TSSP NatSci 2020 program is postponed to summer 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Recruitment of candidates for TSSP NatSci 2021: 19th April – 15th May 2021

TSSP NatSci 2020 & 2021 projects

The main component of the summer program is an active participation in the selected research projects offered by the staff members of the Nicolaus Copernicus University from Faculty of Biological and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Chemistry, and Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management, please see the topics and their descriptions below. Interested students are welcome to contact possible advisors for more details concerning the foreseen projects and discuss the dates that the project could be undertaken.



Earth and Environmental Sciences:

Biological Sciences:

Chemical Sciences:


EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Application of 3-D laser scanning in colluvial filling estimation within kettle-holes


The aim of the project is to assess the possibility of using high resolution digital terrain models created on the basis of Lidar (aerial laser scanning) data in determining the thickness of colluvial materials in the bottoms of kettle-holes. During the summer school, the student will have the opportunity to develop their skills in 1) using remote sensing data, 2) using GIS software and 3) recognizing slope sediments. The project is part of the important research of soil erosion transformations in the context of carbon sequestration in kettle-holes.
Research tasks:
Supervisors: Marcin Świtoniak (swit[at]umk.pl)
Marcin Sykuła (sykula[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management
Internship period: 1 – 29.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Earth Sciences

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Including small water reservoirs in the Urban Climate Adaptation Plan - evaluation of quantitative and qualitative resources on the example of the city of Toruń


Within the city limits of Toruń there are several dozen small water reservoirs of various origins (natural and anthropogenic), which are poorly recognized from the hydrological point of view. Due to the genetic diversity of the reservoirs, they are characterized by different morphometric features (surface, depth) and different water quality depending on the degree of anthropopressure. The research will be carried out on selected water reservoirs (up to 7), located in different parts of Toruń, which will allow you to get to know less frequented districts of the city. Students of the Students' Scientific Society of Hydrologists will be involved in the field work, which will allow for the integration of the project participants. Water quality analyzes will be performed in the laboratory with the support of employees of the Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management. The obtained results will make it possible to assess the trophic state of the reservoirs, which is crucial for determining the suitability of water resources and their use for various purposes. The knowledge of reservoirs' water resources and water quality can be used to include these facilities in the Urban Adaptation Plans to climate change, in order to protect them and to improve water quality. The proposed solutions can be used to compare genetically similar reservoirs under city pressure in other climatic zones.

Research goals: Research tasks:
Supervisor: Katarzyna Kubiak-Wójcicka (kubiak[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management
Internship period: 5.07 - 1.08.2021
Scientific disciplines:Earth and environment sciences

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International Classification of Soils [NatSci 2020]


The purpose of the internship is to acquire and improve the skills of soil and soil environment description and soil profile classification according to WRB, as well as to learn how to detect the relationship between soil cover and other components of environment.
Research tasks:
Supervisor: Przemysław Charzyński (pecha[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management
Internship period: 20.06 – 20.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Earth Sciences

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More than gingerbreads – food tourism in Toruń [NatSci 2020]


The purpose of the internship is to develop a scientific skills of acquiring data and to conducting research in the field of culinary tourism as part of cultural tourism. Collected data will be the subject of analysis and synthesis and an important aspect is the attempt to compare the results within the national and international context.
Research tasks:
Supervisor: Przemysław Charzyński (pecha[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management
Internship period: 20.06 – 20.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Tourism

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Urban Soil Lab [NatSci 2020]


The project’s aim is to acquire and improve the skills on urban soil description and classification, as well as to learn how to identify the relationships between the soil properties and other environmental components.
Research tasks:
Supervisor: Piotr Hulisz (hulisz[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management
Internship period: 20.06 – 20.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Earth and environmental sciences

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BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

The potential influence of estrogens on hypoxia regulation in breast cancer cell lines


The changes in energetic metabolism in cancer cells are strictly connected with hypoxic state which is the characteristic feature of carcinogenesis. HIF1α and HIF2α are the main factors which are arranged into adaptation of cancer cells for low oxygen availability. However, the expression of HIF1α and HIF2α in breast tumors is different depending on biological type of breast cancer. Based on current research, breast cancer patients with expression of hormone receptors exhibit lower level of HIF2α which may plausibly be connected with hormonal therapy prescribed to those patients. Moreover, breast cancer patients without hormone receptors do not show similar tendency. Therefore, it seems that estrogens may play important role in HIFs regulation. The aim of this study is analysis whether different concentrations of estrogen’s derivatives may have an impact on HIF1α and HIF2α expression in breast cancer cell lines. This project may be the initial study for further research which may shed new light on underlying mechanism of breast carcinogenesis.

