Research Groups

CANCER IMMUNOLOGY GROUP

Group leader: Prof. dr hab. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska 

Prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn (Poland). In 2010 she defended her PhD thesis with distinctions at the Faculty of Medicine of the Medical University of Gdańsk. In 2013 she was conferred the PhD hab. (Associate Professor) degree and in 2019 the degree of Professor of Medical Sciences. She has co-authored the first clinical therapy using autologous regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs). She completed her postdoctoral internship at the University of Chicago (USA), partly within the scholarship from the Kosciuszko Foundation and the Polish-American Medical Society (PAMS).

The scope of the research

The research conducted by Prof. Marek-Trzonkowska’s team is primarily focused on developing a new adoptive cell therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), along with design and therapeutic applications of new molecules which exhibit a potentiating effect on the cytotoxic activity of anti-cancer cells. Moreover, the group concentrates on analysing the mechanisms of general immmunotolerance and immune response against SARS-CoV-2 virus antigens. Together with the Chemical Biology Group, research aimed at acquisition and therapeutic use of peptides presented by MHC is also conducted.

CHEMICAL BIOLOGY GROUP

Group leader: Dr Irena Dapic and Dr Sachin Kote

Dr Irena Dapic defended her PhD thesis in 2014 at the University of Zagreb (Croatia). Her research concerned the use of mass spectrometry in studies of lipids and amino acid derivatives in clinical specimens. In the course of her post-doctoral internship at the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Dr. Dapic developed methods of protein profiling in biological samples obtained from human tissues and bodily fluids. Since 2018 she has led the Chemical Biology Group at the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science of the University of Gdańsk.

Due to the absence of Dr Dapic from 01.06.2021 Dr Sachin Kote is the Group Leader. Dr Kote’s current research focuses on peptide analysis and its use in the diagnosis and therapy of human cancer.

The scope of the research

The Chemical Biology Group works on developing new therapeutic strategies based on neoantigens specific for various types of cancer and protein markers in glioblastoma multiforme and oesophageal cancer. Dr. Dapic’s team also searches for new ways to secure biological samples obtained from clinical studies, e.g. biopsy specimens, to enable more precise proteome and peptidome determinations.

COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY/BIOINFORMATICS GROUP

Group leader: Dr Javier Alfaro

Dr Javier Alfaro received his Master’s degree in Biochemistry at Dalhousie University (Canada), specialising in evolutionary bioinformatics. He pursued his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto where he was eventually conferred the PhD degree in Medical Biophysics. He is currently leading the Computational Sciences Group at the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science. He also manages the Polish team within the international consortium implementing the KATY project as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, its purpose being to develop tools, based on AI mechanisms, to diagnose kidney cancer.

The scope of the research

The research objective of Dr. Alfaro’s team is to develop, using computational methods, a set of tools to support modulation of the patient’s immune system activity with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of applied therapies. The team’s principal scientific interest is to foster the development of new immuno-oncology strategies and to make them precisely tailored to patient groups. Once developed, the tools will be used in designing therapeutic vaccines to treat immune system dysfunctions such as autoimmune and oncologic diseases.