Republic of Poland

Ministerial grants for outstanding young scientists

November 22, 2018

Tomasz Hadaś from the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformatics deals with the applications of GNSS satellite navigation systems such as the American GPS, Russian GLONASS, European Galileo or Chinese BeiDou in real time – in order to precisely determine the position of any given points on Earth. After all, positioning is one of the basic tasks of geodesists. It enables us to place objects on the map and monitor the movements of continental plates. But navigation systems are also used to monitor the content of steam in the atmosphere – says the scientist from the Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Geodesy.

fot. Tomasz Lewandowski

- The information on steam presence in atmosphere may be used for weather forecasting. The problem is that high dynamics of steam content makes it difficult to come up with any model. Satellite systems allow us to do that even in real time – we get up-to-date information of high spatial and temporal resolution coming from real measurements not predictions. Numeric models of weather forecasting which would use these data, could produce much more accurate forecasts, especially short-term ones and those connected with extreme weather conditions – explains Hadaś and admits that his research still exceeds the capabilities of meteorological analysis centres. The products of near-real time, that is, for example, with one-hour delay, are already used operationally by the best centres in Europe. They are not yet ready for a bigger amount of data but: - It’s only a question of time and my ambition is to build an analysis centre supplying the real-time GNSS meteorological products to stations in Europe.

Tomasz Hadaś also takes part in grant research carried out in the institute for the European Space Agency. Two of them that have already finished, concerned the disturbance of satellite signal in the ionosphere.

The scholarship for outstanding achievements was also received by Paulina Nowicka PhD from the Department of Fruit, Vegetable and Plant Nutraceutical Technology at the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Science.

- In my work I focus, on one hand, on analysing the series of compounds content in plant materials and determining their health activity with the use of modern analytic techniques. And on the other hand, I design innovative products, which possess pre-programmed health and sensory properties, for which I use little known or even forgotten plant materials – says dr Nowicka. – This is a worldwide trend, leading to the optimization of production through not only carefully selected material but also non-invasive processing which makes the final product tasty, as well as healthy.

fot. Tomasz Lewandowski

So far, Nowicka has taken part in numerous research projects financed by the National Science Centre (NCN), the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MRiRW), in which she dealt with things like improving attractiveness and nutritional value of cherry preserves or analysing edible flowers as a new source of phytocompounds.

I focus also on the knowledge transfer to the economy. Together with Nutricia I design and improve fruit and veg products for infants and small children. I also cooperate with Tymbark on new juices – lists Nowicka, admitting that she works a lot and the night is her favourite time for it. At the same time she points out that her scientific team, headed by professor Aneta Wojdyło, deserves a great deal of the credit for her scientific successes. In 2017, her efforts were also noticed by the Foundation for Polish Science which granted her a scholarship within the 25th START competition.

The third scholar on our list is Błażej Późniak PhD hab. from the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, who deals primarily with pharmacokinetics.

- I check what happens with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory medicines in the bodies of hens and turkeys and how significant for medicaments’ decomposition are differences between species or intense growth of broiler chickens. It turns out that young birds eliminate medical substances from their organisms much faster than older birds which achieve slaughter weight. This fact, however, is still completely ignored in the recommendations concerning drug dosages. Dosage adjustment of, for example, antibiotics, to the age and weight of an animal will allow us to give effective dosages to young birds and limit the supply of useless medicaments to the older ones. And this, in turn, limits the risk of medicines remaining in turkey meat served at our tables, reduces pharmaceutical pollution of the environment, as well as the risk of increasing bacterial drug-resistance – explains Błażej Późniak, who has received a grant from the National Science Centre for the works on a mathematical model of drug behaviour in the body, aimed at making pharmacology much more precise.

fot. Tomasz Lewandowski

Późniak is also interested in nanomaterials. He conducts research in this field together with scientists from the Institute of Low Temperatures and Structure Research of Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław, as well as with researchers from the Wrocław University of Technology. – My task is an initial evaluation how such a material behaves in contact with cells: if it’s toxic, if it’s actively absorbed by the cells, if it affects the cell metabolism in any way, etc. My results are integrated with microbiological and physicochemical data from other centres and on this basis the evaluation of the material is published plus its potential application. I have mainly researched materials that could serve as contrast agents – for example in magnetic resonance, as medicament carriers and the ones that could be for filling bone losses – says Błażej Późniak, emphasizing that he always tries to involve students in his research. For him, stimulating passion for science in young people is a part of scientist’s ethos. Of similar importance is scientific cooperation with foreign science centres – he has done several internships in places like Stanford and Jackson in the USA, and, for a few years, he has been cooperating with Chinese institutions. Późniak is now responsible for coordinating the cooperation with the biggest agricultural University in China – China Agricultural University.