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Publication of our scientists in ACS Catalysis!

Dr. Pawel Borowiecki’s group, with the leading contribution of our Ph.D. students (Aleksandra Rudzka and Natalia Antos) and in collaboration with scientists from Prof. Wolfgang Kroutil’s group (the “Elk Crew”, the University in Graz, Austria), published a research article on the novel photo-biocatalytic method of deracemization of secondary alcohols using visible light and recombinant alcohol dehydrogenases.

In the published work, we proved that the combination of both catalytic processes, i.e., photooxidation of racemic alcohols in the presence of 9-fluorenone in DMSO irradiated with blue light (440 nm) and bio-transhydrogenation of the resulting ketones using the enzymes mentioned above, in a sequential one-pot/two-step procedure, enables the synthesis of optically active alcohols in high yield (>90%) and excellent enantiomeric excess (>99%). It is worth mentioning that the newly developed asymmetric photo-biocatalytic method is efficient toward a broad substrate scope, while the obtained products of these transformations are chiral building blocks useful for the synthesis of valuable pharmaceuticals.

In addition, research on photo-biocatalytic cascade processes has led to a breakthrough discovery; namely, scientists from the LBB WUT have demonstrated that recombinant E. coli cells harboring alcohol dehydrogenases from Rhodococcus ruber (E. coli/ADH-A) and Lactobacillus kefir (E. coli/Lk-ADH) show unexpectedly high catalytic activity and stereoselectivity despite the strongly acidic pH (1.5-2.2) of the crude reaction mixture obtained after photooxidation of racemic substrates. The rationalization of this rather unprecedented phenomenon was supported by numerous validation experiments and their detailed analysis, providing the basis for a hypothetical mechanism for the formation of sulfur compounds with potential modulating properties against the enzymes, as mentioned above. The results of the conducted research may contribute to the initiation of new applications in bioorganic chemistry and biotechnology and play a key role in planning stereocontrolled syntheses of enantiomerically enriched high-added value products from chiral alcohols.  

Work on the impact of this effect on other classes of enzymes (i.e., transaminases), including verification of the scope of applicability of the developed method toward new substrates, is currently the basis of intensive research conducted by Dr. Borowiecki’s group. Taking advantage of this fact, we warmly invite all students interested in this research topic to cooperate with us to carry out similar scientific projects as part of their future engineering and/or M.Sc thesis.

The results of the study are described in a paper entitled: “One-Pot Sequential Two-Step Photo-Biocatalytic Deracemization of sec-Alcohols Combining Photocatalytic Oxidation and Bioreduction” and published in the very prestigious catalytic journal ACS Catalysis (ISSN: 2155-5435; IF: 13.7, 200 pts MEiN).

The article was written in tribute to Prof. Krzysztof Schmidt-Szałowski (1930-2023) and Prof. Przemysław Szczeciński (1946-2023), who passed away last year.

The research published in this paper was funded by the National Science Center (NCN) under the grant “OPUS 24” (No. 2022/47/B/ST4/00139)

More information can be found on the journal’s website: or


YOUNG PW II projects for our scientists!

Researchers from our chair received funding for their scientific projects as part of the YOUNG PW II competition financed by the “Excellence Initiative – Research University” program implemented at the Warsaw University of Technology.

Project manager: Dr. Karolina Drężek, project in cooperation with the University of Debrecen (Hungary) and the Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences

“Hybridization as a tool in improving targeted biocompounds production – studies on synthetic Saccharomyces-based yeast hybrids”, PLN 149,960.

Project manager: Dr. Anna Sobiepanek, project in cooperation with BASF POLSKA

“Comprehensive in vitro studies of the influence of ceramides and their derivatives on the physiological and pathological processes occurring in the skin”, PLN 150,000.

 Congratulations and we wish you further success!


OPUS 25 and PRELUDIUM 22 projects for our scientists!

We are pleased to announce that the projects of researchers from the Chair of Drug and Cosmetics Biotechnology have been qualified for funding in the National Science Center (Poland) competitions: OPUS 25 and PRELUDIUM 22.
In the OPUS 25 competition:
Extracellular vesicles of probiotic yeast as carriers of biologically active molecules transferred to human intestinal cells
project manager: Jolanta Mierzejewska, DSc. Ph.D.
In the PRELUDIUM 22 competition:
Investigating the anti-cancerous effect of antioxidant extract from spent coffee grounds on the functioning of normal and cancerous skin cells
project manager: Adrianna Maria Piasek, M.Sc. Eng.
Congratulations ladies!


Professor Mieczysław Chorąży Scholarship for Dr. Anna Sobiepanek

The scholarship was founded to honor and commemorate Professor Mieczysław Chorąży (1925-2021), a great man and an outstanding Polish researcher who conducted cancer research at the Institute of Oncology in Gliwice for seven decades. The aim of the Scholarship is to reward outstanding young scientists working in Polish research institutions and to encourage them to continue research. Scholarship named after The Professor Mieczysław Chorąży Award is awarded to one candidate every year from 2021.

This year, out of 26 outstanding young scientists conducting cancer research, the Scientific Committee, based on their overall achievements, decided to award this prestigious scholarship to Dr. Anna Sobiepanek from the Biomolecular Interactions Research Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology of Medicinal Products and Cosmetics.

The founder of the Professor Mieczysław Chorąży Scholarship is the Association for the Support of Cancer Research.

On November 16-17, 2023, during the international conference XXVII Gliwice Scientific Meetings 2023, Dr. Anna Sobiepanek received a diploma confirming the award of this prestigious scholarship. Moreover, Dr. Sobiepanek was invited to deliver a special lecture, which took place on the second day of the conference.