Antoni M. Dancewicz 1922-2011

Professor A.M. Dancewicz DSc, former head of the Radiation Biochemistry Laboratory at the Department of Radiobiology and Health Protection of the Institute of Nuclear Research (later transformed into Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology) died on September 21, 2011 - he was 89 years old.

Professor Dancewicz earned his BSc in organic chemistry and from the beginning of his professional career was connected with the Institute of Nuclear Research and involved in radiation biochemistry and biology experiments, first carried out under Professor Edward Kowalski, who also supervised his PhD in Biological Sciences, defended in 1961. From 1963 on he was head of the Radiation Biochemistry Laboratory, a position he held until his retirement in 1988. He also was deputy head of the department for 11 years (1973-1984). He got his DSc degree in 1969 and the title of Professor in Biological Sciences in1977.

Professor Dancewicz devoted his career first to studying the mechanisms of ionising radiation effects on hematopoiesis in vitro and in vivo, defining the role of delta-aminolevulinic acid synthase and ferrochelatase in haem biosythesis. Later, the main topics of studies became the dependence of radiation effects on the intracellular localisation of enzymes, late effects of ionising radiation in lungs and other tissues of laboratory animals, radiolytic changes in connective proteins (mainly collagen) and chemical and physical features of radiation- induced protein aggregates. The latter topics were studied under auspices of EULEP in cooperation with the Radiobiology Department of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre in Mol. His last papers were on ionising radiation effects on eicosanoid metabolism due to cyclooxygenase activity modification by reactive oxygen species. In spite of retirement in 1988, he stayed at the institute, contributing from 1996 until 2002 to the organisation of the Laboratory of Detection of Irradiated Food and to establishing the necessary analytical methodology.

Professor Dancewicz’s scientific contributions have earned him the Maria Skłodowska-Curie medal from the Polish Association of Radiation Research. He also was awarded Gold Cross of Merit and Knight's Cross of the Order of Rebirth of Poland.

In the lab, Professor Dancewicz was a talented scientist, of great merit for growth of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology and for development of radiation biochemistry; he was a demanding but friendly supervisor, and a successful mentor of several PhD students. He will be remembered not only for his important contributions in the field of radiation biochemistry and radiobiology but also for his warm and outgoing personality and his sense of humour. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Selected Publications

  • Jeleńska MM, Dancewicz AM. Thermal aggregation of tropocollagen solutions irradiated with low doses of ionizing radiation. Int J Radiat Biol Relat Stud Phys Chem Med. 1969;16(2):193-6.
  • Dancewicz AM, Altman KI, Salomon K. The effects of x-irradiation on the biosynthesis of haemoglobin. III. Experiments with porphobilinogen-3,5-14C. Int J Radiat Biol. 1962 Apr;5:85-92.
  • Mazanowska A, Dancewicz AM, Malinowska T, Kowalski E. Chelation of iron and zinc by protoporphyrin catalyzed by mitochondrial preparations. Eur J Biochem. 1969 Feb;7(4):583-7.
  • Kopeć M, Jeleńska M, Węgrzynowicz Z, Dancewicz AM. Effects of x-rays irradiation on collagen-platelet interaction. Acta Univ Carol Med Monogr. 1972; 53:41-4.
  • Dancewicz AM, Mazanowska A, Gerber GB. Late biochemical changes in the rat lung after hemithoracic irradiation. Radiat Res. 1976 Sep;67(3):482-90.
  • Gerber GB, Dancewicz AM, Bessemans B, Casale G. Biochemistry of late effects in rat lung after hemithoracic irradiation. Acta Radiol Ther Phys Biol. 1977 Oct;16(5):447-55.
  • Boguta G, Dancewicz AM. Radiation-induced dimerization of tyrosine and glycyltyrosine in aqueous solutions. Int J Radiat Biol Relat Stud Phys Chem Med. 1981 Feb;39(2):163-74.
  • Boguta G, Dancewicz AM. Radiolytic and enzymatic dimerization of tyrosyl residues in insulin, ribonuclease, papain and collagen. Int J Radiat Biol RelatStud Phys Chem Med. 1983 Mar; 43(3):249-65.
  • Sochanowicz B, Przygoda E, Dancewicz AM. Increased thromboxane production after whole body irradiation. Acta Biochim Pol. 1990;37(1):103-8.
  • Sochanowicz B, Dancewicz AM. Irradiation of rats abolishes susceptibility of PGI2 synthesis in blood vessels to peroxidative agents. Prostaglandins. 1990 Mar;39(3):287-98.