MOLECULAR AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES B2
Head of Department
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