Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Pathology and Molecular Genetics

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.04.00  Medical sciences  Oncology   
3.01.00  Medical sciences  Microbiology and immunology   

Code Science Field
B000  Biomedical sciences   

Code Science Field
3.02  Medical and Health Sciences  Clinical medicine 
3.01  Medical and Health Sciences  Basic medicine 
pathology, molecular genetics, primary brain tumours, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cells, inflammatory bowel diseases, vasculitis, melanocytic lesions, next generation sequencing, liquid biopsy
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on July 15, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  1,046  27,895  26,064  24.92 
Scopus  1,021  29,889  27,805  27.23 
Researchers (48)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33147  PhD Luka Bolha  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  27 
2.  25441  PhD Emanuela Boštjančič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  121 
3.  53705  Alenka Dečman Cerar    Technical associate  2022 
4.  28344  PhD Katarina Dimnik  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  33 
5.  06207  Zvezdana Dolenc-Stražar  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2020 - 2024  77 
6.  39127  PhD Ana Dolinar  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2020  20 
7.  54662  Tina Draškovič  Oncology  Junior researcher  2020 - 2024 
8.  38327  PhD David Drobne  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  165 
9.  39720  Zdenka Flis    Technical associate  2022 
10.  02127  PhD Nina Gale  Oncology  Retired researcher  2020 - 2024  406 
11.  09275  PhD Damjan Glavač  Chemistry  Researcher  2020 - 2021  565 
12.  39128  PhD Gašper Grubelnik  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  32 
13.  27704  PhD Nina Hauptman  Chemistry  Researcher  2020 - 2024  106 
14.  20201  PhD Maja Jerše  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  50 
15.  19130  PhD Jera Jeruc  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  167 
16.  11204  PhD Vesna Jurčić  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  150 
17.  57039  Špela Kert  Oncology  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024 
18.  22462  PhD Nika Kojc  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  187 
19.  52857  Danijela Kolenc    Technical associate  2020  52 
20.  07133  PhD David Križaj  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  84 
21.  18455  Žiga Kušar  Neurobiology  Technical associate  2020 - 2024 
22.  15472  PhD Boštjan Luzar  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  459 
23.  35428  PhD Alenka Matjašič  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  36 
24.  53703  Milena Milić    Technical associate  2022 
25.  54927  Jernej Mlakar  Neurobiology  Technical associate  2020 - 2024  97 
26.  53706  Mateja Osvald    Technical associate  2022 
27.  56748  Jelka Peček    Technical associate  2022 
28.  53702  Metod Perme    Technical associate  2022 
29.  23082  PhD Martina Perše  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  207 
30.  58141  Sara Petrin  Oncology  Junior researcher  2023 - 2024 
31.  26053  PhD Živa Pipan Tkalec  Biology  Technical associate  2020 - 2024  42 
32.  26058  PhD Jože Pižem  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  174 
33.  36130  Jerica Pleško    Technical associate  2022 - 2024  33 
34.  07090  PhD Mara Popović  Neurobiology  Retired researcher  2020 - 2024  306 
35.  54987  Branislava Ranković  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  28 
36.  50593  PhD Tinkara Remic  Medical sciences  Researcher  2022 - 2024  14 
37.  19141  PhD Irena Srebotnik Kirbiš  Oncology  Researcher  2022  92 
38.  14669  PhD Margareta Strojan Fležar  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  264 
39.  54928  Daja Šekoranja  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  24 
40.  16359  PhD Aleš Tomažič  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  321 
41.  51957  PhD Ana Unkovič  Medical sciences  Junior researcher  2020 - 2024 
42.  51961  PhD Kristian Urh  Medical sciences  Researcher  2020 - 2024  22 
43.  12956  PhD Metka Volavšek  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  238 
44.  50899  Karmen Wechtersbach  Oncology  Technical associate  2022 - 2024  14 
45.  12955  PhD Nina Zidar  Microbiology and immunology  Head  2020 - 2024  391 
46.  28143  PhD Andrej Zupan  Oncology  Researcher  2020 - 2024  54 
47.  53996  Milanka Živanović  Oncology  Technical associate  2021 - 2024 
48.  51028  PhD Margareta Žlajpah  Oncology  Technical associate  2020 - 2024  22 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,720 
In our research programme, we will focus on searching for new diagnostic, prognostic and predictive factors in various cancers and inflammatory conditions, and introduction of new techniques, e.g., bioinformatics, detection of non-coding RNAs, new panels in next generation sequencing (NGS), etc. A special attention will be paid to liquid biopsies as an alternative to tissue biopsies in a variety of diseases, improving early detection, prognosis, monitoring treatment responses and possible resistance to therapy. Primary brain tumours are heterogeneous neoplasms on both clinical and molecular levels. A novel NGS-glioma assay and research of (non)coding landscape of brain tumours will be implemented. We expect to identify new molecular biomarkers for a more precise characterisation, with contribution to development of subtype-specific treatment of glial tumours. Introduction of liquid biopsies of cerebrospinal fluid will enable incorporation of informative diagnosis and less invasive method of disease monitoring. