Supervisors from Maj Institute of Pharmacology

Joanna Wierońska has worked at the Maj Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków since 1997 – first at the Department of Pharmacology, since 1999 at the Department of Neurobiology.  She is currently a senior scientist and heads the Department of Neurobiology. The main field of her interest lies in the drug-drug interaction study and neurobiological mechanisms of the pathophysiology of central nervous system disorders. Her latest research has investigated the activity of the receptors involved in the regulation of glutamatergic pathways in the brain, including GABAB, muscarinic and metabotropic glutamate receptors. The activators of those receptors were studied in animal models of schizophrenia. Putative benefits and limits of those ligands given alone or in several different combinations of two ligands were studied, showing that the risk associated with the induction of adverse effects and the therapeutic potential may be better when the subeffective doses of two compounds are administered simultaneously. Her ongoing studies concern the role of nitric oxide dependent pathways in the efficacy of muscarinic and metabotropic glutamate receptor ligands.


Research interests:

Gutamate receptors, muscarinic receptors, schizophrenia, cognition.


Major publications:

Cieślik P., Domin H., Chocyk A., Gruca P., Litwa E., Płoska A., Radulska A., Pelikant-Małecka I., Brański P., Kalinowski L., Wierońska J.M. (2020). “Simultaneous activation of mGlu2and muscarinic receptors reverses MK-801-induced cognitive decline in rodents”,  Neuropharmacology,Sep 1;174:107866.

Cieślik P., Radulska A., Pelikant-Małecka I., Płoska A., Kalinowski L., Wierońska J.M. (2019). “Reversal of MK-801-Induced Disruptions in Social Interactions and Working Memory with Simultaneous Administration of LY487379 and VU152100 in Mice”, Int J Mol Sci. Jun 6;20(11):2781.

Wierońska J.M, Pilc A. (2019). “Depression and schizophrenia viewed from the perspective of amino acidergic neurotransmission: Antipodes of psychiatric disorders”, Pharmacol Ther., Jan;193:75-82.

Cieślik P., Woźniak M., Rook J.M., Tantawy M.N., Conn P.J., Acher F., Tokarski K., Kusek M., Pilc A., Wierońska J.M. (2018). “Mutual activation of glutamatergic mGlu4 and muscarinic M4 receptors reverses schizophrenia- related changes in rodents”, Psychopharmacology (Berl). Oct;235(10):2897-2913.

Woźniak M., Gołembiowska K., Noworyta-Sokołowska K., Acher F., Cieślik P., Kusek M., Tokarski K., Pilc A., Wierońska J.M. (2017). “Neurochemical and behavioral studies on the 5-HT1A-dependent antipsychotic action of the mGlu4 receptor agonist LSP4-2022”, Neuropharmacology. 2017 Mar 15;115:149-165.


Irena Nalepa joined the Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences in 1986. In 2007-2017 she served as its deputy director for general affairs. Since 2007 she has headed the Department of Brain Biochemistry. She earned her MSc in Biochemistry from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and her PhD in Natural Sciences / Clinical Chemistry from the Medical University, Kraków, Poland. In 1994 she received her DSc (habilitation) degree in in Medical Biology / Neuropsychopharmacology and became an associate professor at Institute of Pharmacology PAS, then in 2004 becoming nominated a professor of medical sciences by the President of the Republic of Poland. She has published over 110 peer-reviewed manuscripts and several book chapters. She has supervised 7 PhD students. The preclinical research conducted in Prof. Nalepa’s lab concerns depression and mechanisms of action of antidepressant drugs, drug dependence, autoimmune diseases, and recently neurodegeneration and a putative role of noradrenergic transmission in neuroprotection against Parkinson’s disease. The lab utilizes an integrated approach to study these issues – spanning from molecular biology, biochemistry, models of genetically modified animals and cells to behavioral analyses.


Research interests:

Stress-related disorders; neuroplasticity; depression; antidepressant drugs; neuroscience.


