Alicja Sznarkowska, PhD

Doctor in Biological Sciences in the field of Biochemistry

Principal Investigator –  Characterization of the Function and Regulation of Nrf2 Isoform 2 –
Polish National Science Centre, Sonata 17 Programme


Main research focus:

I’m interested in how life operates on the molecular level and how one piece of the genetic code can carry a different meaning, depending on the context (eg. different environment, different stimuli). This broad question we now explore with a specific example of protein isoforms coming from one gene but showing different characteristics and function. Nrf2 is a transcription factor that transduces cellular stress into adaptive, cytoprotective responses. We have identified an N-terminally truncated isoform of Nrf2 which shows different regulation and indications of novel function as it does not translocate to the nucleus. In SONATA project we explore the function and characteristics of this isoform to enhance our understanding of Nrf2 pathway and its regulation. We know that transcription factors such as p53, p63, p73 but also other proteins such as growth factors (eg. VEGF) have isoforms that counteract function of the full-length forms. We are looking forward to see how it plays out in the case of Nrf2.

We also explore interplay between Nrf2 and antigen presentation via MHC class I molecules.


Ongoing Projects and Scientific Interest

2022-2025 Polish National Science Centre Sonata17 Project:
Characterization of the Function and Regulation of Nrf2 Isoform 2


Previous Positions

2018-2022    International Centre of Cancer Vaccine Science, University of Gdansk Post-doctoral fellow


2015-2014    University of Gdansk, INFECT-ERA project Post-doctoral fellow


Previous Scientific Projects

2022 UGrant Advanced Principle Investigator
2015-2019 Polish National Science Centre Preludium9 Project: Different redox potential of tumor and normal cells as a tool for targeting cancer by natural products.


Principle Investigator
2015-2017 INFECT-ERA/01/2014 (hepBccc)


2013-2014 Polish National Science Centre Etiuda1: Pharmacological activation of p73 as a strategy to kill tumor cells with inactive p53 protein Principle Investigator


Doctoral Thesis Supervision:

2022 Dr Sara Mikac Identification of a novel, transcription-independent role of Nrf2 in lung cells
2022 Dr Maria Tovar Fernandez The origin of peptides for the Major Histocompatibility Class I system


List of publication from the last 10 years:

  1. Singh, A., Padariya, M., Faktor, J., Kote, S., Mikac, S., Dziadosz, A., Lam, T. W., Brydon, J., Wear, M. A., Ball, K. L., Hupp, T., Sznarkowska, A., Vojtesek, B., & Kalathiya, U. (2022). Identification of novel interferon responsive protein partners of human leukocyte antigen A (HLA-A) using cross-linking mass spectrometry (CLMS) approach. Scientific reports, 12(1), 19422.
  2. Mikac, S., Rychłowski, M., Dziadosz, A., Szabelska-Beresewicz, A., Fahraeus, R., Hupp, T., & Sznarkowska, A. (2021). Identification of a Stable, Non-Canonically Regulated Nrf2 Form in Lung Cancer Cells. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(5), 786.
  3. Padariya, M., Sznarkowska, A., Kote, S., Gómez-Herranz, M., Mikac, S., Pilch, M., Alfaro, J., Fahraeus, R., Hupp, T., & Kalathiya, U. (2021). Functional Interfaces, Biological Pathways, and Regulations of Interferon-Related DNA Damage Resistance Signature (IRDS) Genes. Biomolecules, 11(5), 622.
  4. Padariya, M., Kalathiya, U., Mikac, S., Dziubek, K., Tovar Fernandez, M. C., Sroka, E., Fahraeus, R., & Sznarkowska, A. (2021). Viruses, cancer and non-self recognition. Open biology, 11(3), 200348.
  5. Rybicka, M., Woziwodzka, A., Sznarkowska, A., Romanowski, T., Stalke, P., Dręczewski, M., Verrier, E. R., Baumert, T. F., & Bielawski, K. P. (2020). Liver Cirrhosis in Chronic Hepatitis B Patients Is Associated with Genetic Variations in DNA Repair Pathway Genes. Cancers, 12(11), 3295.
  6. Piszczek, P., Radtke, A., Ehlert, M., Jędrzejewski, T., Sznarkowska, A., Sadowska, B., Bartmański, M., Erdoğan, Y. K., Ercan, B., & Jedrzejczyk, W. (2020). Comprehensive Evaluation of the Biological Properties of Surface-Modified Titanium Alloy Implants. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(2), 342.
  7. Rybicka, M., Woziwodzka, A., Sznarkowska, A., Romanowski, T., Stalke, P., Dręczewski, M., Verrier, E. R., Baumert, T. F., & Bielawski, K. P. (2020). Genetic variation in IL-10 influences the progression of hepatitis B infection. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, 96, 260–265.
  8. Sznarkowska, A., Mikac, S., & Pilch, M. (2020). MHC Class I Regulation: The Origin Perspective. Cancers, 12(5), 1155.
  9. Rybicka, M., Woziwodzka, A., Romanowski, T., Sznarkowska, A., Stalke, P., Dręczewski, M., & Bielawski, K. P. (2019). Host genetic background affects the course of infection and treatment response in patients with chronic hepatitis B. Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, 120, 1–5.
  10. Woziwodzka, A., Rybicka, M., Sznarkowska, A., Romanowski, T., Dręczewski, M., Stalke, P., & Bielawski, K. P. (2019). TNF-α polymorphisms affect persistence and progression of HBV infection. Molecular genetics & genomic medicine, 7(10), e00935.
  11. Sznarkowska, A., Kostecka, A., Kawiak, A., Acedo, P., Lion, M., Inga, A., & Zawacka-Pankau, J. (2018). Reactivation of TAp73 tumor suppressor by protoporphyrin IX, a metabolite of aminolevulinic acid, induces apoptosis in TP53-deficient cancer cells. Cell division, 13, 10.
  12. Sznarkowska, A., Kostecka, A., Meller, K., & Bielawski, K. P. (2017). Inhibition of cancer antioxidant defense by natural compounds. Oncotarget, 8(9), 15996–16016.