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Dr Andrzej Zieleziński: Solving DNA secrets

Dr Andrzej Zieleziński is a molecular biologist, expert in bioinformatics and winner of the 19th edition of the “Polityka” Science Award in the field of life sciences. The researcher develops computational methods for determining gene function, finding similarities between gene sequences and investigating gene formation mechanisms.

Dr Zieleziński has shown that viruses often use molecular camouflage to encode WG protein sequences. As a result, viruses disguise themselves as a functionally similar type of protein in the host. This is how they break the RNA defence mechanism to cause an infection. This discovery opens up new possibilities for gene therapy.

Dr Zieleziński established a consortium of scientists from 15 international centres who use alignment-free methods to compare DNA/RNA sequences. The group includes researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, the US National Institute of Health and the Universities of Padua and Göttingen. The researchers have just published their first joint paper testing this method on different biological sets.

Dr Zielezinski’s research also focuses on the identification of viruses (bacteriophages) helpful in the treatment of diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. He is currently developing software for the identification of pathogenic bacteria species susceptible to a given virus based on the virus’ DNA sequence. It can provide important data to support phage therapy, which is an innovative method for the treatment of particularly difficult-to -control infections.

The researcher has 16 publications in journals ranked on the ISI Master Journal List with an Impact Factor of 100.