Major publications:

Zelek-Molik A., Costanzi M., Rafa-Zabłocka K., Kreiner G., Roman A., Vetulani J., Rossi-Arnaud C., Cestari V., Nalepa I. (2019). “Fear memory-induced alterations in the mRNA expression of G proteins in the mouse brain and the impact of immediate posttraining treatment with morphine”, Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 93:221-231. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.04.001.

Kreiner G., Rafa-Zabłocka K., Barut J., Chmielarz P., Kot M., Bagińska M., Parlato R., Daniel W.A., Nalepa I. (2019). “Stimulation of noradrenergic transmission by reboxetine is beneficial for a mouse model of progressive parkinsonism”, Sci Rep. 9(1):5262. doi: 10.1038/s41598019-41756-3.

Rafa-Zabłocka K., Kreiner G., Bagińska M., Kuśmierczyk J., Parlato R., Nalepa I. (2017). “Transgenic mice lacking CREB and CREM in noradrenergic and serotonergic neurons respond differently to common antidepressants on tail suspension test”, Sci Rep. 7(1):13515. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14069-6.

Chmielarz P., Kreiner G., Kot M., Zelek-Molik A., Kowalska M., Bagińska M., Daniel W.A., Nalepa I. (2015). “Disruption of glucocorticoid receptors in the noradrenergic system leads to BDNF up-regulation and altered serotonergic transmission associated with a depressivelike phenotype in female GR(DBHCre) mice”, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 137:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2015.08.001.

Coccurello R., Bielawski A., Zelek-Molik A., Vetulani J., Kowalska M., D'Amato F.R., Nalepa I. (2014). “Brief maternal separation affects brain α1-adrenoceptors and apoptotic signaling in adult mice”, Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 48:161-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.10.004.


Małgorzata Filip currently heads the Department of Drug Addiction Pharmacology and is the deputy director for scientific affairs in the Maj Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences. She earned her PhD from the Institute of Pharmacology PAS in Krakow, followed by her DSc (habilitation) from the Jagiellonian University Medical College, then received the title of professor from the President of the Republic of Poland. She completed postdoctoral fellowship or visitor scientist training at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (United States). Between 2009-2015 she led the Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College. She is a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Art and Sciences as well as an expert for the European Research Council and National Science Centre in Poland.


Research interests:

Neuropharmacology, substance use disorder, mood disorders.


Major publications:

Niedzielska E., Smaga I., Gawlik M., Moniczewski A., Stankowicz P., Pera J., Filip M. (2016). “Oxidative Stress in Neurodegenerative Diseases”, Mol Neurobiol.

Müller C.P., Kalinichenko L.S., Tiesel J., Witt M., Stöckl T., Sprenger E., Fuchser J., Beckmann J., Praetner M., Huber S.E., Amato D., Mühle C., Büttner C., Ekici A.B., Smaga I., Pomierny-Chamiolo L., Pomierny B., Filip M., Eulenburg V., Gulbins E., Lourdusamy A., Reichel M., Kornhuber J. (2017). “Paradoxical antidepressant effects of alcohol are related to acid sphingomyelinase and its control of sphingolipid homeostasis”, Acta Neuropathol.

Borroto-Escuela D.O., Wydra K., Filip M., Fuxe K. (2018). “A2AR-D2R Heteroreceptor Complexes in Cocaine Reward and Addiction”, Trends Pharmacol Sci.

Smaga I., Fierro D., Mesa J., Filip M., Knackstedt L.A. (2020). “Molecular changes evoked by the beta-lactam antibiotic ceftriaxone across rodent models of substance use disorder and neurological disease”,  Neurosci Biobehav Rev.

Gawliński D., Gawlińska K., Frankowska M., Filip M. (2020). “Maternal high-sugar diet changes offspring vulnerability to reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior: Role of melanocortin-4 receptors”,  FASEB J.