The Foundation for Polish Science announced the winners of the fourth edition of the Homing programme. A total of 8.8 million PLN (about 2.1 million EUR) will be given to young researchers conducting projects in R&D. Among them is Dr Paweł Ferdek from the JU Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, who has recently returned from the University of Cardiff.
45 research projects were entered into this year’s edition of the Homing programme. 12 winners were chosen in a three-stage review performed by experts in two panels: scientific-economic and interdisciplinary. The programme is aimed to assist young scientists coming or returning to Poland to continue their research projects. Within its framework, the winners are awarded with 800,000 PLN, delivered in the form of a two-year grant for a postdoctoral internship. The work may be conducted in scientific institutions or businesses is Poland.
At the Department of Cell Biology of the JU Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Dr Paweł Ferdek will work on the mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced pancreatic fibrosis, from fundamental signaling events in single cells to pathological changes in the tissue. According to the project’s description, real time imaging techniques will be applied to measure alcohol-induced spatiotemporal intracellular calcium signals and their role in triggering pancreatic fibrosis. New animal models of alcoholic pancreatitis combined with histological methods, immunofluorescence and confocal Raman microspectroscopy will allow tracing the progress of the disease in its different stages. Further, a novel pharmacological approach against pancreatic fibrosis will be tested in a new animal model of chronic alcoholic pancreatitis. The results of this study are expected to deliver novel insights into the pathophysiology of PSCs, which is relevant not only in pancreatitis but also in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer. The study aims to provide a clarification of mechanisms underlying PSC activation and to propose means of limiting fibrosis by eliminating activated PSCs. Current anti-fibrotic therapies are largely ineffective and this study has the potential to become a completely novel therapeutic approach against pancreatitis, particularly pancreatic fibrosis.
Dr Paweł Ferdek graduated in biology at the Jagiellonian University. In 2007, he became a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool. During his first year there, he participated in 3 three-month research internships, earning himself another Master’s title. Four years later, he completed his PhD study programme at the University of Cardiff, where he relocated earlier along with his academic supervisor. There, he took part in a postdoctoral internship which lasted until 2017.
Dr Ferdek’s interests are related chiefly to calcium signals, pancreatic physiological and pathophysiological processes, apoptosis, and Bcl-12 protein. Over the years, his collaboration with researchers from Poland, Great Britain, Belgium, China, and the USA has resulted in 14 publications which have been cited nearly 500 times. His papers have been published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, The Journal of Physiology and Cell Death and Disease.