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell properties will be studied on precancerosis and carcinomas in different organs. We will investigate whether any of the analysed markers can be used as a diagnostic marker to distinguish between precancerosis and carcinoma and as prognostic marker(s) to predict an unfavourable course of the disease. We will use liquid biopsy to search for potential prognostic and monitoring markers in plasma samples of patients with carcinoma. In inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), we will analyse pathologic features of fibrosis in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, compared to normal bowel. We will analyse the distribution of fibrous tissue, myofibroblasts and pericytes within the bowel wall in IBD and normal bowel wall, with special attention to pericytes and their markers. We will identify fibrosis-related genes, proteins and microRNAs, that can be used as diagnostic and prognostic markers in IBD, in either endoscopic or liquid biopsies. In vasculitis, we plan to identify key dysregulated miRNAs in patients with giant cell (temporal) arteritis and granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis), retrospectively on tissue samples and prospectively on fresh tissue and liquid biopsies. Overall, we aim to identify miRNAs which would enable, in combination with classical serological markers, early diagnosis of vasculitides, and possibly to predict their recurrence. In melanocytic lesions, a comprehensive morphological and molecular analysis of a large number of atypical Spitz tumours with a long follow-up will identify morphological and molecular parameters, enabling to accurately identify atypical Spitz tumours with aggressive clinical behaviour. We will improve characterisation of conjunctival nevi, by integrating morphological and molecular analysis and determine disease dynamics and the risk of hematogenous metastases in patients with uveal melanoma by using liquid biopsy.
Significance for science
Combining pathology, bioinformatics and new technologies in molecular genetics is an approach, which has the potential to discover novel pathogenetic mechanisms and diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers. We will try to extend this approach to liquid biopsy, in order to enable early detection and monitoring treatment responses and reccurrences.   Gliomas are extremely heterogeneous neoplasms, both on clinical and molecular levels. Recently, World Health Organization began to incorporate molecular findings into the histopathological diagnosis of specific tumour types, i.e., integrated diagnosis. We aim to discover specific biomarkers that can be used as targets in precision based-PCR in circulating tumour DNA for a more precise characterization of gliomas, and also to identify new molecular biomarkers with potential to contribute to development of subtype-specific treatment.   Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) contributes to various physiological and pathological processes, such as wound healing, tissue regeneration, organ fibrosis and cancerogenesis. Transcriptional factors of EMT can also induce stem-cell like properties that are responsible for generation of cancer stem cells (CSCs), thus linking the EMT and CSC concepts. Despite extensive research, the significance of EMT and CSCs in various cancers remains controversial. We will analyse EMT and CSCs in precancerosis and carcinomas in different organs in order to understand their pathogenetic role and to search for new diagnostic and prognostic markers in precancerous lesions and carcinomas of various organs.   Fibrosis in inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly in Crohn’s disease is a poorly understood condition. Fibrosis is the final common pathway in organ failure in diseases of various organs, including the liver, kidney, lung and heart. It is believed to result from tissue damage due to chronic injury and/or inflammation and impaired mechanisms of wound healing, leading to progressive scarring and organ damage. Myofibroblasts are considered to be the key effector cell in fibrosis, being responsible for the synthesis of the extracellular matrix proteins. Despite a generally accepted central role of myofibroblasts in various physiologic and pathologic conditions, the origin of these important cells has not been entirely established and remains controversial. We will analyse the distribution of fibrous tissue, myofibroblasts and pericytes within the bowel wall layers in Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and normal bowel wall and search for diagnostic markers of fibrosis.   Vasculitides are a group of heterogeneous inflammatory diseases, mainly characterised by the inflammation of blood vessels. Inflammation may result in damage, destruction and necrosis of blood vessel walls, leading to vessel wall remodelling, stenosis, ischemic and hemorrhagic events. Classical serological markers, clinical symptoms and histopathological changes may aid in determining specific vasculitis type. However, there is still a lack of novel specific noninvasive biomarkers that would enable, individually or combined, an efficient and reliable early diagnosis and prognosis of specific vasculitis, monitoring of vasculitis progression, remission and predicting recurrence, following treatment. We aim to identify candidate miRNA biomarkers for temporal arteritis and granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and to evaluate their performance in clinical practice. Overall, we aim to search for miRNAs, which would enable, in combination with classical serological markers, early diagnosis of giant cell (temporal) arteritis and granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and possibly to predict their recurrence.   Melanocytic lesions are among the most common tumours in humans, involving predominantly the skin and eye. Despite extensive research, diagnosis (distinction between a benign nevus and a malignant melanoma) still predominantly relies on morphological analysis with a relatively limited role of
Significance for the country
The research of our group is highly relevant for Slovenian development. It contributes to health care and has the potential for new collaboration in the research field. The research could help in more accurate diagnosis in several neoplastic and inflammatory diseases. Our aim is also to introduce blood-based tests, which are more cost-effective and non-invasive.   Educational activity of the group members will improve the knowledge of younger generation. This knowledge and research experience will be hand over, which will improve, and continue to develop this research forward to new research hypothesis.   The results of our research could be a starting point for industrial research and can lead to novel diagnostic tests.
Views history