On September 30, at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB), a new research group was officially opened - the Laboratory of RNA-Protein Interactions - Dioscuri Centre, headed by Prof. Gracjan Michlewski. This is the 5th Dioscuri Centre operating in Poland. Prof. Michlewski is the winner of the Dioscuri Centre of Excellence programme announced by the German Max-Planck Society and the laureate of the "Polish Returns" programme of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA).
The major focus of Prof. Michlewski investigations is on the RNA-protein interactions in the innate immune response to RNA viruses including influenza, commonly known as the flu and are focused on two main topics which are: functional and structural characteristics of novel RBPs and RNA-protein interactions in the innate immune response to RNA viruses and regulation of microRNAs through RBPs for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
The ceremony began with a speech by Prof. Marta Miączyńska, IIMCB Director, who welcomed the guests and stressed the importance of establishing the Dioscuri Centre at the international institute, as an important step in the development of the institute. The following speakers were Prof. Zbigniew Błocki, Director of the National Centre of Science (NCN), the operator of the Dioscuri Centre of Excellence program, Prof. Ralph Bock from the Dioscuri Scientific Committee in Germany (Dioscuri Scientific Committee, MPI-MP) and Prof. Juri Rappsilber from Institute of Biotechnology at the Technical University of Berlin (Technische Universität Berlin), who is Prof. Michlewski's scientific partner in the project.
Later in the ceremony, there were scientific presentations on the subject of RNA-protein interactions, and among the invited speakers were scientists with world achievements: Prof. Juan Valcárcel from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, who gave a presentation entitled "Networks of alternative splicing regulation in cancer: therapeutic opportunities" and Prof. Krzysztof Sobczak from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, who gave a lecture "Reversal of pleiotropic effect of toxic RNA with expansion of CGG repeats". The last lecture in this session was the speech of Prof. Gracjan Michlewski, who in his presentation entitled "RNA-protein interactions - my journey thus far" talked about his professional path and achievements in the field of RNA-protein interactions.
Dioscuri is an initiative of the Max Planck Society (MPG) implemented together with the National Science Centre (NCN) and funded by the Polish Ministry of Education and Science and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The program aims to support the development of Centers of Scientific Excellence in Central and Eastern Europe. An important aspect is financial support for outstanding scientists wishing to conduct research in this region. Dioscuri Centres will be established where, thanks to the created infrastructure, the conditions and appropriate environment for conducting research at the highest level already exist. They will operate for five years, with the possibility of extension for a further five years, following a positive evaluation by external experts.