Molecular and Biomedical Sciences B2


Research departments
Administration and support units


The research program of the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences is focused mainly on basic research in molecular toxinology using techniques of protein biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and genetics. The primary goal of our investigations is the acquisition of new understanding of mammalian (patho)physiology with the aim of improving human and animal health.

The knowledge acquired and technologies developed in our research are always considered for transfer to applications in medicine, in Slovenia and elsewhere. In close cooperation with universities and other graduate schools, our experience is widely offered to students through teaching and research training. Together with industry we are involved in the development of high-tech and pharmaceutical products.


  • Molecular basis of action of toxic sPLA2s
  • Pathophysiology of endogenous sPLA2s
  • sPLA2s inhibitors
  • Pharmacologically active compounds of animal toxins
  • Lipidomics
  • Chemical genomics
  • Synthetic genetic arrays (SGA)
  • Evolutionary genomics
  • Protein structure
  • Bioinformatics

New departmental web pages

Head of Department
Prof. Igor Križaj, Ph. D.,

Maja Šimaga, M. Sc.,
Telephone: +386 1 477 34 11
Fax: +386 1 477 39 84

The core of our department is the program group "Toxins and Biomembranes", one of the internationally recognized research groups in the field of toxinology. Our major research topic is focused on secreted phospholipases A2 (sPLA2s), both those from animal toxins and those endogenous to humans. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of action of toxic sPLA2s, particularly those with presynaptic neurotoxicity, anticoagulant activity and myotoxicity, as well as the roles of endogenous sPLA2s in pathological and physiological processes in mammals. We are examining the function of these proteins in different cell processes, such as neuronal apoptosis and neurodegeneration, cell proliferation and carcinogenesis, particularly in breast cancer, activity of mitochondria and inflammation, e.g. in rheumatoid arthritis. Our group is also involved in investigating the biological roles of products of the enzymatic activity of sPLA2s, fatty acids, lysophospholipids and their metabolites, as well as pathologies connected with lipid metabolism, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and ageing. Our approach is to identify and characterize constituents of animal toxins with interesting pharmacological activities, potentially useful in medicine and as molecular tools to address research problems in physiology. One of our interests is also structural and evolutionary dynamics of eukaryotic genomes. Our research is conducted in close collaboration with a number of international and national research groups, on the basis of both formal and informal relations. The department is focused on the latest technologies in the fields of genomics, lipidomics and bioinformatics. We are also the only group in Slovenia and its close neighborhood equipped with the knowledge and skills for the analysis of synthetic genetic arrays (SGA).

J. Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Telephone: +386 1 477 39 00, Fax: +386 1 251 93 85