The Ceremony of granting the WULS-SGGW honoris causa title to Professor Karol Maramorosch took place on 24 October 2014. The ceremony was inaugurated by His Magnificence, the WULS-SGGW Rector, Professor Dr. hab. Alojzy Szymański, who extended his warm welcome to Professor Karol Maramorosch and all guests. The members of WULS-SGGW Senate, the staff of the university and students took part in the celebration. Representatives of ministries, government institutions and local government graced the ceremony with their presence. Also family members, colleagues and friends of associate professors and doctors were present. The supervisor of the Ph.D. dissertation of Karol Maramorosch, Professor Dr. hab. Marian Binek, the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, presented the biography and work of Professor Maramorosch. After the act of granting the WULS-SGGW honorary doctorate, Professor K. Maramorosch thanked the senate, the university officials and the faculty for honoring his scientific activity.
This was followed by granting habilitation diplomas and Ph.D. promotions. Professor Alojzy Szymański, the Rector of the WULS-SGGW, along with the deans of various faculties handed diplomas to 29 habilitated doctors and 34 doctors.
Prof. dr hab. Karol Maramorosch
Karol Maramorosch was born on 16 January 1915 in Vienna. He spent his childhood in Kołomyja, where he attended primary and junior high school named after Kazimierz Jagiellończyk. Since the age of seven, he took piano lessons and in 1934 he graduated from Stanisław Moniuszko conservatory in Stanisławów (currently Ivano-Frankivsk).
A story about research conducted by Professor Rudolf Weigl in Lvov on typhus heard from his older brother made him want to become a virologist. He started his studies at the Faculty of Agriculture at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, from which he graduated obtaining the engineer of agriculture title in 1938. After the war broke out, he escaped with his wife Irena to Romania and after four years of interment, he was in the refugee camp. After the war he continued his studies at the Bucaresg University of Technology specializing in plant pathophysiology.
For over 70 years of creative work, Professor Maramorosch published more than 800 scientific papers and has written more than 100 books on the topic of microbiology and virology.
Professor Karol Maramorosch is an outstanding scientist and academic teacher in the field of plant pathology, particularly in the area of plant viruses living in nature and botanical gardens. He passionately and successfully studied pathogens, vectors and infected plants and the occurrence of these new diseases. In his early work, he used Weigl’s idea, according to which he reproduced pathogens in insect vectors which do not breed in vitro. For this purpose, he used Cicadellidae and Homoptera, in which he isolated and amplified phytoplasma and plant viruses. He proved this way that these pathogens replicate not only in plant cells, but also in their parasitic insects. The result of his pioneer research on plant viruses, viroids, and phytoplasma in the 60s of the twentieth century was obtaining the first insect cell lines used today to study viral gene expression. These tests are applicable not only in agriculture, but also in medicine, veterinary medicine and pharmaceutical industry.
The professor has had a unique contribution to the development of modern genetics, molecular biology, plant viruses, to the knowledge about their evolution, as well as the transduction of specific genes into mammal cells. He also successfully conducted research on plant diseases caused by bacteria such as phytoplasma and spiroplasma or parasites.
Professor Maramorosch is known for his extensive publishing activity, including his authorship of hand books published in Poland. In 1967, he published, together with Professor Dr. Hilary Koprowski, the first volume of the fundamental work: Methods in Virology (Karl Maramorosch & Hilary Koprowski, Academic Press). For many years, he has been the editor of Advances in Virus Research.
He is elected member of several international scientific societies and institutions, such as American Phytopathological Society, New York Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Virology, Leopoldina Academy in Germany, the Indian National Academy of Science. He also held the function of the President of International Association for Research on Medicinal Plants Forest.
The rank of international professional of Professor Karol Maramorosch and universal recognition of his discoveries in the field of plant pathology, biomedicine, biotechnology and biotechnology bring credit to his alma mater, WULS-SGGW, with which he has maintained relationship throughout his 70-year academic career. He has promoted Poland and Warsaw University of Life Sciences. In recognition of his outstanding achievements, he was awarded the Badge of Honor "Merit for WULS-SGGW" in 2013.
He repeatedly visited the WULS-SGGW and other national institutions, delivering highly popular lectures for students, graduate students and academic staff. He collaborated and participated in the organization of prestigious Polish-Ukrainian Weigl conferences in Odessa (2009), Wroclaw (2011), and Chernivtsi (2013), in which not only did he hold paper presentations, but has also made close contacts to research and teaching staff of Polish and Ukrainian microbiologists, which contributed to a better understanding of the two nations, in the spirit of friendship between Poland and Ukraine.
Prof. dr hab. Marian Binek