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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » November 25, 2011
The Polish Science Voice
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Medical University of Warsaw
November 25, 2011   
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The Medical University of Warsaw (WUM) boasts a 200-year history of working for the development of medical sciences and pioneering achievements in healthcare. The university’s success in higher education has been based on continual development and innovation.

The Medical University of Warsaw has almost 10,000 students, including nearly 600 foreign students from countries such as Malaysia, Norway, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Canada, the United States and Britain. The university employs over 1,500 research workers, including 185 professors. Many of them are top Polish scientists. Apart from full-time programs—master’s courses, first-degree courses and second-degree courses—WUM offers part-time programs for fee-paying students, in addition to postgraduate and doctoral courses, specialist courses and training programs.

Programs of study

WUM is divided into four faculties, which offer 12 programs of study and three specialties.
- The First Faculty of Medicine, which includes the Division of Dentistry, offers courses in medicine, dental medicine, dental technology and speech and language pathology. This last course is offered together with the Polish Studies Faculty at the University of Warsaw. Majors include audiophonology, electroradiology and dental hygiene.
- The Second Faculty of Medicine, which includes the English Division and the Physiotherapy Division, provides courses in medicine pursued in Polish and English and courses in physiotherapy.
- The Faculty of Pharmacy, which includes the Division of Laboratory Medicine, offers courses in pharmacy and laboratory medicine.
- The Faculty of Health Sciences, which includes the Divisions of Nursing, Public Health and Dietetics, offers courses in dietetics, nursing, midwifery, emergency medicine and public health.

Teaching hospitals

The Medical University of Warsaw has five teaching hospitals, which provide medical care to patients and education and training to health professionals. They also conduct scientific research. The five hospitals are: the Public Ophthalmic Teaching Hospital; Public Pediatric Teaching Hospital; Holy Infant Teaching Hospital/Emergency and Trauma Center on Lindleya Street; Duchess Anna Mazowiecka Public Teaching Hospital on Karowa Street; and the Central Public Teaching Hospital on Banacha Street. The hospital on Banacha Street is Poland’s largest hospital with the highest referral level. It provides treatment to 55,000 in-patients annually and the number of specialist visits in the hospital’s 27 out-patient clinics amounts to 220,000 a year. It has a staff of over 2,500, including 589 physicians, almost 1,000 nurses and 725 high-, medium- and low-level medical personnel, who on a daily basis take care of the health of residents of Warsaw, the Mazovia region and Poland as whole. WUM also uses the facilities of other hospitals in Warsaw and neighboring areas.

Research and teaching resources

WUM has two modern campuses, Banacha Campus and Lindleya Campus. The Banacha Campus, in the district of Ochota, is home to the offices of the WUM rector and the deans of all the faculties. The area also holds the Teaching Center along with the Language School and the Student Service Department, the Faculty of Pharmacy with the Division of Laboratory Medicine, and the Central Public Teaching Hospital. The Lindleya Campus holds a complex of buildings in the center of Warsaw. It includes the Dom Medyków building, the Biostructure Center, the Main Library Building and the Holy Infant Teaching Hospital/Emergency and Trauma Center.

International relations

The university aims to provide its students with a top-caliber education based on modern curricula. Collaboration with foreign universities is one of the more important elements of WUM’s education strategy. Since WUM’s curricula comply with international requirements, the university takes an active part in European exchange programs for students and research workers, such as LPP/Erasmus and CEEPUS. It also takes part in three thematic networks of the Erasmus program: MEDINE2, DIETS2 and DentEd III. Their main goal is to support innovation, improve the quality of university education and develop joint projects and teaching methods in medicine, dentistry, dietetics and pharmacy.

WUM also takes part in an LLP/Erasmus structural network project called International Medical School 2020, working with foreign universities to introduce uniform teaching standards. The university is also a member of many prestigious international organizations, such as the European University Association (EUA), the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE), and the ECTS Medical Education (ECTS-MA).

WUM is also part of the European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network (ECRIN), which aims to coordinate scientific research across Europe.

Scientific research

The university exchanges research workers with partner institutions abroad and takes part in joint projects that strengthen its position among scientific centers in Europe and beyond. Some of the innovations developed at WUM have been submitted for patent protection in Poland and selected other countries in Europe. The innovations include a hip prosthesis developed by Prof. Jarosław Deszczyński and pharmaceutical products containing cancer vaccines and plasmids carrying Interleukin-15 (IL-15) as a preparation to be applied in cancer immunotherapy. These pharmaceutical products have been developed by a team led by Prof. Marek Jakóbisiak and made up of Witold Lasek, PhD, Grzegorz Basak, Tomasz ¦witaj, Andrzej Mackiewicz, and Piotr Wysocki.

