Head of the Group for nano and biotechnological applications
Faculty of electrical engineering and Assistant Profesor at
Institute of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana
2022 – present: Assistant Profesor, Institute of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana
2010 – present: Head of the Group for nano and biotechnological applications, Faculty of electrical engineering, University of Ljubljana
I joined the Faculty of electrical engineering in 1998 and Faculty of Medicine in 2015. After basic training as a physicist at University of Ljubljana, I had received her PhD in fields of biomedical engineering and biophysics in 2003. In 2007 I received Luigi Galvani award of the international Bioelectrochemical Society for exceptional achievements of young scientists in field of bioelectrochemistry. In 2010 I have established a young research group Group for nano and biotechnological applications at Faculty of electrical engineering, University of Ljubljana. Wider field of my work during my PhD studies was theoretical (analytical, numerical) and experimental analysis of the biochemical and biophysical effects present during exposure of biological cells to the external electrical fields. I have applied effective medium theories to analyse electromagnetic properties of complex media, such as cells suspension, tissue and also magnetic composites. Large part of my work was focused on electroporation, a phenomenon where high-voltage electrical pulses increase cell membrane permeability and thus enable intake of drugs and DNA molecules in cells, e.g. electrochemotherapy of tumors and electrogene therapy. I participated in several national and european research projects. This reasearch continued during my postdoctoral project “Electrical properties and molecule transport during cell electroporation in suspensions”. From 2006 I was principal investigator of several successful research project focused on gene electrotransfer, nanoparticles based drug delivery and cancer cell metabolism.
My current field of work includes different areas of biomedicine, biotechnology and nanotechnology. I was PI of several interdisciplinary research projects, the results were published in 60 SCI papers, with over 1300 citations. The research of my group can be divided in the three segments:
- Research of cancer cells and immune cells metabolic pathways and related mechanisms on different in vitro models. We analyze the effects of nutrient availability and different modulators of cellular metabolism with focus on anchorage independent growth of cancer cells in relation to cancerogenesis. In field of immunometabolism we explore metabolic pathways of macrophages and T lymphocytes.
- Biotechnology applications with electroporation method – gene electrotransfer/silencing from in vitro to 3D in vitro tissue models, uptake of small molecules and gene silencing from tumor to primary human cells.
- Development of magnetic nanoparticles and nanotoxicology; development of nanoparticles for biomedical applications (cell labeling, tracking), development of nanoparticle carrier system for drug delivery in urothelial cancer therapy, analysis of NP uptake mechanisms and cytotoxicity in relation with immune response analysis and protein corona composition.
2022 – Assistant Profesor, Institute of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana
2010 – 2018– Lecturer at postgraduate courses of the interdisciplinary doctoral program Biosciences UL
Mentor of seven PhD student and several masters and graduate student in different fields from biology to biochemistry and electrical engineering.
Collaboration with industry
Collaboration in research activities in application of magnetic nanoparticles in biomedicine with private institute Nanotesla Institute Ljubljana. Collaboration in industrial projects for development and application of magnetic composites with Nanotesla Institute Ljubljana and company Kolektor Magma, co-inventor of international patent.