PhD Students Seminar

Dear All,

We cordially invite you to the Ph.D. Seminar, which will be held on March 4, 2022 at 10.30 in the CN Conference Room (1st floor). The program includes 4 presentations:

1) Magdalena Baszuk

2) Mateusz Choiński

3) Karolina Rojek-Sito

4) Aleksandra Sęk

Information regarding speakers together with abstracts can be found below.

The seminar will be held in a hybrid mode. Participants in the CN Room (speakers and their supervisors) are asked to follow the safety rules.

Link to the meeting

With best regards,

Anna Filipek & Anna Nowicka


Mgr Magdalena Baszuk

Laboratory of Neuropsychology

Supervisor I: Prof. dr hab. Elżbieta Szeląg

Supervisor II: Dr hab. Hanna Bednarek

Title: Training in temporal information processing ameliorates cognitive functions in healthy elderly: neuropsychological and electrophysiological evidence



We are aging society. The age-related decline concerns many cognitive domains. Previous studies conducted in our Laboratory indicated that these deteriorations are accompanied by deficient Temporal Information Processing (TIP) which is an essential component of human cognition and provides a framework for many mental functions.

This study aimed to verify cognitive benefits of cognitive training based on TIP.

Subjects were 69 elderly aged from 61 to 79 years (M=68.51; SD=4.07) classified randomly into three groups: (1) cognitive training in TIP using Dr Neuronowski program (experimental Group A); (2) placebo training (active control Group B); and (3) non-active controls (Group C, without any training). All participants completed pre-test and post-test assessment. Each training took 8 weeks and consisted of 24 sessions. The stability of observed effects was evaluated in follow-up assessment. Evaluation included neuropsychological and electrophysiological procedures.

After the training we observed significant improvement only in Group A which was stable in follow-up assessment. The cognitive benefits comprised: TIP, executive functions, short-term memory and inhibitory control. Our results indicated the high effectiveness of cognitive training based on TIP. It might be expected that improvement in TIP may lead to improvement of cognitive functions in elderly. Supported by NCN GrantNumber 2015/17/B/HS6/04182.


Mgr Mateusz Choiński

Laboratory of Neuropsychology

Supervisor: Dr hab. Aneta Szymaszek

Title: The efficacy of aphasia treatment based on temporal information processing - neuropsychological and electrophysiological markers



Aphasia is an acquired impairment in language functions resulting from a brain lesion. Traditional therapy of people with aphasia (PWA) includes language exercises directly improving deficient functions. Recently, it was evidenced that aphasia is accompanied by deficits in non-language cognitive functions, which intensify language difficulties.

In our Laboratory, the innovative therapeutic tool Dr. Neuronowski®based on exercises involving temporal information processing (TIP), was developed. TIP is a neural frame for many cognitive functions, including language.

The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of two training programs: a traditional language therapy and the novel therapy based on TIP exercises using Dr. Neuronowski®.

Beside broad neuropsychological assessment of PWA, they were tested with two event-related potentials (ERPs) procedures: P300 and Mismatch Negativity.

Both trainings improved language (phoneme discrimination, sentence comprehension, verbal fluency) and non-language cognitive functions (planning, TIP). Moreover, training with Dr. Neuronowski® improved working memory and naming. These results suggest the efficacy of the TIP training in aphasia treatment. Moreover, latencies and amplitudes of the components measured before the therapy predicted the effects of both trainings. ERPs, therefore, may be used as the predictive objective tool that should be included into the diagnosis of PWA.

Supported by National Science Centre, Poland, grant number: 2016/21/B/HS6/03775.


Mgr Karolina Rojek-Sito

Laboratory of Neurobiology of Emotions

Supervisor: Dr hab. Ewelina Knapska, prof. Instytutu Nenckiego

Title: Central amygdala - ventral tegmental area - cortical circuits for social and food rewards



Social interaction is a complex behavior essential for the survival of many species, and its impairment is a hallmark feature of major neuropsychiatric disorders. Social dysfunctions are often explained by a deficit in motivation and reward processing specific to social stimuli. However, the functional dissociation between the neural circuits processing social and non-social rewards remains unknown. Here, we compared two cortical circuits connecting the central amygdala (CeA) and ventral tegmental area (VTA), in order to ascertain if they are the underlying motivation for social interaction and for food. Using opsins targeted at behaviorally activated neurons, we tagged CeA cells implicated in social and food reward. Optogenetic manipulations revealed that these circuits only partially overlap. Through chemogenetic manipulations of specific projections, we identified a crucial role of the CeA-VTA pathway and the dopaminergic VTA-anterior cingulate (ACC) and VTA-orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) pathways in social motivation, but not in terms of motivation for a food reward. In addition, we found that the ACC-CeA and OFC-CeA inputs are involved in both social and non-social motivation. Together, these findings establish the CeA-cortical pathways as a node for regulating social motivation, providing new insights into the regulation of social reward.

The project was supported by European Research Council Starting Grant (H 715148) to EK.



Mgr Aleksandra Sęk

Laboratory of Intracellular Ion Channels (Interdisciplinary Doctoral Studies TRI-BIO-CHEM)

Supervisor I:  Prof. dr hab. Adam Szewczyk

Supervisor II: Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Bauer (Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw)

Research tutor: Dr hab. Piotr Bednarczyk, prof. SGGW

Title: Mitochondrial BKCa channel: regulation by synthetic and natural compounds



Mitochondria play a central role in energy metabolism, cellular signaling and ions homeostasis. It has been shown that mitochondrial potassium channels present in the inner mitochondrial membrane have been involved in cytoprotection during ischemia/reperfusion event. One of these channels is the mitochondrial large-conductance Ca2+- regulated potassium (mitoBKCa) channel. Activation of the mitoBKCa channel is important for protecting heart tissue against ischemic damage.

One of the objectives of the study was identification of the potassium channels in human bronchial epithelial cells and characterization the channels activity in the HEK293 cell line expressing the mitochondrial BK_DEC isoform. The project also focuses on the regulation of the mitoBKCa channel by plant origin compounds and their synthetic derivatives. Measurements of the channel activity were performed with the use of patch-clamp technique and biochemical methods were applied to monitor physiological role of the compounds. In summary, new mitoBKCa channel was described in epithelial cells and new naringenin derivatives as channel regulators were identified. Detailed analysis of regulation of mitoBKCa channel is crucial for better understanding of cytoprotection induced by potassium channel openers.

This study was supported by a grant 2019/35/B/NZ1/02546 from the NCN, Poland and partially by Nencki Institute. Work implemented as a part of Operational Project Knowledge Education Development 2014-2020 co-financed by European Social Fund: POWER.03.02.00-00-I007/16-00 (to A. Sęk).

23 February 2022
2022-03-04 10:30:00
2022-03-04 12:30:00