Research tasks:
  1. Supplementation of breast cancer cell lines with differently expressed hormone receptors with diverse concentrations of estrogen’s derivatives (estradiol, estrone, estriol).
  2. RNA isolation and analyses of expression of HIF1α and HIF2α genes in exposed cells.
  3. Protein extraction and immunohistochemistry analyses of HIF1α and HIF2α in exposed cells.
Supervisors: Anna Brożyna (anna.brozyna[at]umk.pl)
Kinga Linowiecka (klinowiecka[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Biological and Veterinary Sciences
Internship period: 4 weeks in the period 1.07 – 31.08.2021
Scientific disciplines:Biological Sciences

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CHEMICAL SCIENCES

Microencapsulation techniques of herbal compounds for raw materials in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals [NatSci 2020]


Microencapsulation is a method to encapsulate different functional materials at nano- and micro-scales, which can provide the necessary protection for the encapsulated materials, such as plant extract. Plant extract is a complex mixture of compounds, which can have antioxidant, antibiotic, antiviral, anticancer, antiparasitic, antifungal, hypoglycemic, anti-hypertensive and insecticide properties. The aim of the study is to formulate and optimize a herbal cream and hydrogel containing natural extracts encapsulated in microparticles and to investigate the effects of topical application of prepared cosmetics on skin parameters. Various physicochemical parameters of the obtained cosmetics will be also studied.
Research tasks:
Supervisor: Justyna Kozłowska (justynak[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 28.06 - 25.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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From biowastes to the advanced separation materials


The goal of the work is the preparation of the intelligent separation materials based on the PVDF polymeric support with the chemically attached chitosan. Chitosan is a natural biopolymer being produced during the processing crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs and shrimps for human consumption. However, this is material considered as a biowaste, seashell waste. Chitosan possessed very interesting features e.g. good film forming property and possessing two types of chemical reactive groups having huge potential in the modification and functionalization of the materials. Furthermore, due to the hydrophilic character it is very useful for the improved anti fouling feature.
Within the project membranes with the chitosan will be produced and characterized in the osmotic membrane distillation (OMD) or filtration process (MF/UF). A novelty will be a generation of hybrid modification accomplished by addition of the chitosan to the polymeric matrix. The material characterization of the pristine, modified and used membranes in the separation process will be done, using various techniques.
Students will have a chance to participate in the research relating membrane field and material science. The membrane process e.g. membrane distillation or filtration (MF/UF) will be implemented during the research. Students will gain an experience in the analytical methods selected for the characterization of the produced membranes.
Detailed research tasks:
Supervisor: Joanna Kujawa (joanna.kujawa[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 1 - 31.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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Fabrication of porous membrane materials


The aim of the work is to prepare different types of the polymeric membranes by controlling and tune conditions of the experimental protocol. The selection of suitable conditions of membrane preparation is crucial for the production of the effective and stable separation materials. During the research non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) technique will be used for the membrane generation. In the experimental protocol, the selected parameters e.g. thickness, type of solvent and non-solvent, type of polymer, time of gelation, time in the coagulation bath will be tune and the impact of the changes will be control taking into account changes in the morphological structure and physiochemistry of the produced materials. An important part will be the correlation between the experimental condition and the membrane performance.
Students will have chance to participate in the research across membrane field and material science discipline. The membrane process e.g. membrane distillation or filtration will be implemented during the research. Students will have also chance to learn and gain experience in the analytical methods selected for the characterization of the produced membranes.
Research tasks:
Supervisors: Joanna Kujawa (joanna.kujawa[at]umk.pl)
Wojciech Kujawski (wkujawski[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 1 - 31.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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Berberine content in the plant materials


