Przemysław Grudnik awarded the Polish Intelligent Development Award 2020

October 6, 2020


Dr. Przemysław Grudnik from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University (MCB UJ) was awarded the Polish Intelligent Development Award 2020 in the Scientist of the Future category. The jury awarded his research on molecular mechanisms controlling the protein synthesis process and on the structures of enzymes involved in neoplastic processes. The award ceremony will take place at the end of November during the 5th Intelligent Development Forum. The jury awarded two projects led by dr. Przemysław Grudnik: Molecular basis of hypusination and the recently concluded project entitled Structural characteristics of ADPGK and GPD2 – enzymes involved in the modified glucose metabolism in rapidly proliferating cells.

In the Molecular basis of hypusination project, the team led by Dr. Grudnik studies a unique modification of proteins – hypusination. Disturbances in the synthesis of the modified amino acid – hypusine have been detected in neoplastic processes and in neurodegenerative diseases. Project outcomes will contribute to understanding the mechanisms of the hypusination and may translate into the development of new therapeutic strategies in the future.

– In our research we use the techniques from the area of structural biology, including X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to describe at the atomic level the proteins involved in the hypusination process So far, the tangible effect of our project is explaining how the DHS protein uses its natural substrate – spermidine to modify the eIF5a translation factor. Another result of the project will be to understand the mechanisms responsible for DHS protein deficiency, causing a recently discovered rare neurodegenerative disease. Additionally, the discovery of specific chemical compounds will allow us to modulate (inhibit or activate) the hypusination process depending on the needs. It is worth emphasizing that in our research we use not only large European research infrastructure such as synchrotrons in Berlin or Grenoble, but also the highest-class cryoelectron microscope located at the Solaris synchrotron in Kraków. The entire project is supported by the Structural Biology Core Facility established at MCB UJ.

The Polish Intelligent Development Award is awarded by the Center for Intelligent Development and for 5 years it has been distinguishing innovators and investors, people and organizations whose way of acting and thinking affects the intelligent and sustainable development of society and economy. It is a unique and very prestigious award in the business and scientific community, popularizing, promoting and appreciating the authors of innovations. Most of the awarded projects are in the implementation phase. The award is an expression of respect for the idea, as well as a plan for the future of the project and the approach to its promotion.