First TEAM’s laureate, with an ERC grant for dissecting the mechanism of DNA repair in human mitochondria

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The European Research Council has awarded dr hab. Michał R. Szymański, from the University of Gdańsk, a grant of EUR 1.5 million as part of an ERC Starting Grant.

The project title is Dissecting the mechanism of DNA repair in human mitochondria. The project will run for five years.

The grant will allow us to carry out research to facilitate the understanding of the fundamental principles underlying DNA repair in human mitochondria. In the future this will help us comprehend the factors underlying broadly defined mitochondrial diseases,” dr Szymański explained. “We wouldn’t have reached this stage if it hadn’t been for the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP), among others. The First TEAM grant we received from the FNP in 2017 proved to be invaluable, and encouraged me to move back to Poland, where I was able to set up an independent group to expand our research, said dr Szymański.

Dr hab. Michał R. Szymański has a Degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics gained in 2007 from the University of Houston. In 2011 he obtained a D.Sc. Degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Texas. That same year he received the prestigious Jeane B. Kempner Postdoctoral Fellowship, which allowed him to continue his research at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and at the Department of Pharmacy within the University of Texas Medical Branch. His research has provided new insights into the mechanisms of bacterial DNA replication and repair, the structural underpinnings of DNA replication in human mitochondria, and the reasons underlying antiviral drug toxicity and complications. In October 2017, as an awardee of the POLONEZ grant from the National Science Centre and of the FIRST TEAM grant from the Foundation for Polish Science, he took the post of Assistant Professor at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Medical University of Gdańsk. In 2018 he received the prestigious EMBO Installation Grant from the European Molecular Biology Organisation, and in 2019 he acquired the Postdoctoral Degree of Habilitated Doctor (doktor habilitowany, dr hab.). Currently, he is Head of the Structural Biology Laboratory. The laboratory and research group led by dr hab. Szymański has been focusing on research into the structure of enzymes responsible for DNA replication and repair in human cells, as well as in viruses and bacteria.

In the picture: dr hab. Michał R. Szymański / picture by OneHD