Paweł Kafarski


KafarskiProf. Dr. Paweł Kafarski
Institute of Organic Chemistry
University of Wrocław, Poland

Tentative title of lecture: Are aminophosphonates still worth to synthesize?




Paweł Kafarski was born in Gdańsk (Poland) on January 13th, 1949. He studied chemistry at Wrocław University of Science and Technology where his scientific adventure started with M. Sc. Thesis, completed in 1971 under the supervision of Prof. Przemysław Mastalerz. Prof. Mastalerz subsequently supervised his scientific career for many years. In his laboratory Paweł Kafarski worked on the synthesis of organophosphorus compounds possessing potential biological activities. In 1977 he defended PhD thesis “Synthesis of peptides containing aminophosphonic acids”. The synthesis and evaluation of the antibacterial and the plant growth regulating action of these peptides (also called phosphono peptides) became the first benchmark of Paweł Kafarski scientific activity. In 1976/1977 he interrupted his PhD studies and spent nine months at Marquette University at Milwaukee working in the laboratory of Prof. Sheldon E. Cremer on the synthesis of phosphetanes. In 1989 he spent six months in the laboratory of Prof. Henri-Jean Cristau at Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie at Montpellier elaborating the procedure for the synthesis of phosphono peptides containing P-N bond in their structures. The latter stay started long-lasting collaboration between both laboratories. Further scientific activity of Paweł Kafarski was concentrated on elaboration of synthetic procedures suitable to produce phosphonate inhibitors (most likely in enantiomerically pure forms) of physiologically important enzymes, to mention only: aminopeptidases (targets for anti-cancer and anti-malarial drugs), cathepsin C (potential anti-tumor agents), glutamine synthetase (target for antituberculosis agents), urease (antibacterials for treatment of stomach ulcer and stone formation in urinary tract) or L-phenylalanine ammonia lyase (potential herbicides). The design of ligands for these targets relied on knowledge of molecular mechanisms of the catalyzed reactions and on three-dimensional structures of the chosen proteins. In many cases the process was computer-assisted. In the recent years his activity in a frame of medicinal chemistry is devoted to the synthesis and evaluation of new aminomethylenebisphosphonic acids as potential drugs against osteoporosis. In 1982 Prof. Paweł Kafarski was appointed additionally to a position at the University of Opole where some of the above-mentioned biological studies were also performed. The main stream of research in Opole, however, concerns two subjects: biodegradation of aminopolyphosphonates (including the commonly applied herbicide glyphosate) by lower fungi and cyanobacteria and isolation and identification of natural compounds of plant, fungal and food origin, with search for markers of the quality of honeys being the most recent activity.

Prof. Paweł Kafarski has co-authored over 300 scientific papers, one academic book in Polish (P. Kafarski, B. Lejczak, Bioorganic Chemistry, PWN Warszawa 1994), and over 15 chapters in books (4 in Polish) and 13 patents. These papers have been cited over 5,000 times. He also supervised 33 PhD theses. He acted as the President of the Polish Chemical Society (2005-2010), as Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry at Wrocław University of Scince and Technology (2001-2005), as a member of the Committee of Biotechnology and the Polish Academy of Sciences (1988-now). He was granted, amongst other, Śniadecki medal of Polish Chemical Socity for scientific achievements, the Hanuš medal (Czech Chemical Society, 2005), as Honorary Member of the Slovak Chemical Society (2007), and with the Medal of the National Educational Committee (2007). In 2010 the Department of Bioorganic Chemistry led by Prof. Kafarski organized the 18th International Conference on Phosphorus Chemistry.

Besides his scientific activities, for many years Paweł Kafarski organized the Festival of Student Songs in the Karkonosze Mountains. Currently, his major hobbies are philately, particularly collecting Polish and Czech pre-war stamps, and mushroom picking. Lastly, he also likes to travel to exotic countries. Being an exceptional story-teller, he always attracts great interest presenting his impressions from these tours. People who were hosted by Paweł Kafarski in Wrocław, undoubtedly remember his passion for the city and its multinational history.


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