On 29 November 2019 at the Nencki Institute, the official opening of the SPARK-POLAND Program, which is part of the SPARK-GLOBAL 'translational scientists without borders' initiative took place. Prof. Agnieszka Dobrzyń is the director of SPARK POLAND, while Dr. Dorota Gierej-Czerkies is its manager. An Advisory Committee includes Prof. Craig Garner, Dr. Liliane Brunner Halbach, Prof. Franz Theuring, and Prof. Maciej Żylicz.
The SPARK Global initiative began in 2006 at Stanford University, to improve public health through collaboration between scientists and industry experts, ensuring an effective translation of scientific discoveries. More than 40 leading institutions around the world have already joined this unique community.
In Poland, the Nencki Institute, and the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw are the first institutions to participate in this important initiative, which, through cooperation with experts from industry and academia from all over the world, enables a faster transfer of basic research results to the clinic, and stimulates translational research.
During the opening ceremony of the SPARK POLAND program, guests could listen to several lectures promoting the SPARK initiative. Prof. Craig Garner (Charite - Universitätsmedizin Berlin/SPARK Berlin), talked about how to intensify and support translation work in the academic community, using the example of the history of the projects that contributed to the creation of SPARK. Dr. Liliane Brunner Halbach (Industry Advisor at SPARK Stanford, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw), and Prof. Franz Theuring (Charite - Universitätsmedizin Berlin/SPARK Berlin) shared their experience in the development of translation projects. Also presented, was the SPARK-Poland pilot project planned for 2020, which aims to support translational projects by bringing together interested scientists and European experts. We believe that a deep understanding of biological mechanisms can be transformed into practical solutions when this process is supported by a pool of experts from both science and industry.