Prof. Tomasz Twardowski on GMO A.D. 2018
On 27 April 2018 at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG&MUG, Prof. Dr hab. Tomasz Twardowski from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań delivered an open lecture entitled “Another face of GMO, A.D. 2018” on the application and dissemination of innovation in bioeconomy sectors, the required legal regulations and promoting technologies to assist intelligent and sustainable development.
The guest was introduced by Prof. Dr hab. Ewa Łojkowska, head of the Department of Biotechnology. Despite the great amount of content and fact, the lecture was also an excellent talk on popular science which the large audience received with thunderous applause. The speaker proved to be not only an outstanding lecturer but also an equally good raconteur, able to keep the audience amused on a number of occasions. The lecture was followed by an animated discussion.
The lecture was organised as part of the STARBIOS2 project, implemented at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG&MUG and tackling activities related to “Responsible Research and Innovation”.
Shortly before the lecture, the professor gave a short interview:
- Professor, why are so many people afraid of genetically modified organisms? Nature has been creating such organisms since the beginning of time and man, with the help of natural selection methods, has also been doing it for thousands of years.
- The answer is very simple and complicated in its simplicity. It’s ignorance. When we know, we’ll understand and then we won’t be afraid. So, to anticipate your potential next question, it’s popularisation.
- How should we fight the fear of GMO?
- Through a transfer, to use the modern language, a transfer of scientific slang from a professor to an average customer of Lidl or Biedronka. By explaining how it’s done and what it’s about, what it is. But this is a difficult and thankless task which requires great qualifications and skills and a certain talent.
- But isn’t this perhaps the same mechanism which is used to prove that butter is healthier than margarine or vice versa?
- You also most certainly like a fresh warm roll with lightly salted butter, generously spread with pate or some other fatty cured meat. It is unhealthy but tasty, we like it. Low-calorie margarine is certainly healthier. But again, there’s the question of understanding, balance and finding the happy medium.
- Thank you for talking to me.
Since 1974 Prof. Dr hab. Tomasz Twardowski has been employed at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań; in 1995-2010 he also worked at the Lodz University of Technology, at the Institute of Technical Biochemistry at the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences.
His scientific interest and research revolves around the regulatory mechanism of genome expression in eukaryotic systems, particularly in plants. The research strategy comprises antisense oligomers, the regulatory role of non-coding RNA and the structure of the maize genome; other areas of research include elongation factors, low-molecular natural products such as lupin alkaloids and proteins involved in their biosynthesis (LDC) as well as biotic and abiotic stress proteins (e.g. ferritin and the aforementioned lysine decarboxylase), homocysteine metabolism. His independent studies involve legal and social issues of concern to biotechnology such as legislation, intellectual property, biosafety and social reception.
He is author of nearly 80 original experimental works, over 100 scientific statements, more than 200 review works and around 70 popular articles as well as author, co-author or scientific editor of 25 books. He has been promotor of 10 doctoral dissertations.
Dr Tadeusz Zaleski
text, interview, photo