Professor Józef Lisowski (1928–2012)
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Open image in new window Professor Józef Lisowski graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry, Wrocław Technical University (Poland) in 1951. His scientific interests in organic chemistry had already been shaped when he was a student. After completing his studies, he began to work at the Department of Physiological Chemistry, Medical Academy in Wrocław, under the supervision of the famous Polish biochemistry Professor Tadeusz Baranowski. He presented his PhD thesis in 1955 and started to work at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław (Poland). His first scientific interests were directed towards the basic problem in enzymology, i.e. the relationship between molecule structure and activity of an enzyme; subsequently, he focused on the binding of heavy metal ions to modified proteins. The pioneer research on the pituitary gland enzymes constituted Professor Lisowski’s habilitation thesis in 1964. Then, he spent two years (1959–1961) as a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA), under the supervision of Professor Hans Neurath. In 1965–1966 and again in 1980–1982, he was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Biochemistry, University of Geneva (Switzerland). After 1966, Professor Lisowski became Head of the Department of Immunochemistry at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław. He kept this position until 1999, when he retired.
Professor Lisowski was one of the fathers of immunochemistry—a distinct science of the chemical/immunological properties of antibodies and other molecules, active in the immune system and of appropriate, specific analytical methods used therein. He became a very well-known specialist in the subject of immunoglobulins and comparative investigations on immunoglobulins from serum and colostrum, the research that resulted in the discovery of a very specific proline-rich polypeptide subfraction in ovine colostrum (PRP). This preparation shortly proved to exhibit immunoregulatory properties; among others, it showed a positive effect on the patients with Alzheimer’s disease. These psychotropic properties of the preparation resulted in an international patent; currently, it is produced as a semi-drug, called Colostrinin®.
Professor Lisowski was one of the founders of the Polish Immunological Society; in the years 1971–1980 he was President. Later he was appointed Honorary Member of the Society. Professor Lisowski was also very active in the World Union of Immunological Societies and in the Federation of European Immunological Societies; he was also a member of the Polish Biochemical Society. Professor Lisowski was a devoted and successful teacher of the young adepts of immunochemistry. He supervised nine PhD theses and three of his co-workers became professors. He was strongly involved and very enthusiastic about his scientific work. Not only always friendly and helpful for his co-workers and colleagues, he also had a great sense of humor. He will be remembered both as an outstanding scientist and a teacher, and also as a good and reliable friend.
With His passing away, Polish science lost its very prominent representative.