Prof. dr hab. Maciej Wojtkowski

University Degree:

Professor of Physics (2003), habilitation in Physics (2010) at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland

Position at ICTER:

ICTER Chair and POB Group Leader

Research Areas:

Biomedical Imaging

Prof. dr hab. Maciej Wojtkowski (born 1975) is a physicist specializing in applied optics and medical and experimental physics. He started his scientific career at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. There he defended his master’s thesis, and then his doctoral thesis and postdoctoral thesis (habilitation). All degrees were awarded by the Institute of Physics, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Computer Science. From 1998 to 1999 he was employed as a researcher at the University of Vienna, Austria, and from 2003 to 2005 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and Tufts New England Eye Center, Boston, USA.

Prof. Wojtkowski is the inventor of the first prototype clinical SdOCT device for eye imaging, built at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and tested at the New England Eye Center in Boston USA, and the second built at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and tested at the Jurasz Ophthalmology Clinic in Bydgoszcz.[1][2][3] This device is used for non-invasive, non-contact eye examinations in clinics all over the world to monitor the onset, progression, and therapy of eye diseases.

Since 2016, Prof. Wojtkowski has headed the Department of Physical Chemistry of Biological Systems, and since 2019 the International Centre for Translational Eye Research – both institutions are subunits of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

He has authored more than 240 scientific publications, as well as several patents and patent applications. His work has been published in the following leading journals, among others: “Ophthalmology”, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, “Nature Medicine”, “Optics Express”, “Journal of Biomedical Optics” and “Optics Letters”. He was the first to design a spectral optical coherence tomograph used for non-invasive, non-contact eye examinations. This invention has found a wide application and is used in clinics all over the world. In 2012 he was honored with the prestigious Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) Award in Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Engineering.

Bartłomiej Bałamut, MSc

University Degree:

Master of Science in Biotechnology, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

Position at ICTER:

PhD Student

Research Areas:

Molecular Biology and Genetics

PhD student, his main responsibility is research with the use of in vitro electrophysiological recordings. He also performs experiments in the area of molecular biology and genetics.

Mehdi Borjkhani, PhD

University Degree:

PhD, University of Teheran in Iran,  Tehran Polytechnic in Iran

Position at ICTER:

Post-doc

Research Areas:

Neuronal Nets

Postdoctoral fellow, his research activity includes modeling the neuronal nets created from a multitude of different neuronal populations and data analysis.

Dawid Borycki, PhD

University Degree:

PhD, Nicolaus Copernicus University

Position at ICTER:

Senior Researcher

Research Areas:

Statistical and diffuse optics, software engineering, biomedical engineering

Dawid Borycki, D.Sc., Ph.D. specializes in biomedical optics, statistical optics, and software engineering. Dawid graduated with honors from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland (MSc. in 2007, Ph.D. 2011). In 2022 he received habilitation degree (D.Sc.) from the Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering Polish Academy of Sciences. 

He co-authored more than 25 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals such as Optica, Scientific Reports, Biomedical Express, Optics Express, and Optics Letters. He also holds two patents issued by the US patent office. In addition, he published 11 books and over 60 articles on programming, cloud technologies, and machine learning.  

Dawid has more than 14 years of experience in research and development. He specializes in the field of biomedical engineering, especially in biomedical imaging. He completed scientific projects in various scientific institutions (Nicolaus Copernicus University, University of California Davis, Polish Academy of Sciences). In addition, he served as a consultant in various commercial companies: Canon, Optopol Technology, Optina Diagnostics. 

His most outstanding scientific achievement is the creation of novel optical methods which use light interferometry. The first one, interferometric near-infrared spectroscopy (iNIRS), is for non-invasive brain sensing. The second one, spatiotemporal optical coherence tomography (STOC-T), is for ultra-fast human retinal imaging at cellular resolution.  

At ICTER, Dawid developed computational algorithms for STOC-T

Andrea Curatolo, PhD

University Degree:

PhD, The University of Western Australia

Position at ICTER:

Group Leader

Research Areas:

Biomedical Imaging

Andrea Curatolo is an expert in biomedical imaging, especially in optical coherence tomography (OCT) and derived techniques to enhance diagnostic accuracy and guide surgery, aimed at improved health outcomes, mainly in ophthalmology and oncology. Dr Curatolo obtained a PhD in biophotonics at The University of Western Australia.

He is an author of more than 30 publications in Q1 peer-reviewed international journals, including three book chapters. He is also involved in the clinical translation and commercialization of biophotonics technologies; he has authored several patent applications, and he is engaged in collaborations with MedTech startups.

Michał Dąbrowski, PhD

University Degree:

University Degree: PhD thesis in quantum optics, graduated in 2019 (Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw, with honours)

Position at ICTER:

post-doc

Research Areas:

quantum optics, AMO physics, light scattering, optical imaging, wavefront shaping techniques

During my PhD studies I participated in experiments on storage of quantum states inside atomic medium (so-called quantum memory). I have shown that it is possible to store and retrieve on-demand multiple photons as well as change the properties of resulting entangled state, using the spatial light modulator (SLM). The main motivation has been the creation of single-photon processor able to perform specific tasks for more complicated quantum circuits. Based on my previous experience I have started the postdoctoral fellow in the field of quantum optics with scattering media, having in the back of my head the applications for biological imaging. In my research project I tried to build a quantum simulator based on wavefront shaping + scattering processes in complex media. The fascinating world of light scattering brings me to the second postdoctoral position in the current group where I realized the project about two-photon fluorescence of the human eye to avoid scattering and absorption in the eye coming from visible-light excitation which paves the way for better understanding of a vision process.

