Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Biophysics of Polymers, Membranes, Gels, Colloids and Cells

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.02.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics   
3.03.00  Medical sciences  Neurobiology   

Code Science Field
B2   Biomedical sciences  B2  

Code Science Field
1.03  Natural Sciences  Physical sciences 
polimers, lipid bilayer, biological membranes, proteins, gels, colloids, DLVO interactions, cells, liquid crystals, chirality, biophysics
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (54)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  35569  PhD Nataša Adžić  Physics  Junior researcher  2012 - 2014 
2.  18078  Vesna Arrigler    Technical associate  2009 - 2013  31 
3.  33760  PhD Lamprini Athanasopoulou  Physics  Technical associate  2014 
4.  34213  PhD Artem Badasyan  Physics  Researcher  2011 - 2012  94 
5.  08588  PhD Urška Batista  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  106 
6.  11088  PhD Bojan Božič  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  119 
7.  06617  PhD Gvido Bratina  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  216 
8.  05483  PhD Milan Brumen  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  441 
9.  33752  PhD Manisha Chhikara  Physics  Researcher  2013 - 2014  16 
10.  26235  Alenka Cimprič    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
11.  05974  PhD Mojca Čepič  Educational studies  Researcher  2009 - 2014  824 
12.  18326  PhD Jure Derganc  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  112 
13.  16311  PhD Jure Dobnikar  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  163 
14.  18383  Dušan Dragaš    Technical associate  2009 - 2010 
15.  22322  PhD Samir El Shawish  Energy engineering  Researcher  2009 - 2010  151 
16.  19553  PhD Aleš Fajmut  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  224 
17.  28405  PhD Marko Gosak  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  289 
18.  32099  PhD Maja Grundner  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Technical associate  2011 - 2012  35 
19.  31142  Katarina Hočevar    Technical associate  2009 - 2012 
20.  29527  PhD Ana Hočevar Brezavšček  Physics  Researcher  2010 - 2014  32 
21.  36785  Senta Jaunig    Technical associate  2014 
22.  34440  PhD Urška Jelerčič  Physics  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  16 
23.  26456  PhD Matej Kanduč  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  196 
24.  34572  Urška Klančnik  Materials science and technology  Technical associate  2011 - 2012  30 
25.  18384  Marijan Kozamernik    Technical associate  2009 - 2014 
26.  36332  PhD Matej Krajnc  Physics  Junior researcher  2013 - 2014  53 
27.  34481  PhD Kristina Leskovar  Physics  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  16 
28.  12001  PhD Janja Majhenc  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  73 
29.  31462  PhD Aleksej Majkić  Mechanical design  Researcher  2009 - 2010  36 
30.  23455  PhD Mojca Mally  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  22 
31.  13159  PhD Marko Marhl  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  648 
32.  34480  PhD Rene Markovič  Physics  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  106 
33.  36473  PhD Jinta Mathew  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2014 
34.  37395  PhD Robert Nawrocki  Physics  Researcher  2014 
35.  33365  Srinivasa Rao Pathipati  Physics  Researcher  2013 - 2014 
36.  22305  PhD Egon Pavlica  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2012  104 
37.  33126  PhD Maja Pečar  Educational studies  Junior researcher  2010 - 2014  56 
38.  34543  Raveendra Babu Penumala  Physics  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014 
39.  08589  PhD Rudolf Podgornik  Physics  Head  2009 - 2014  705 
40.  36390  Maja Poklinek Čančula  Educational studies  Junior researcher  2013 - 2014 
41.  27573  PhD Jasna Prebil  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2012  13 
42.  32154  PhD Anže Rapoš Božič  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  65 
43.  02013  PhD Saša Svetina  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  556 
44.  21315  PhD Polona Škraba  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2012  45 
45.  33183  PhD Tjaša Švelc Kebe  Physics  Researcher  2010 - 2014  15 
46.  26467  PhD Uroš Tkalec  Physics  Researcher  2013 - 2014  213 
47.  37421  PhD Fei Tong  Physics  Researcher  2014  14 
48.  35591  PhD Luca Tubiana  Physics  Researcher  2012 - 2014  12 
49.  30998  Marko Tuljak    Technical associate  2010 - 2014 
50.  13355  PhD Nataša Vaupotič  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  286 
51.  32008  PhD Saša Vrhovec Hartman  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2014  23 
52.  26234  PhD Špela Zemljič Jokhadar  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  52 
53.  13415  PhD Primož Ziherl  Physics  Researcher  2009 - 2014  338 
54.  01068  PhD Boštjan Žekš  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  644 
Organisations (6)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,035 
2.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,448 
3.  0588  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education  Ljubljana  1627082  30,602 
4.  1540  University of Nova Gorica  Nova Gorica  5920884000  14,207 
5.  1554  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics  Ljubljana  1627007  34,301 
6.  2547  University of Maribor, Faculty of natural sciences and mathematics  Maribor  5089638051  18,085 
Macromolecules and macromolecular aggregates like DNA and phospholipid membranes, obtained through isolation and/or reconstitution of fundamental building blocks of the living matter, determine their basic modes of action as well as responses to changes in their molecular environment. The analysis of various macromolecular liquid crystalline phases, be they biological macromoleculs themselves or their complicated anorganic analogues, as well as their basic symmetries and fundamental biocolloidal interactions define the first step of the proposed research program. The intergration of these fundamental principles of the nature of the structures and interactions among the basic macromolecular building blocks in the understanding of the physical properties and even more importantly, the possibility of control of the type and resonse of the constituents of the cell or cells and larger cell aggregates on changes in their environment represents the second step of this research program. Its basic principle being the bottom-up physical reconstitution of various living systems, from simple, model macromolecules all the way to morte complicated macromolecular aggregates, cells, organs and tissues.
Significance for science
