In memory of Professor Hanna Strzelecka-Gołaszewska

It is with great regret and sadness that we inform you, that on April 13th, Prof. Hanna Strzelecka-Gołaszewska, an outstanding biochemist and a long-time employee of the Nencki Institute, suddenly passed away. Hanna Strzelecka-Gołaszewska has been associated with the Institute since the mid-1950s, when she was performing her M.A. thesis under the supervision of Professor Włodzimierz Niemierko. From 1957 she worked in the Department of Biochemistry, where she was involved in innovative research on the mechanism of muscle contraction, in particular the structure and function of actin and myosin and she remained faithful to this subject throughout her scientific career. The PhD in natural sciences she obtained in 1965, under the supervision of Prof. Witold Drabikowski, post-doctoral degree in 1974 and in 1984 she received the title of professor. After her doctorate, she completed a research internship in 1967-1968 at the prestigious Boston Biomedical Research Institute, USA. She promoted ten PhDs:  four of them were awarded the title of Assistant Professor, two of which received the title of Professor. In the years 1977-2005, she headed her own Laboratory of Structural Muscular Protein Biochemistry, and after reaching retirement age, she worked at the Institute in the Laboratory of Molecular Basis of Cell Motility.

She was the author of over 60 articles and 3 book chapters; she also co-edited two scientific monographs. Her achievements were presented at many international scientific conferences. She has successfully cooperated with foreign scientific centers, including the Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Salzburg, Loranda Eotvos University in Budapest and Pecs Medical University. Her scientific work was highly valued by scientists involved in the research concerning the role of actin and myosin.

Several times she has been elected a Head of the Department of Muscle Biochemistry (in 1984-1991 and 1998-2003). In 1975-1976 she served as Deputy Director for General Affairs and in the years 1977-1982 – as the Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs of the Nencki Institute. In 1986-1989, she was Vice-Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Institute. In the 1980s, she managed thematic groups within the framework of nationwide inter-ministerial issues, and after the establishment of the system of individual research grants, she received funding for her own research several times. She was a member (and in 1982-1992 Vice-Chairman) of the Committee of Muscle Physiology PAS, a member of Committee of Biochemistry and Biophysics PAS, Committee of Cytobiology PAS and the Commission of Neuro-Muscle Pathophysiology of the Committee of Neurological Sciences PAS. She belonged to the Polish Biochemical Society and European Muscle Society. She co-organized a number of scientific events. Her greatest achievement in this field was the organization of the first international conference on calcium ion-binding proteins in 1973.

For her scientific and organizational achievements she has been awarded with state distinctions and awards (including the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta). Her research team received the award of Polish Academy of Sciences four times, as well as a medal for cooperation between researchers from the Polish and Russian Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the Parnas Prize by PTBioch for the best article on biochemistry.

She was a wonderful, honest man, deeply devoted to science and the Institute. She required a lot from her co-workers, but even more from herself. Her leaving is a great loss for the Institute and for the muscle research community.

Date of publication
15 April 2020