protein structures and brain images
Jacek Zielonka

Jacek Zielonka, PhD, DSc

Assistant Professor; Director, Redox & Bioenergetics Shared Resource


  • Biophysics
    TBRC C0780

Contact Information


DSc, Chemical Sciences, Lodz University of Technology, Poland, 2015
PhD with honours, Chemistry, Lodz University of Technology, Poland, 2002
MSc with honours, Chemistry and Chemistry Technology, Lodz University of Technology, Poland, 1998


After completing my PhD training in physical chemistry in 2002, I worked for 1.5 years as a lecturer at the Lodz University of Technology in Poland. In 2004, I joined the Department of Biophysics as a postdoctoral fellow, working on the chemistry of probes for cellular oxidizing species. In 2007, I became a research scientist; in 2015, I became research director of the MCW Free Radical Research Center; and in 2020, I was appointed to director of the MCW Cancer Center Redox & Bioenergetics Shared Resource. I am an assistant professor in the Department of Biophysics.

I have expertise in the redox chemistry of biologically relevant compounds and bioanalytical techniques used in the area of oxidative stress research. I have a strong background in free radical chemistry and chemical and biochemical kinetics. I am experienced in a variety of analytical techniques including high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with absorption, fluorescence, mass spectrometric, and electrochemical detection. I have co-authored over 120 publications and four book chapters on various aspects of free radical chemistry and biochemistry, on the methodology of the detection of free radicals in biological systems, as well as on cellular bioenergetics as a target for development of new therapeutics. I have served as an editorial board member of Free Radical Biology and Medicine (2012-2020), Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2014-2019), Advances in Redox Research (2020 – present), Redox Biochemistry and Chemistry (2022 – present), Antioxidants (2022 – present), and Frontiers in Chemistry (2022 – present).

Research Experience

  • Antioxidants
  • Boronic Acids
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Cytochromes c
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Ethidium
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals

Methodologies and Techniques

  • Blotting, Western
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorometry
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Luminescence
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Pulse Radiolysis
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet

Research Interests

My current research interests focus on the development of new, rapid methods of detection of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. My research involves probe design and synthesis; characterization of chemical reactivity of probes, including determination of the reaction products, stoichiometry, and kinetics; and application of various noninvasive and invasive detection modes for complete and rigorous characterization of cellular oxidants in vitro and in vivo.

Zielonka - Figure 1 

The goal of developing new probes is to understand the chemical biology of cellular oxidants under physiological and pathophysiological conditions and to establish high-throughput screening protocols for the development of new inhibitors of NADPH oxidases and other enzymes producing reactive oxygen and nitrogen species for cardioprotection, neuroprotection, and cancer treatment.

Another of my research interests is exploiting the differences in bioenergetics profiles and redox status between normal and cancer cells for development of strategies to selectively target cancer cells. My research focuses on the design and development of compounds engineered to selectively accumulate in cancer cell mitochondria and induce bioenergetic and redox stress to stop cancer cell proliferation.

Zielonka - Figure 2 

Lab Members
Jennifer Gavina, Research Technologist I
Dr. Aleksandra Grzelakowska, Bekker NAWA Programme Scholar (Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange)
Matea Jurič, MD Student, Molecular & Cellular Research Pathway
Caleb Fredrick, High School Student, MCW SUPREMES Program

Dr. Micael Hardy, Aix-Marseille Universite, Marseille, France
Dr. Adam Sikora, Lodz University of Technology, Lodz, Poland
Dr. Radosław Podsiadły, Lodz University of Technology, Lodz, Poland
Dr. Radosław Michalski, Lodz University of Technology, Lodz, Poland
Dr. Thota Ganesh, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Dr. Ming You, Houston Methodist, Houston, TX