top of page


     Heme is an ancient and ubiquitous molecule, which plays much more important role than just
a mere oxygen-binding co-factor in hemoglobin.  
Heme is vital for many crucial enzymes and mitochondrial electron transport chain but can be deadly when overabundant. We study how aging changes heme synthesis, trafficking, and degradation, with a special focus on vascular and hematopoietic cells. We want to better understand what heme does in the nucleus and if it influences the genomic stability. Porphyrin ring can stabilize G-quadruplex (G4) structures in DNA. We study if increased heme levels in the nucleus or decreased heme degradation can stabilize G4 in living cells. Heme synthesis starts with glycine and succinyl-CoA, which both are important cellular metabolites. We wish to know how free heme availability affects cellular metabolism and in turn influences the cellular homeostasis.



Group Leader

Witold Nowak


Wojciech Krzeptowski

PhD Students

Patryk Chudy

Izabella Sambak

Undergrad Students

Aliaksandra Varanko

Monika Gorczyca

Katarzyna Bednarczyk

Former MSc Students
Samantha Posso Astudillo
Mathew Auta
Phu Nguyen
Anita Łomnicka
Mateusz Pędracki
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • ResearchGate
  • ORCiD
  • Sonata 15: Heme metabolism in blood vessel wall - the influence on abdominal aortic aneurysm formation

  • Heme in oocyte maturation and preimplantation embryo development

  • Nuclear heme - one ring to rule them all?


  • we showed that murine bone marrow MSCs are highly resistant to heme even without heme oxygenases 

  • we demonstrated that paracrine proangiogenic activity of human CD34+ HSPC is stimulated by atorvastatin only in vitro but not in vivo

  • together with dr. Paweł Lipiński and dr. Małgorzata Lenartowicz teams we contributed to finding that the kidneys play a role in iron detoxification and redistribution in neonatal mice

  • we contributed to the research on effects of cellular metabolism on differentiation of perivascular fat progenitor cells 



  • measurement of free heme with fluorescent sensor

  • measurement of total heme

  • guide-wire injury model

  • proximity ligation assay

  • DNA fibre assay

  • en face staining of mouse aortas

  • isolation of perivascular fat progenitor cells

  • analysis of cellular metabolic phenotype using SeaHorse

  • analysis of metabolomics data with Metaboanalyst

  • analysis of bulk and single cell RNASeq data

  • isolation of primary murine bone marrow stromal cells

  • isolation and culture of mouse embryos

  • non-surgical embryo transfer

  • isolation and culture of mouse oocytes

  • time-lapse microscopy


  • Prof. Anna Ajduk, University of Warsaw

  • Prof. Zbigniew Polański, Jagiellonian University

  • Prof. Przemko Tylżanowski, KU Leuven

  • Prof. Ioannis Papantoniou, KU Leuven

  • Prof. Amit Reddi, Georgia Tech

  • Prof. Cory Hu, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry & Cell Biology

  • Dr. Qiuliyang Yu, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology

>>> NEWS

bottom of page