improves contextual learning and impairs long-term depression. Biochim Biophys Acta.

  • Szewczyk LM, […], Kuznicki J. ST8SIA2 promotes oligodendrocyte differentiation and the integrity of myelin and axons. Glia. 2017.

  • Gozdz A, […], Jaworski J. GSK3α and GSK3β phosphorylate Arc and regulate its degradation. Front Mol Neurosci. 2017.

  • Maminska A, […], Miaczynska M. ESCRT proteins restrict constitutive NF-kB signaling by trafficking cytokine receptors. Sci Signal. 2016.

  • Wrobel L, […], Chacinska A. Mistargeted mitochondrial proteins activate a proteostatic response in the cytosol. Nature. 2015.

  • Bragoszewski P, […], Chacinska A. Retro-translocation of mitochondrial intermembrane space proteins. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015.

  • Glow D, […], Bujnicki JM. Sequence-specific cleavage of dsRNA by Mini-III RNase. Nucleic Acids Res. (distinguished as a "Breakthrough Article")

  • Mierzejewska K, […], Bujnicki JM, […], Bochtler M. Structural basis of the methylation specificity of R.DpnI. Nucleic Acids Res.

  • Nowak E, […], Le Grice SFJ, Nowotny M. Ty3 reverse transcriptase complexed with an RNA-DNA hybrid shows structural and functional asymmetry. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2014

  • Smietanski M, […], Nowotny M*, Bujnicki JM*. Structural analysis of human 2′-O-ribose methyltransferases involved in mRNA cap structure formation. Nat Commun. 2014 *CA

  • Wojciechowski M, […], Bochtler M. CpG underrepresentation and the bacterial CpG specific DNA methyltransferase M.MpeI. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

  • Gorecka KM, […], Nowotny M. Crystal structure of RuvC resolvase in complex with Holliday junction substrate. Nucleic Acids Res.

  • Urbanska M, […], Jaworski J. Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and 2 (mTORC2) control the dendritic arbor morphology of hippocampal neurons. J Biol Chem. 2012.

A complete list of publications is available at www.iimcb.gov.pl/en/research/publications.


The majority of IIMCB funding is provided by external competitive sources, both Polish and international. Between 2000 and 2017, IIMCB scientists received 284 grants, constituting approximately 70% of the total institutional budget. Among these, 58 were awarded by foreign funding institutions, such as the European Commission within the Framework Programmes and Horizon 2020 (36 projects with 3 ERC grants), EMBO (4), HHMI (3), Wellcome Trust (3), Polish-Norwegian Research Fund and Polish-Swiss Research Fund (3), Max Planck Society, National Institutes of Health (4), and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, among others. In the same period, 226 projects were granted by Polish domestic agencies, mainly the National Science Centre (NCN), Foundation for Polish Science, National Centre for Research and Development, and Polish Ministry for Science and Higher Education. Notably, IIMCB is highlighted in the latest official NCN Report as one of best performing Polish Host Institutions. Between 2013 and 2016, IIMCB had the highest success rate among all NCN calls (61%) and received the highest funding per researcher in the area of Life Sciences. In just 2016, IIMCB was granted a total of 15,470,000 PLN (3,643,429 EUR) with an 88% success rate.

The three most important research projects that were awarded to IIMCB in the past 5 years are the following:

  1. ERC, Starting Grant

Title: “Structural studies of Nucleotide Excision Repair Complexes” (agreement no. 281500)

Principal Investigator: Marcin Nowotny

Period: 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2017

Source of Funding: European Commission, 7th Framework Programme

Amount of funding: 1,498,000 EUR

  1. Foundation for Polish Science, TEAM

Title: “Cellular consequences of endosomal dysfunction for proteostasis, metabolism and cancer biology” (agreement no. TEAM/2016-2/15)

Principal Investigator: Marta Miaczynska

Period: 01.06.2017- 31.05.2020

Source of Funding: European Union, European Regional Development Fund, Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014-2020

Amount of funding: 3,497,520 PLN (823,605 EUR)


  1. National Science Centre, MAESTRO

Title: “Structural RNomics” (agreement no. UMO-2012/04/A/NZ2/00455)

Principal Investigator: Janusz M. Bujnicki

Period: 08.10.2012-07.10.2017

Source of Funding: National Science Centre

Amount of Funding: 3,000,000 PLN (705,720 EUR)

A complete list of grants is available at https://www.iimcb.gov.pl/en/research/grants.


Recent patents

  1. Sabała I and Bochtler M: “A method of proteolysis, a peptidase, a composition for use as a bacteriostatic or bactericidal agent, a kit and the uses of the active form of LytM of S. aureus or a derivative thereof” (EP 2699254). Patent granted in the USA, Canada, and Japan, one licensing agreement signed for the use of the LytM enzyme.

  2. Bujnicki JM, Sulej A and Skowronek K:dsRNA endoribonucleases” (EP 2718431)

  3. Bujnicki JM, Sulej A, Skowronek K and Nowotny M:Sequence-specific engineered ribonuclease H and the method for determining the sequence preference of DNA-RNA hybrid binding proteins” (EP 2718430)

  4. Dastych J: “Tools and methods useful in characterising the immunotoxic activity of xenobiotic substances” (US 8361711 B2)


Scientific issues:
Marcin Nowotny, PhD
Deputy Director for Science
e-mail: mnowotny@iimcb.gov.pl
phone: +48 22 5970717


Operational matters:
Dorota Libiszowska
Head of Grants Office
e-mail: dlibiszowska@iimcb.gov.pl
phone: +48 22 5970714




All information about the program, application form and regulations can be found at www.ncn.gov.pl/dioscuri/call-announcement

Full IIMCB description and the offer to candidates can be found at www.ncn.gov.pl/dioscuri/files/dioscuri-nz1-19.pdf