Prof. dr hab. Leszek Kaczmarek and dr hab. Ewelina Knapska are laureates of the International Research Agendas (MAB) competition run by Foundation for Polish Science. A grant, at the amount of PLN 39 mln, is assigned to create at the Nencki Institute, the Center of Excellence in Neural Plasticity and Disorders – BRAINCITY – an International Research Agenda. Our strategic partner in this program is European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).
The aim of BRAINCITY, is to understand mechanisms, and to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic methods aiming at the most expensive and socially significant diseases afflicting people, such as autism, schizophrenia or Alzheimers. It is estimated that these medical conditions cost EUR 500 billion annually in the European Union alone. To reduce this great social and financial burden, researchers from the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, have embraced upon a courageous initiative of gathering outstanding scientists, who will join the research on these conditions. Thanks to the funding obtained from the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP), amounting to PLN 39 million for five years, the Nencki Institute will create a team of six modern scientific laboratories, that will deal with various aspects of neural plasticity, i.e. changes in the functioning of the nerve cell network in the brain, which are the basis of these diseases. The principal investigators of the new laboratories will be selected through the international competitions, under the supervision of an international scientific advisory committee. The foreign partner of this initiative, is the leading research institution in bio-medical sciences in Europe - European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, Heidelberg). EMBL is a joint initiative of 25 countries, including Poland, in accordance with the law signed on July 16, will soon become the 26th member state of EMBL. The eminent international position of EMBL, and the highest quality of its research, will provide significant support for BRAINCITY in the recruitment of outstanding scholars to run the laboratories. BRAINCITY plans to focus on research of a high degree of clinical significance, which will be assisted by cooperating neurological and psychiatric clinics of the Warsaw Medical University, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw and the Children's Health Center in Międzylesie. On the other hand, cooperation with rapidly expanding Mazovian biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, such as Celon Pharma and OncoArendi Therapeutics, will ensure the knowledge and competences necessary to translate the results of basic research into applications for patients.