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Developmental Biology Laboratory (DBL)

Group Leader

Group Leader

Prof. Grażyna Ewa Ptak
Phone: +48 12 664 6044
Email: g.ptak[a.t]

Grażyna carried out her PhD at the Jagiellonian University, under supervision of Prof. Marian Tischner. She was a visiting scholar at Babraham Institute (Cambridge); The Institute of Molecular Genetics (CNRS, Montpellier); Roslin Institute (Edinburgh) and North Dakota State University. Since 2000 she has been employed at the University of Teramo (Italy), first as a research scientist, then appointed as university professor (tenured position) at the Faculty of Biosciences. In 2018, she joined Jagiellonian University to establish Developmental Biology Laboratory (DBL) at MCB and was nominated a Professor. For more than 20 years her investigations are focused on mechanisms underlying early developmental events in mammalian embryos. She has a robust experience in coordinating projects, including the most prestigious ERC Programme IDEAS – Starting Grant, 7th FP and H2020-TWINN projects, British Council Grants as well as projects funded by Italian and Polish national funding agencies.

Team Members

DBL Team Members (from the left): Daria Krzysztofik - PhD student; Michał Bochenek, PhD; Maria Florencia Heber, PhD; (NAWA-ULAM fellow); Federica Zacchini, PhD (H2020-MSCA fellow); Simona Bisogno -PhD student; Łukasz Gąsior -PhD student; Grażyna Ptak, Professor; Szymon Gaweł - PhD student; Joanna Rudnicka - PhD student; Kinga Fic -PhD student; Roberta Arena -PhD student; Adrianna Bereta - MS student


Our investigation focuses on understanding environmental influence on developing mammalian embryo before its implantation. The influence of assisted reproduction technologies and of parental age on pregnancy and life-long health status of the offspring are within our primary interests. Our studies are focused also on understanding environmentally driven phenomenon of reversible arrest of blastocyst growth, the Embryonic Diapause. To study Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, we employ sophisticated experimental embryology procedures and several molecular and structural biology methods. The use of various animal species and experimental models, including mono- and bi-parental embryos and delayed implantation allows us to achieve our research objectives. 

We are seeking for highly motivated Postdoc, PhD or  Master candidates. Please contact us for further details (g.ptak[a.t]

News/ Lab Events


  • Welcome in DBL, Florencia!! Dr Maria Florencia Heber has been awarded by the ULAM fellowship funded by the Polish National Agency of Academic Exchange. After obtaining her PhD at University of Buenos Aires in April 2019, she applied to join the Developmental Biology Laboratory MCB JU. In the next two years, dr Heber will be studying neurodevelopmental outcomes of offspring developed following Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection.

Dr Maria Florencia Heber








  • Great news! Simona’s latest study “Profile of Extracellular Vesicles in the uterine fluid during embryonic diapause” was selected as oral presentation at H2020 Cost Action - CellFit Annual Meeting “The extracellular vesicles paradigm of intra and intercellular communication”, 10-12 October 2019, Athens (Greece)

Simona Bisogno, PhD student of CogNeS - an interdisciplinary Doctoral School in Cognitive NeuroScience at Jagiellonian University







  • Big Success at the 3rd International Symposium on Embryonic Diapause in Ascona, Switzerland.  3-6 June 2019. DBL team has been highly recognized:  Łukasz Gąsior won the prize for the early stage researchers’ oral presentation - Transcriptome profile during prolonged diapause of mouse embryos, Roberta Arena’s abstract was selected as oral presentation. Seven of our team members actively attended the conference, four of them - Roberta Arena, Simona Bisogno, Federica Zacchini, Łukasz Gąsior - has been awarded with travel grant.

The attendees of The 3rd International Symposium on Embryonic Diapause, Monte Verita, Ascona, Switzerland, 02-06 Jun 2019





Łukasz Gąsior, PhD student of PhD program in Biology at Jagiellonian University, receiving the prize from Prof. Bruce Murphy


MCB JU annual funding (2019) to Developmental Biology Laboratory - PI: Grażyna Ptak

Ministry of Science and Higher Education - DIAMOND GRANT DI2018/017548 – PI: Kinga Fic – Title: Risk assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders in mouse offspring obtained by Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) using sperm from aged males.

