Joanna Zawacka -Pankau

Joanna Zawacka-Pankau

Affiliated to research

About me

Joanna Zawacka-Pankau is an Associate Professor in Medical Biotechnology at the Department of Oncology-Pathology and a group leader at the Medical University of Warsaw.

She graduated from the University of Gdansk with MSc in biotechnology and obtained a PhD in biochemistry in 2005. She completed her postdoctoral training in p53 tumor biology and targeted therapies at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology, Karolinska Institute.

In 2007, she was awarded the Assistant Professor position at the University of Gdansk, and in 2012 she was recruited to the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology, Karolinska Institute as Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator. 

Research description

Our goal is to identify effective, specific, and selective treatments for solid and hematological cancers that can be rapidly translated into clinical practice.

Towards that goal, we use repurposed drugs to reactivate p53 proteins, the standard of care, and unique pre-clinical models, including primary human cancer cells and humanized mouse models.  

We also strive to understand how p53 affects longevity by performing comparative proteins' sequence analysis in short- and long-lived species to understand which critical nodes in the p53 pathway are responsible for longevity in the Animal Kingdom. We hope, in the future, this knowledge could be translated to modulate physiological aging in humans.



Qurat Ul Ain Fateh, Postdoc, visiting researcher

Bahareh Sadat Haeri, PhD student, visiting scholar

Matilde Fregni, Erasmus student (former)



Teaching portfolio

Lecturer - Medical Biochemistry

Course leader - Molecular diagnostics


2005-2006       Postdoc (2 years), Karolinska Institute       

2005                 PhD in biochemistry, University of Gdansk

2001                 MSc in biotechnology, University of Gdansk

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Cathrine Everts Forskningsstiftelse 2021;

Åke Wibergs stiftelse;

National Science Centre, Poland (research grant)