BRAINCITY is a separate unit of the Nencki Institute, supervised by the International Scientific Committee (ISC), appointed by a joint decision of the Director General of EMBL and the Director of the Nencki Institute, and headed by C. Gross from EMBL. ISC conducts competitions for the positions of research group leaders and supervises the scientific progress of BRAINCITY.

Currently, BRAINCITY consists of five research teams (headed by: L. Kaczmarek, E. Knapska. A. Jawaid, J. Kamiński and A. Beroun) dealing with various aspects of neuronal plasticity. This phenomenon, underlying the reorganization of the network of neural connections, is the basis of the brain developmental processes, learning and memory, or the restoration of functions after brain damage. On the other hand, in a pathological form, it promotes the development of the most debilitating brain disorders, such as addictions, schizophrenia or autism spectrum disorders. L. Kaczmarek’s team discovered the phenomenon of stimulated activity of genes in neuronal plasticity and the participation of extracellular protease, MMP-9 (matrix metalloproteinase), in synaptic plasticity in such processes as learning and memory, epilepsy, schizophrenia, or alcohol addiction; a new direction of this research is to clarify the role of MMP-9 and inflammatory processes in these diseases; the research of E. Knapska’s team is aimed at determining the neuronal and molecular basis of social contacts, the impairment of which is, for example, an essential component of autism spectrum disorders; A. Jawaid studies the influence of the environment (e.g., psychosocial trauma or diet) on the development of neurodegenerative and mental diseases, as well as the possibility of intergenerational transmission of negative psychosocial influences; J. Kamiński conducts research on neuronal memory mechanisms using the technique of recording the activity of nerve cells inside the human brain; A. Beroun focuses on the cellular and molecular basis of alcohol or cocaine addiction, focusing especially on the so-called silent synapses.


BRAINCITY scientific focus is set on neural plasticity mechanisms

Five research groups studying various aspects of neural plasticity form the core of BRAINCITY. Group leaders were selected according to scientific excellence and synergy with other research groups to produce a coherent and mutually complementary research environment.


International Scientific Committee


Dr. Cornelius Gross


Prof. Camilla Bellone


Prof. Jakub Gołąb


Prof. Katarzyna Kotulska-Jóźwiak


Dr. Kyung-Min Noh


Prof. Sir Michael Owen


Dr. Maciej Wieczorek