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About Jakub Parnas and Parnas Conference

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Parnas Conference

Parnas Conferences were established in 1996 to commemorate the world known Polish, Ukrainian and (in 1939-1949) Soviet biochemist Jakub Karol (Yakov Oskarovitch) Parnas. Professor Parnas had most astonishing and interesting life, unfortunately tragic at the very end. He was of Jewish origin and was born on 16 (28).01.1884 in the village of Mokryany, Drogobych district, Lviv region on the territory of that time Austro-Hungarian Empire (now territory of Ukraine) and died on 29.01.1949 in the USSR Ministry of State Security (KGB) prison in Moscow.

J.Parnas graduated from the Higher Engineering School in Berlin-Scharlottenbourg (1904), and then he studied in Strasbourg (1905) and Zurich (1906-1907). Since 1913, he worked as the assistant professor in Strasbourg, since 1916 – head of the Department of Physiological Chemistry at Warsaw University. In 1920-1941, he worked as professor and Director of the Institute of Medical Chemistry at Lviv University (in 1920-1939 in Poland and in 1939-1941 in Ukraine, USSR) and has created school of Polish biochemists. The Parnas laboratory was a unique place where in a friendly atmosphere young Polish, Ukrainian and Jewish scientists had studied glucose metabolism under his leadership. The results of his work were highly appreciated as for many year's glycolysis was also named as Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway.

During the World War II he was in evacuation to the Ufa city, USSR (1941 – 1943) and was collaborating with the Institute of Biochemistry of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. He was a founder and the first director of the Institute of Biological and Medical Chemistry of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow (1944 – May 1948) up to the moment of his imprisonment. He was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences and one of the founding members of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1944). He was also member of the German Academy of Naturalists Leopoldina, Corresponding Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Honorary Doctor of Universities of Sorbonne and Athens.

The first Parnas Conference was organized in 1996 in Lviv by the Ukrainian and Polish Societies, and since then usually every two years the Conferences have been organized alternately in Poland and in Ukraine. In 2009, Prof. Andrzej Dżugaj, then the President of the Polish Biochemical Society came out with the initiative to invite the Israel Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to join the Parnas Conference to fully acknowledge the roots of J.K. Parnas and his co-workers. Thanks to this, the VIIIth Parnas Conference (2011) was organized in Warsaw for the first time by three national Societies - Polish, Ukrainian and Israel ones. The IXth Parnas Conferences took place in Jerusalem (2013). The last Xth Conference was in Wroclaw and by the agreement of all three societies, it was conducted in the form of the Young Scientists Forum when almost all oral speakers were young participants (up to 35 years old) but plenary lecturers and invited speakers.

The Parnas Conference has a permanent title: “Parnas Conference on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, year XXXX” with a changing subtitle. Since its foundation, Parnas Conference became an international scientific forum. For example, scientists from 14 countries (Ukraine, Poland, Israel, USA, UK, FRG, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Georgia, Austria, Switzerland and Uzbekistan) participated already in the VIIth Parnas Conference in Crimea, Ukraine in 2009.

Usually the Conference comprises of about 180 young participants sponsored by the corresponding Biochemical Societies and FEBS, coming mainly from these three countries - Israel, Poland and Ukraine but it is also open for young scientists from other FEBS countries. The programme is based on the single-session scheme (no parallel sessions). Besides the presentations by the invited prominent plenary lecturers (60 min) and by the keynote speakers (30 min), all other oral presentations (20 min) are delivered by young scientists selected in advance by the corresponding national society or selected by the international selection Committee during the Conference from the submitted abstracts. Poster sessions are scheduled for two days of the Conference and the best poster presenters will be invited to make a 5 min “speed talk”.

XIth Parnas Conference is scheduled to be on 3-5 September in Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

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