The program P1-0055 “Biophysics of polymers, membranes, gels, colloids, and cells” is a research program in the field of biophysics. The latter is recognized as one of the fastest developing scientific disciplines worldwide. Active participation of the members of the program in the development of science is reflected in their extensive bibliography and deep involvement in various formal and informal international networks. In addition to 248 original scientific papers, 150 invited lectures, organization of 3 international scientific meetings, more than 500 peer-reviews in scientific journals, the quality of the work of the program team within the period 2009-2014 is reflected in 2 review articles in a prestigious scientific journal Reviews of Modern Physics and in an original scientific paper in the journal Nature. One of the qualities of the program is participation of researchers from different fields, which allows the application of quantitative physical methods to a wide range of complex biological systems and new materials. Activities of the program members focus to a number of areas. In the field of intermolecular interactions we studied electrodynamic and electrostatic interactions for cylindrical and planar geometry that dominate the organization of small objects at separations beyond an interatomic bond length and are particularly important for the interaction of proteins, nanotubes and DNA. From this basic-forces perspective, a large number of systems were described from which one can learn about organizing forces and how to modulate them. Many practical systems that harness these nanoscale forces were then surveyed. The survey reveals not only the promise of new devices and materials but also the possibility of their efficient design. In the field of liquid crystals and colloids, we studied various aspects of liquid crystals, e.g. of those with complex modulations, such as antiferroelectric liquid crystals. These are materials in which up to 5 different phases appear within a relatively narrow temperature range. Elongated molecules are organized in layers and they are tilted with respect to the layer normal in all phases. The phases differ in the complexity of the tilt modulation, which determines the macroscopic properties of phases. Starting from phenomenologically described intermolecular interactions we are today able to understand how they influence the structure of phases and their stability. Our experimental and theoretical studies of superparamagnetic colloidal particles in magnetic fields led to a discovery of self-assembled colloidal sheets. In the field of biophysics of membranes, viruses, cells and tissues, we studied the stability and packing of the viral capsid and analyzed natural random planar tiling, which is relevant for various biological tissues. We modelled mechanisms of airway smooth muscle contraction and gave explanation to various pathologies. With methods of complex networks analyses we investigated intercellular communications in pancreas. Within the field of experimental biophysics of membranes, cells and biosensors we studied multiple aspects of organic solar cells and demonstrated the role of nanographene as a charge transport enhancer in polymers. We designed microfluidic diffusion chamber and made the first step towards culturing pancreatic cells. We analyzed the influence of amphitropic proteins on phospholipid membranes and gave a critical analysis of the standard cell detachment procedures in cell biology.
Significance for the country
The program P1-0055 “Biophysics of polymers, membranes, gels, colloids, and cells” is the largest national research program in the field of biophysics. The work of the members of the program and their active international cooperation ensure that Slovenia is in close contact with state-of-the-art science in this field, which is of vital importance for the development of Slovenia as a knowledge-based society. The program has a nationwide character, combining researchers from the Jožef Stefan Institute, University of Ljubljana, University of Maribor and University of Nova Gorica. Such structure allows effective flow of ideas and also fosters a polycentric progress of science and higher education in Slovenia, which is in accordance with the intention towards balanced regional development. Although the program is primarily a basic research program, the expertise of its members and the latest research methods are transferred through formal and informal collaborations into industry and healthcare. In particular, we collaborated with the Head of R&D of one of the most successful Slovenian high-tech companies Pipistrel Ltd. as well as with Lek Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Through regular collaborations with clinicians we contribute to the development of the Slovenian health care system. The quality of the work of the program members is reflected also through immediate employability of former coworkers of the program. An important and integral aspect of the program P1-0055 is not only engagement of its members in research but also in teaching and managing. They teach more than 50 courses at University of Ljubljana, University of Maribor, and University of Nova Gorica. M. Marhl was vice-rector of the University of Maribor and G. Bratina is vice-rector of the University of Nova Gorica. N. Vaupotič and G. Bratina are deans of Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor and School of Applied Sciences, University of Nova Gorica, respectively. At the University of Ljubljana B. Božič is head of Institute of Biophysics at Medical Faculty and M. Čepič is head of Department of Physics at Faculty of Education. At the University of Maribor M. Brumen is head of Chair of Biophysics at Faculty of Medicine as well as head of Chair of Bioinformatics at Faculty of Health Sciences, and A. Fajmut was head of Department of Physics at Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics until 2014. Pedagogical work of the members does not include only the lectures at the participating universities but also working with young researchers. With multifaceted and complementary research interests of the members of the group, the program provides an excellent environment for students’ education and their personal professional growth. During the past 6 years 10 young researchers and 7 PhD students have completed training with PhD under the supervision of program members. This proves that the research program is important, perhaps even a key setting for the education of specialists in the field of biophysics and soft-matter physics in Slovenia. Program team members are responsible members of the society. We recognize the importance of presenting the latest scientific advances to the general public. We have prepared more than 50 popular science contributions for various media and participated three times in the TV show »LET'S BITE SCIENCE« on the national television. Finally, the importance of the P1-0055 program for Slovenia's development is in our contribution to the international reputation of Slovenia in science. This is demonstrated through published papers, invited lectures at conferences and universities around the world, formal and informal cooperation with researchers from abroad, engagement in editorial boards of international scientific journals, manuscripts reviewing and in many other ways.
Audiovisual sources (1)
no. Title (with video link) Event Source
1. Biophysics of Polymers, Membranes, Gels, Colloids and Cells    Research programme video presentation 
Most important scientific results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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