Elaboration of method extraction and determination of berberine in plant materials.
The implementation of the project objective will consist of:
  1. Optimization of berberine extraction from plant material (eg. solvent, type, duration, temperature).
  2. Qualitative analysis of obtained extracts (eg. chosen characteristic reactions).
  3. Quantitative analysis of berberine in extracts using: liquid chromatography, spectrophotometry and fluorimetry.
  4. Statistical analysis of obtained results.
  5. Preparation of the project report.
Supervisor: Marzanna Kurzawa (jmk[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 1 - 31.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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The influence of gelatin crosslinking on mechanical properties of cast films


The aim of this project is to provide with preliminary data for further investigation toward gelatin based biodegradable packaging materials. The search for biodegradable packaging materials is extremely important taking in to account the annual plastic waste production exciding 3×108 t and fact that majority of their volume consist of post-consumption packaging. In the frame of wider research concerning biobased food packaging materials Physicochemistry of Polymers Research Group is preparing a new project concerning new generation of gelatin based films. Announced project is a part of preliminary studies in this field.
The project include:
  1. preparation of base mixtures for gelatin film casting with presence of different amount of crosslinking agent,
  2. casting of gelatin based films,
  3. determination of mechanical properties resulting films,
  4. determination of the kinetics of swelling in water based solutions.
Supervisor: Jacek Nowaczyk (janowa[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 1 - 31.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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Asymmetric synthesis of new benzofuryl and benzothiophenyl β-amino alcohols with potential antibacterial and antifungal properties


Heterocyclic compounds play an important role in medicinal chemistry and occupy a central position in synthetic organic chemistry. Both benzofuran and benzothiophene are considered as very important structures due to their diverse biological and pharmacological profile. Many clinically approved drugs are synthetic and naturally occurring substituted benzofuryl and benzothiophenyl derivatives in conjunction with other heterocycles. On the other hand, the antifungal drugs for clinical uses are compounds possessing at least two principal pharmacophoric groups: the iron coordinating group - the azole ring, able to interact with the heme iron; and the aromatic group, as a hydrophobic moiety adjacent to it. The main azole-antifungal drugs (Econazole, Miconazole, Fluconazole, Ketoconazole) are racemic β-amino alcohols containing imidazole and triazole rings.
Therefore, the aim of this research is synthesis of new racemic and chiral β-amino alcohols – derivatives of benzofuran and benzothiophene, containing various azole rings. Subsequently, the compounds obtained will be tested for biological activity - antibacterial and antifungal.
Research tasks:
  1. Synthesis of a series of α-amino ketones (containing azole rings: imidazole, triazole, thiazole, benzimidazole, benzotriazole) derivatives of benzofuran and benzothiophene.
  2. Racemic reduction with the use of sodium borohydride of benzofuryl and benzothiophenyl α-amino ketones.
  3. Enantioselective reduction of benzofuryl and benzothiophenyl α-amino ketones by the transfer hydrogenation with formic acid, catalyzed by RhCl[(R,R)-TsDPEN](C5Me5).
  4. Identyfication of received β-amino alcohols - NMR and IR spectra analysis, determination of optical purity of chiral products applying HPLC, optical rotation measurement.
  5. Benzofuryl and benzothiophenyl β-amino alcohols, as analogues of known antifungal agents, will undergo biological testing in the next stage.
Supervisor: Agnieszka Tafelska-Kaczmarek (tafel[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 1 - 31.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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Wastes-to-fuel investigations under non-thermal-plasma environment


"Mountains of wastes" becomes a huge nowadays problem. Their management by e.g. burning or recycling is not efficient nor ecological. The solution would be their processing into fuels - i.e. hydrocarbons, alcohols or other value-added low-mass compounds. Such rearrangement of wastes into “synthetic fuels” fully adjusts to sustainable wastes administration.
The main aim of the project is to answer the questions:
Supervisor: Marek Wiśniewski (marek.wisniewski[at]umk.pl)
Faculty of Chemistry
Internship period: 1 - 31.07.2021
Scientific disciplines:Chemical sciences

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Sponsors: