Dr Joanna Zawacka-Pankau obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk in 2005. Her research focused on activation of p53 tumor suppressor by small molecules and photodynamic therapy of cancer. In 2005 she joined Prof. Galina Selivanova from the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology, Karolinska Institutet as a postdoctoral fellow to study the mechanism and outcome of activation of wild-type p53 by small molecules.
In 2007 she was appointed Assistant Professor position at the Department of Biotechnology, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology, Gdansk, Poland. As junior PI she led projects aimed at exploring the mechanism of tumor suppression upon pharmacological activation of p53 family members to target p53 deficient and mutant tumors.
In January 2012 she took up a position of Assistant Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology where she continued working on exploring the mechanism of tumor suppression upon pharmacological activation of p53 family members. In 2016 she joined the Division of Surgery at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention, and Technology where she works to establish a novel approach to target mutant TP53 and Kras-driven tumors in lung and pancreatic cancer by activating tumor suppressor forms of p53 family members and cancer cells' metabolism.