More than 400 research projects funded from both national and foreign sources were carried out at WUM in 2010. The university conducts research into the pathogenesis, diagnostics, treatment, and prevention of diseases, and it also deals with methods for optimizing medical treatment by taking into account preventive measures, effectiveness and costs. WUM conducts preclinical research and clinical trials in all areas of medicine, with a special focus on lifestyle diseases.

The university is well known internationally for its research into the pathogenesis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders, in addition to its focus on gastroenterology, endocrinology, immunology, infectious diseases and transplantation.

Research projects under way at the university in 2010 included:
- research into the mechanisms of viral oncogenesis—led by Prof. Sławomir Majewski and his team from the Department of Dermatology and Venereology;
- research into experimental cancer treatment aimed at finding new, effective methods of low-toxic therapy—Prof. Jakub Goł±b, Unit of Immunology;
- molecular research to evaluate the quality of livers extracted for transplantation and make prognoses for treatment after transplantation, research into the use of stem cells in the treatment of liver failure—Prof. Marek Krawczyk and his team at the Clinic of General, Transplantation and Liver Surgery;
-research into experimental phage therapy and the impact of phages on the immune system—Prof. Andrzej Górski and his team at the Clinical Immunology Unit of the Institute of Transplantation;
- research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myasthenia—Prof. Hubert Kwieciński from the Neurology Department and Clinic;
- a project involving the insertion of cochlear and brainstem implants—Prof. Kazimierz Niemczyk and his team at the Otolaryngology Clinic in conjunction with a group of researchers led by Prof. Andrzej Marchel at the Neurosurgery Department and Clinic;
- telemetric automated system for 3D measurement, analysis, detection, monitoring and treatment of structural defects and deformities in the human body—Dr. Wojciech Glinkowski and his team at the Department and Clinic of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Musculoskeletal System;
- evaluation of possibilities to increase the use of population screening tests for breast, colon and prostate cancers by using DNA tests that detect increased genetic predisposition to these cancers—Prof. Andrzej Borkowski and his team at the Department and Clinic of General, Oncological and Functional Urology;
- research into the impact of Y chromosome polymorphism on the risk of cardiovascular diseases in the Polish population—Dr. Rafał Płoski and his team at the Medical Genetics Unit;
- mobile genetic elements of bacteria: molecular analysis and application in building tools for the bioengineering industry—Prof. Stefan Tyski and his team at the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Unit;
- InterQuality research project focusing on the financing of healthcare and carried out as part of the EU’s 7th Framework Program coordinated by WUM—Dr. Tomasz Hermanowski and his team at the Pharmacoeconomics Unit.

Investment and development

The Medical University of Warsaw is coordinating efforts to establish the Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology (CePT). This is the largest biomedicine and biotechnology project in Central and Eastern Europe. It aims to create in Warsaw a major research center focused on lifestyle diseases. The center will comprise a number of research facilities working closely with one another.

In another project, a new library will open at the Medical University of Warsaw at the start of next year. It will be fully computerized and equipped with modern facilities. WUM’s collection of books in medicine and related sciences is made up of over 301,000 volumes. The library will provide access to e-books online at ibuk.pl as well as medical data bases, including an extensive collection of electronic periodicals. The collection of periodicals, which numbers over 132,000 items, is composed of several thousand titles, mainly in Polish and English.

In September, work to build WUM’s new Pediatric Hospital started at the Banacha Campus. The hospital will provide 527 beds and is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The Sports and Rehabilitation Center is another facility under construction at the Banacha Campus. It will cover over 20,000 sq m and include a complex of pools with locker rooms and bathrooms, along with saunas, a sports hall, gyms, a bowling alley and a café.

WUM managers say the university is entering its third century with big plans and a long list of investment projects and changes. But one thing remains unchanged—the university’s commitment to serving the public by providing professional and comprehensive healthcare.

The history of the Medical University of Warsaw dates back to the early 19th century. In 1809, a department of medicine was set up in the Russian-occupied city as an initiative by scholar Stanisław Staszic. It provided lectures in medical sciences, surgery and pharmacy. On Nov. 19, 1816, Czar Alexander I permitted the establishment of the Royal University of Warsaw composed of five faculties, including the faculty of law and the faculty of medicine. In 1831, after the fall of the November Uprising, the university was closed together with all other institutions of higher learning in Russian-occupied Poland.

In 1857, the Imperial and Royal Academy of Medicine and Surgery opened in Warsaw. Five years later, it merged with the newly established Main School of Warsaw (SGW) and became its Faculty of Medicine. In 1869, SGW was closed on the czar’s orders. It was replaced with the Imperial University of Warsaw with Russian as the language of instruction. In 1915, the University of Warsaw was revived. Pediatrician and neurologist Józef Polikarp Brudziński became its rector. In 1916, an independent Faculty of Medicine was launched at the university.

During World War II, the Jan Zaorski School provided clandestine courses in medicine. After the war, in 1949, an independent Medical Academy was set up in Warsaw. In March 2008, it was renamed the Medical University of Warsaw.
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