The Department was founded in 1946 and headed till 1973 by
Jerzy Konorski, followed by Bogusław Żernicki (1973-2001)
and since 2002 by Andrzej Wróbel. The major topics of
research in the Department over all this years center on
anatomical and functional connectivity of the central
nervous system including developmental and adult aspects in
healthy and pathological states. These research topics are
based on the long tradition of behavioral experiments as
well as new neurochemical, molecular, histological,
electrophysiological, neuroinformatic and modeling methods.
At present, the Department consists of ten laboratories that
focus on various aspects of brain function starting from
molecular and cellular bases up to the integrative
mechanisms of neuronal networks and animal and human
Sensory systems and perception are studied on five
models including the auditory system of the dog (with
research focused on anatomical connectivity of the cortical
areas); the visual system of the cat and the somatosensory
system of the rat (devoted to basic functional physiology as
well as contextual mechanisms influencing perception) and
the gustatory system of the rat (with analysis of early
sensory deprivation). See the “laboratories” section for
more details on the groups dealing with these topics, led by
Andrzej Wróbel and Tomasz Werka.
The topics related to regeneration, plasticity and aging
focus of five other groups. These
laboratories use rodents to study mechanisms of neural
control of locomotion, recovery of motor functions after
central and peripheral injuries in young and adult animals.
The studies include: apoptosis and response of cell-death regulating proteins in
neurodegeneration, involvement of neurotrophins and cell adhesion molecules in
neuronal regeneration and regrowth, strategies for stimulation of
endogenous pools of regenerative proteins and plasticity processes in the
neuromuscular system. Potential of pharmacological treatment, intraspinal
grafting or locomotor training techniques to enhance functional recovery
following injury and in motoneuron disease models (ALS)are investigated. (Heads
of the laboratories: Julita Czarkowska-Bauch and Urszula Sławińska).
Morphological aspects of neuronal plasticity including extracellular proteolysis
and glial contribution to synaptic plasticity, are the focus of the group headed
by Grzegorz Wilczyński. In addition, morphological correlates of cellular
events in pathogenesis of epilepsy are studied by this group. Other two
laboratories (Heads: Elżbieta Szeląg and Grażyna Niewiadomska)
carry on systemic, molecular and cellular studies which concern the function
of basal forebrain cholinergic system in the adult and aging rats, and beta-amyloid
induced toxicity in Alzheimer’s disease. Development of novel cognitive tests
and pharmacological treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, as well as
assessment of drug safety are new subjects of animal and human research by
Emotion and memory are studied with the use of different behavioral
paradigms in rats and dogs. The investigations on mechanisms of memory are
devoted to strategies of learning, behavioral mechanisms of defensive and
alimentary conditioning, mechanisms of spatial, recognition and emotional
memory, as well as their neuronal substrates and underlying genetic mechanisms.
Neurophysiological and neurochemical research on the emotional system focuses on
mechanisms of aggression, fear and social behavior as well as limbic-motor
interactions. The effects of psychomimetic compounds on electrophysiological
activity of the limbic system are investigated in freely moving rodents. (Heads
of the laboratories: Tomasz Werka, Grzegorz Wilczyński and
approach is devoted to investigations on hemispheric asymmetry in cognitive and
emotional functions; sex-related differences in functional brain organization;
as well as mechanisms of speech, left-handedness and dyslexia. Close cooperation
with human clinics allow for studies on perceptual, memory and attention
deficits after brain damage in epileptic and Parkinsonian patients, subjects
with cochlear implants and children with speech disorders. The mutual projects
undertaken with clinical partners are important for setting our research in
applied science. (Heads of the laboratories: Anna Grabowska and
Finally the laboratory of ethology headed by Ewa J. Godzinska is
devoted to ethopharmacological and sociobiological investigations on ants.
Despite the wide scope of studies, two common topics integrate research in the
Department: intrinsic mechanisms of behavioral neurophysiology and plasticity of
the nervous system. The traditional Wednesday seminars allow for the exchange of
new ideas and hot discoveries between the research groups. These seminars also
give the opportunity to discuss the lectures delivered by eminent visitors from
all over the world on the occasion of their visits to the Department. The
thematic seminars on ethology, neuroinformatics and psychophysiology as well as
regular Journal Clubs are designed to keep track of the modern trends in
neuroscience and are attended by researchers from different laboratories and
cooperating academic institutions. The two day integration parties with social
activities are organized every spring for all members of the Department,
including technical staff. On this occasion Ph.D. students report their annual
achievements and awards are given for the best presentations.
Dynamic cooperation with a large number of leading international institutes
enables better integration of new techniques, enriching our experimental
capabilities. In order to share the expensive facilities for newly implemented
techniques, specialized departmental laboratories are organized for use by all the
groups. These techniques currently include histology, in vitro slice
electrophysiology, EEG and HPLC and modern behavioral setup equipped with
digital recording, telemetry and analyzing facilities. The Department has
recently established a Polish node of international neuroinformatics
network, INCF (www.neuroinf.pl).
During last thirty years six international conferences on "Brain and behavior"
and conferences on „Neuronal Plasticity: Basic and Neurochemical Aspects” and
“Recovery from brain damage: behavioral and neurochemical approaches” which were
organized by our Departmental staff. These organizational work resulted in
establishing Polish Neuroscience Society which took over organization of the
main domestic and international neuroscienitific events since 1992. With the
integrated editorial effort of the staff, the Department continues to publish
the ICI indexed international journal "Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis"
Meyza KZ, Boguszewski PM, Nikolaev E, Zagrodzka J. 2007.
The effect of age on the dynamics and the level of c-Fos
activation in response to acute restraint in Lewis rats.
Behav Brain Res.
2007, 180: 183-189.
Rymarczyk K, Grabowska, A. 2007. A. Sex differences in
brain control of prosody. Neuropsychologia, 45(5):
Wróbel A, GhazaryanA, BekiszM,
Kamiński J. 2007.
Two streams of attention dependent beta activity in the
striate recipient zone of cat's lateral posterior -
pulvinar complex. J Neurosci, 27: 2230-2240.
Knapska E, Nikolaev E, Boguszewski P, Walasek G,
Błaszczyk J, Kaczmarek L, Werka T. 2006.
Between-subject transfer of emotional information evokes
specific pattern of amygdala activation, PNAS, 103
Kowalska JE, Szeląg E. 2006. The effect of the
congenital deafness on the duration judgment. Journal of
Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47 (9), 946 - 953.
Niewiadomska G, Baksalerska-Pazera M, Lenarcik I, Riedel
G. 2006. Compartmental protein expression of Tau, GSK-3β
and TrkA in cholinergic neurons of aged rats. J Neural
Trans, 113 (11): 1733-1746
Korczyńska J., Szczuka A., Kieruzel M., Majczyński H.,
Khvorostova N. and Godzińska E.J., 2005.
Effects of the biogenic amines, dopamine, tyramine and
octopamine on the behavior of carpenter ant workers [Camponotus
herculeanus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)] during
nestmate reunion tests carried out after a period of
social isolation. Sociobiology, 45: 409-447.
Majczyński H, Maleszak K, Cabaj A, Sławińska U. 2005.
Serotonin-related enhancement of recovery of hind limb
motor functions in spinal rats after grafting of
embryonic raphe nuclei. J. Neurotrauma, 22: 590-604.
Kowalczyk A, Filipkowski RK, Rylski M, Wilczyński GM,
Konopacki FA, Ciemierych MA, Siciński P, Kaczmarek L.
The critical role of cyclin D2 in adult neurogenesis. J
Cell Biol, 167: 209-13