Humberto Fernandes, PhD

University Degree:

PhD, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland

Position at ICTER:

Group Leader

Research Areas:

Mechanisms that Drive Cell Function in Health and Disease at the Atomic and Molecular Levels

Dr. Fernandes completed his PhD studies in Mariusz Jaskolski’s Lab, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznań, Poland, where he trained in X-ray crystallography. He moved to Ireland to carry out postdoctoral work with Amir Khan (Trinity College Dublin), then joined Stephen Curry’s research group (Imperial College London, UK), expanding and integrating his skills in crystallography with other structural and biophysics techniques. Moving back to Poland, as a semi-independent researcher in Matthias Bochtler’s lab (Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw), he has continued using structural biology focused on a project involving DNA sequencing. He has led two scientific grants as PI, mentored two master thesis students, and published eighteen peer-reviewed papers, which collectively have been cited over 700 times. He started his career as a group leader at the ICTER in September 2020. His scientific interest focuses on understanding the mechanisms that drive cell function in health and disease at the atomic and molecular levels.

Scientific and research initiatives by Dr. Humberto Fernandes:

1. 04/2023: Project coordinator of the iNEXT-discovery project “Structural elucidation of retinol binding protein 3 (RBP3) with different retinoids” (PID: 25721) supported by iNEXT-Discovery, project number 871037, funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.

2. 04/2023: Project coordinator of the iNEXT-discovery project “Structural characterization by X-ray crystallography of mammalian RBP3” (PID: 25420) supported by iNEXTDiscovery, project number 871037, funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.

3. 02/2023: Award of the Minister of Education and Science for significant achievements in scientific activities for the team of Prof. Prof. Matthias Bochtler.

4. 01/2023: Project coordinator for cryo-EM beamline access project “Structural studies of Retinol-binding protein 3” (Proposal 222017) under the provision of the Polish Ministry of Education and Science project: ‘‘Support for research and development with the use of research infrastructure of the National Synchrotron Radiation Centre SOLARIS’’ under contract no. 1/SOL/2021/2.

5. 10/2022: Project coordinator of the iNEXT-discovery project “Structural studies of Retinol-binding protein 3” (PID: 23732) supported by iNEXT-Discovery, project number 871037, funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.

6. 09/2022: Project coordinator of the iNEXT-discovery project “A protein structural biology approach to understanding morphological changes in photoreceptor outer segment after light activation: a closer look at PDE6” (PID: 22852) supported by iNEXTDiscovery, project number 871037, funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.

7. 03/2022: Project coordinator of the iNEXT-discovery project “Retinol-binding protein 3 (RBP3): ligand binding, cooperativity, and conformational changes” (PID: 17551) supported by iNEXT-Discovery, project number 871037, funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Commission.

8. 02/2016 to 01/2020: Project manager and Principal investigator of the OPUS9 project “Non-catalytic domains of the RNA-guided DNA methyltransferase DRM2” from the National Science Centre Poland (NCN) (grant agreement 2015/17/B/NZ1/00861) (Budget 907200.0 PLN)

9. 10/2013 to 12/2015: Project manager and Principal investigator of the HOMING PLUS project “Plant-specific methyltransferase DNA structures” from Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) (grant agreement HOMING PLUS/2013-7/5) (Budget 327800.0 PLN)

10. 03/2015: Project coordinator of the BioStruct-X project “Non-catalytic domains of the RNA-guide DNA metyltransferase DRM2” (No. 9586) from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under BioStruct-X (grant agreement N°283570)

11. 11/2007 to 11/2009: Principal researcher in the research project “Structural and biochemical studies of plant PR-10 proteins from different sources” (No. N N204 2584 33) sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Budget 40000.0 PLN)

12. 08/2007: RCSB PDB Poster prize awarded at 24th European Crystallographic Meeting ECM24

13. 12/2004 to 11/2007: Marie Curie Host Fellowship for Early Research Training of the EU

14. 11/2003 to 10/2004: Initiation to investigation scholarship from the project POCTI/BME/47604/2002, on the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia program: “Structural studies on the proteasome maturation factor (Ump1p) and its complex with proteasome precursors”

15. 03/2002 to 08/2002: Initiation to investigation scholarship from the project POCTI/32621/BME/2000, on the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia program: “The 20S and 26S proteasome assembly pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae”.

Andrzej Foik, PhD

University Degree:

Department of Protein Biosynthesis of the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, Centre of Oncology – Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, University of California, Irvine, USA

Position at ICTER:

Group Leader

Research Areas:

Molecular and Cell Biology, Genetics, In Vivo and In Vitro Electrophysiology

Researcher's ORCID Id: 0000-0003-1110-9223

Andrzej Foik, PhD, is experienced in molecular and cell biology, genetics, in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology at the network and single-cell levels, data analysis, and computer programming. His scientific pathway began at the Department of Protein Biosynthesis of the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, where he defended his master thesis. He received further scientific training at the Department of Molecular Biology in the Centre of Oncology – Maria Sklodowska-Curie Institute.

He attained a PhD degree in neurophysiology at the Laboratory of Neurobiology of Vision at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw. Prior to taking the lead of the Ophthalmic Biology Group, he pursued scientific studies as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology of the University of California, Irvine, USA (2015 – 2020).