Department of Genetic Research and Nutrigenomics

The Department of Genetic Research and Nutrigenomics is engaged in the study of genetic and epigenetic variations in the human genome and their influence on phenotypic variability. The research encompasses natural variation in human appearance, response to drugs and disease-causing variation. The role of germinal and somatic mutations in the development and progression of cancer is also investigated. Furthermore, the interplay between DNA methylation age, aging rate and phenotypic features constitutes another area researched in the Department.  The Department also owns a well-equipped cell culture facility. Overall, the research is aimed at improved understanding of human genome variation and application of this knowledge in medicine, forensics and molecular anthropology. 

The Department has three units:

1. Unit for Human Genome Variation Research

2. Unit for Genetic Research and Nutrigenomics

3. Unit for Circulating Biomarkers and Microvesicles


High-end instruments are available in the Department that enable:

  • low and high-throughput DNA sequence analysis:


ABI 3500 genetic analyser



Agilent microarray scanner


  • cell biology analyses:

Apogee Flow Cytometer

Navios Flow Cytometer

Arcturus Laser Capture Microdissection System

Head of the Department: Dr. Wojciech Branicki, Professor of the Jagiellonian University

Dr. Wojciech Branicki is interested in exploring the significance of DNA variation for the phenotypic diversity observed in the human population. He also works on the practical application of DNA markers in medicine, forensic science and anthropology. Dr. Branicki received a PhD in medical biology in 2001 at the Medical Academy in Gdansk, and a post-doctoral degree in biology in 2010 at the Jagiellonian University. He is a member of the Polish Society of Human Genetics, the International Society for Forensic Genetics and the Forensic Genetics Commission of the Polish Society of Legal Medicine and Criminology. Dr. Branicki is a forensic DNA expert and a member of the National Chamber of Laboratory Diagnosticians.

Selected publications: 

  • Walsh S, Pośpiech E, Branicki W. Hot on the Trail of Genes that Shape Our Fingerprints. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2016, 136, 740-742.
  • Santos C, Fondevila M, Ballard D, Banemann R, Bento AM, Børsting C, Branicki W, Brisighelli F, Burrington M, Capal T, Chaitanya L, Daniel R, Decroyer V, England R, Gettings KB, Gross TE, Haas C, Harteveld J, Hoff-Olsen P, Hoffmann A, Kayser M, Kohler P, Linacre A, Mayr-Eduardoff M, McGovern C, Morling N, O'Donnell G, Parson W, Pascali VL, Porto MJ, Roseth A, Schneider PM, Sijen T, Stenzl V, Court DS, Templeton JE, Turanska M, Vallone PM, van Oorschot RA, Zatkalikova L, Carracedo Á, Phillips C; EUROFORGEN-NoE Consortium. Forensic ancestry analysis with two capillary electrophoresis ancestry informative marker (AIM) panels: Results of a collaborative EDNAP exercise. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2015, 19, 56-67.
  • Tagliabue E., Concetta Fargnoli M., Gandini S., Maisonneuve P., Liu F., Kayser M., Nijsten T., Han J., Kumar R., A. Gruis N., Ferrucci L., Branicki W., Dwyer T., Blizzard L., Helsing P., Autier P., García-Borrón J., A. Kanetsky P., Teresa Landi M., Little J., Newton-Bishop J., Sera F., Raimondi S. MC1R gene variants and non melanoma skin cancer: a pooled-analysis from the M-SKIP project". British Journal of Cancer, 2015, 113(2), 354-63.
  • Zbieć-Piekarska R, Spólnicka M, Kupiec T, Agnieszka Parys-Proszek A, Żanetta Makowska Ż, Pałeczka A, Kucharczyk K, Płoski R, Branicki W. Development ofa forensically useful age prediction method based on DNA methylation analysis. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2015, 17, 173-179.
  • Marcińska M, Pośpiech E, Abidi S, Dyrberg Andersen J, van den Berge M, Carracedo Á, Eduardoff M, Marczakiewicz-Lustig A, Morling N, Sijen T, Skowron M, Söchtig J, Syndercombe-Court D, Weiler N, The EUROFORGEN-NoE Consortium; Schneider P, Ballard D, Børsting C, Parson W, Phillips C, Branicki W. Evaluation of DNA variants associated with androgenetic alopecia and their potential to predict male pattern baldness. PLoS ONE 2015, 10(5), e0127852.
  • Kosiniak-Kamysz A, Marczakiewicz-Lustig A, Marcińska M, Skowron M, Wojas-Pelc A, Pośpiech E, Branicki W. Increased risk of developing cutaneous malignant melanoma is associated with variation in pigmentation genes and VDR, and may involve epistatic effects. Melanoma Res. 2014, 24(4), 388-96.
  • Branicki W, Liu F, van Duijn K, Draus-Barini J, Pośpiech E, Kupiec T, Wojas-Pelc A, Kayser M. Model-based prediction of human hair color using DNA variants. Hum Genet. 2011, 129(4), 443-54.
  • Bogdanowicz W, Allen M, Branicki W, Lembring M, Gajewska M, Kupiec T. Genetic identification of putative remains of the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009, 106(30), 12279-82.