Jagiellonian University Heddle Lab

Centre for Programmable Biological Matter

Meet the Jagiellonian University Heddle Lab Members

Professor

Jonathan Heddle
Professor

I have expertise in biochemistry, enzymology, antibacterial drugs, structural biology and nanotechnology using biological molecules (bionanotechnology). In the past I worked in conjunction with academia and industry on using proteins to develop new, smaller, faster nanocircuitry.
Now, with my own lab I am looking at developing new types of biologically based nanomaterials and therapeutic agents. This includes using DNA origami as well as developing artificial, programmable protein nanostructures.  In addition, I am interested in understanding and treating age-related disease.

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Anirban Adhikary
Assistant Professor
Yusuke Azuma
Adjunct Assistant Professor

I am working as an Adjunkt, assistant professor, in the lab since October 2018. With Jonathan, I am reengineering the artificial protein cage composed of the trpRNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP) for prospective applications in nanotechnology and medicine. Meanwhile, I am also leading my own research subgroup that develops artificial subcellular compartments for storage and catalysis through redesign and evolution of a cage-forming enzyme lumazine synthase. You can find my team activity here, https://www.azumag.com/.

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Team Members

Artur Biela

BSc in laboratory medicine and MSc in biochemistry, will be a full-time technician in Heddle’s lab. Particularly interested in exploring all kinds of protein preparation methods.

Magdalena Bożek
Wojciech Czyszczoń

Antimicrobial drug resistance among bacteria is an increasing challenge in clinics. DNA Gyrase is one of the targets for such drugs. That is why, as a PhD student, I focus on investigating gyrase-targeting pentapeptide repeat protein – EfsQnr. This protein was found in genomic DNA of Gram-positive bacteria – Enterococcus faecalis, which is a potentially harmful opportunistic pathogen of humans. EfsQnr confers resistance against quinolones – a potent family of antimicrobials. EfsQnr’s biological function and mode of action remains unknown. My aim is to get closer to understanding the mechanism of its interaction with gyrase using biochemical and structural biology methods.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking. I am also interested in ethnography, history and languages.

Kinga Fic
Szymon Gaweł

I am a PhD student in the Heddle Lab, with a background in biophysics, cancer research and magnetic resonances. I am currently working on modifying artificial protein cages made of TRAP protein for potential use in biomedical purposes, such as drug delivery or modern vaccines. If there is anything interesting to decorate the cage with, then I would definitely like to do it! Privately, a gamer, bookworm, lover of food and cooking and a fan of science also outside of biochemistry, especially physics and astronomy. I am still waiting for the theory of the universe as a protein cage.

Agnieszka Gawin-Grębla
Daniel Jankowski

A student researcher pursuing my MSc in Biochemistry with a focus on biophysical chemistry and bioanalysis. I work within the Azuma subgroup, traversing the tortuous pathways of directed protein evolution, which provide a gradual ascent up to the summit: novel, enhanced variants of molecules. My objective is to harness the unfettered potential of protein cages, either natural or artificial, to engineer supercharged enzymes and fluorescent proteins with potential applications in molecular biology and biomedicine. Who knows where the journey might take me?

Vishal Malolan

I am a PhD student in the Azuma subgroup working on designing stimulus-responsive protein nanocages. My interests lie in understanding how biomolecules work, and how it can be mimicked and modified to impart useful functionality. In the future, I hope to harness the versatility of biomolecular architectures for applications in organic synthesis reactions, and that one day, drinking tea with milk and sugar will have a more mainstream appeal.

Elizabeth Michalczyk

I am primarily interested in topoisomerases and specifically DNA gyrase. I have worked on several projects in Heddle lab involving DNA gyrase from a wide range of organisms including thermophilic archaea and the eukaryotic parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii.

Antonina Naskalska

My work focuses on developing the of virus-like particles (VLPs) as vaccines, smart drug delivery systems, RNA protecting capsules, and others. Currently I’m particularly interested in developing VLPs originating from feline and human coronaviruses. I’m also involved in investigating VLPs originating from a bacteriophage and “artificial” protein cages and their potential applications.

Norbert Osiński
Marta Pabiś
Jędrzej Pankowski
Monika Pasternak

I am a PhD student working in the Maestro group. My research focuses on artificial protein cage delivery into cells. Currently, I am trying to develop a suitable system for tracking cages and monitoring their localisation, endosomal escape and cage disassembly within cells. In my private life, I am a nature lover who enjoys spending time being surrounded by beautiful plants.

Manuel Robles

At Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Valdivia, Chile; my research focused on studying the structure and function of members of the ClC family of chloride channels and transporters. Afterwards I moved to Ireland where I obtained my PhD degree in molecular medicine at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, studying the regulation of the Epithelial Sodium Channel function by steroidal hormones. Also in Ireland, as part of my postdoctoral studies, I worked at Systems Biology Ireland developing a synthetic signalling cascade; and then at the International Centre of Neurotherapeutics in pain research.

In 2021, I joined Heddle’s lab where I am currently helping in our efforts to develop novel DNA/lipid and DNA/lipid protein nanostructures

Maryia Zarechyntsava

Links

Gyrase project (NCN OPUS funded)

Designed DNA/Lipids

Artificial Protein

Opus Lap

Maestro

Funding

We are grateful to the various bodies who fund our research: