Professor Krzysztof Wędzony, a Director of the Institute of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) in Kraków, a member of the Polish Academy of Art and Sciences (PAU), a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Pharmacology, and the Scientific Councils of the other PAS Institutes, i.e., the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, the Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, and the Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear Physics. He was also a chairman of the Advisory Board of the scientific journal “Pharmacological Reports”.
Prof. Wędzony received his M.Sc. in Biology in 1980 from the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences of the Jagiellonian University. All his professional life and scientific career were connected to the Institute of Pharmacology PAS, where he obtained the PhD (1987), habilitation (1998) and the title of professor (2006). He held various functions at the Institute, including the head of the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Brain Biostructure of the Department of Pharmacology (since 2001), deputy Director for Scientific Affairs (2003-2006), Director of the Institute (since 2007) and head of the Department of Pharmacology (since 2008).
Research activity of Prof. Wędzony focused on mechanisms of action of antidepressants, neurobiology and pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia and pharmacology of excitatory receptor antagonists amino acids (NMDA). His research on antidepressants led to the statement that these drugs, administered repeatedly, exacerbate pharmacological effects of agents that stimulate the brain's dopaminergic system. His work provided evidence for the key role of the dopamine neurotransmitter system in clinical efficacy of antidepressants. His research in the field of schizophrenia revealed that NMDA receptor antagonists cause the release of cerebral dopamine and show psychosomimetic properties. He also showed the participation of serotonin 5-HT1A receptors in controlling the release of dopamine, identifying them as the new target of action of antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs. During the last years of his life, Professor Wędzony was engaged in studying the effects of early-life stress on brain structure and neuroplasticity, an important aspect in understanding anxiety disorders and cognitive impairments. He characterized a neurodevelopmental animal model of schizophrenia based on postnatal administration of a competitive NMDA receptor antagonists. This treatment produced behavioral, anatomical and neurochemical symptoms observed in schizophrenia. He was also involved in investigating the epigenetic background of schizophrenia.
Prof. Wędzony was the author of nearly 150 full-text original papers which were widely cited in the world's literature. He received prestigious scientific awards for his achievements, including a Copernicus Award in Medical Science, a Tadeusz Browicz Prize of Medical Faculty of PAU, and a prize from the J&J Supniewski Foundation. He was also awarded the Gold Cross of Merit. Throughout his career, he conducted his research in many research centers abroad, including the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research (Amsterdam), Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine (Gottingen), Institute of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology (Freiburg), Department of Psychology at Tufts University (Boston), Department of CNS Research at the pharmaceutical company Boehringer-Ingelheim GmbH (Milan).
Prof. Wędzony was a brilliant neuroscientist but also an excellent Director of the Institute of Pharmacology, responsible for its dynamic grow. His involvement was decisive for major reconstruction of the Institute’s facilities, equipment modernization, increased number of staff positions and development of the PhD program. His efforts made the Institute a beneficiary of POIG grants financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and the Institute has also received the status of the Leading National Research Centre in the years 2012-2017 in medical science, a prestigious award granted by Ministry of Science and Higher Education.