National Science Centre - PRELUDIUM 2018/29/N/NZ3/02177 – PI: Roberta Arena – Title: Regulation of autophagy by paternal and maternal genome during Embryonic Diapause

National Science Centre - SONATA 2015/19/D/NZ4/03696 – PI: Federica Zacchini – Title: Blastomere Biopsy and the onset of Metabolic Syndrome: a risk assessment trial in the mouse model

National Science Centre - OPUS 2016/21/B/NZ3/03631 – PI: Grażyna Ptak – Title: Influence of intracellular lipids in the oocyte and embryo on the duration of the Embryonic Diapause (ED) 

Horizon 2020 - TWINN-2015 GA 692185 - acronym ERAofART - PI: Grażyna Ptak - Title: Epigenetic Risk Assessment of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Selected Publications (from 2014):

Jurewicz J, Radwan M, Sobala W, Radwan P, Bochenek M, Hanke W. Dietary patterns and their relationship with semen quality. American Journal of Mens Health, 2018, 12(3): 575-583
Zacchini F, Sampino S, Stankiewicz AM, Haaf T, Ptak GE. Assessing the epigenetic risks of assisted reproductive technologies: a way forward. Int J Dev Biol. 2019;63(3-4-5):217-222
Arena R, Zacchini F, Toschi P, Palazzese L, Czernik M, Ptak GE. Developmental peculiarities in placentae of ovine uniparental conceptuses. PLoS One 2017 Nov 30;12(11):e0188278
Zacchini F, Arena R, Abramik A, Ptak GE. Embryo biopsy and development: the known and the unknown. Reproduction. 2017 Nov;154(5):R143-R148. 
Sampino S, Stankiewicz AM, Zacchini F, Goscik J, Szostak A, Swiergiel AH, Drago G, Modlinski JA, Ptak GE. Pregnancy at Advanced Maternal Age Affects Behavior and Hippocampal Gene Expression in Mouse Offspring. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Oct 12;72(11):1465-1473.  
Zacchini F, Toschi P, Ptak GE. Cobalamin supplementation during in vitro maturation improves developmental competence of sheep oocytes. Theriogenology. 2017 Apr 15;93:55-61. 
Sampino S, Zacchini F, Swiergiel AH, Modlinski AJ, Loi P, Ptak GE. Effects of blastomere biopsy on post-natal growth and behavior in mice. Hum Reprod. 2014 Sep;29(9):1875-83.
Sampino S, Juszczak GR, Zacchini F, Swiergiel AH, Modlinski JA, Loi P, Ptak GE. Grand-paternal age and the development of autism-like symptoms in mice progeny. Transl. Psychiatry. 2014 Apr 29;4:e386.
Ptak GE, Toschi P, Fidanza A, Czernik M, Zacchini F, Modlinski JA, Loi P. Autophagy and apoptosis: parent-of-origin genome-dependent mechanisms of cellular self-destruction. Open Biol. 2014 Jun;4(6):140027.
Fidanza A, Toschi P, Zacchini F, Czernik M, Palmieri C, Scapolo P, Modlinski JA, Loi P, Ptak GE. Impaired placental vasculogenesis compromises the growth of sheep embryos developed in vitro. Biol Reprod 2014 Jul;91(1):21

Meetings/events organized by us:

  • Researchers’ Night at DBL MCB JU - 28 September 2018. Joanna Rudnicka, Łukasz Gąsior and Federica Zacchini were the main organizers of the Researchers’ Night at DBL – Children and teenagers discovered how to touch a cell and how cells can lose weight!

Model of early life development - from gametes to embryos.  Children attending the Researchers’ Night had the opportunity to discover the first steps of life and to make a plasticine model of various stages of embryo development. 


Ready to teach! Joanna Rudnicka, student of PhD program in Biomedical Sciences  and Łukasz Gąsior, student of PhD program in Biology.





  • International Conference “Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Long Term Perspective” Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, 7-8 September 2018. Conference has been attended by over 100 scientists and practitioners from the field of human reproduction from all over Europe.

The attendees of the International Conference “Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Long Term Perspectives” Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, 7-8 September 2018







  • Focused meeting - Flow cytometry all-in-one - diagnostic tools in andrology - Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, 8 September 2018


Attendees of the focused meeting “Flow cytometry “all-in-one” diagnostic tool in andrology





  • Workshop - Experimental Embryology,  MCB UJ, 3-12 September 2018. Graduate and undergraduate students from Jagiellonian University, Agriculture University in Cracow and Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences attended lectures and practical exercises on oocyte manipulation, gamete and embryo cryopreservation and flow cytometry analysis of spermatozoa.