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Professor Jakub Rybka - From meniscus to a COVID-19 tes

AMU Centre for Advanced Technologies is a multidisciplinary consortium of 11 bodies that brings together experts from the fields of exact sciences, life sciences, and technology. The centre works on new materials and biomaterials with broad applications. The deputy head of CAT is Professor Jakub Rybka.

Prof. Rybka gained recognition for his innovative programme of preclinical trials of a bioprintable autologous meniscus. Centre for Advanced Technologies is one of only three research facilities in Poland that has a 3D bioprinter needed for the project.

Unfortunately, research was halted shortly after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in order to make way for the development of an autoimmune test for COVID-19. This innovative project would allow researchers to diagnose not only patients who are currently ill, but also those who had been cured of the infection and could serve as potential donors of antibodies.

Prof. Jakub Rybka: I learned about the possibilities offered by the test developed by Professor Florian Krammer on Sunday. After a brief consideration, I asked my colleagues if they were willing to change disciplines for a while. We usually work at the interface of nanotechnology, biotechnology and biomedical engineering. However, I am familiar with immunological research and protein production from my doctorate at the University of Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. We realised that as scientists, we are prepared to undertake a new challenge.

The work of our team has already brought results. The plasmid was obtained with the support of the Centre, the University, and thanks to some private connections. A pilot study was successfully conducted at the Centre for Advanced Technologies; the test was able to verify the presence of antibodies in patients. This is the first milestone on the road to universal immunological diagnosis of COVID-19.