Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Ekotoksiologija, toksikološka genomika in karcinogeneza (Slovene)

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.08.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Control and care of the environment   
1.03.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biology   
1.05.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Biochemistry and molecular biology   
3.03.00  Medical sciences  Neurobiology   

Code Science Field
1.06  Natural Sciences  Biological sciences 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (28)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  31249  PhD Ana Bizjak Torkar  Biotechnology  Researcher  2013  16 
2.  36319  PhD Barbara Breznik  Biology  Junior researcher  2013 - 2014  178 
3.  02755  PhD Mihael Bricelj  Biology  Researcher  2009 - 2012  226 
4.  29946  PhD Anja Bubik  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2009 - 2012  92 
5.  28165  PhD Maria Beatriz Duran Alonso  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2009  43 
6.  22616  PhD Tina Eleršek  Biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  264 
7.  09892  PhD Metka Filipič  Biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  587 
8.  36321  PhD Klara Hercog  Biology  Junior researcher  2013 - 2014  35 
9.  25524  PhD Irena Hreljac  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2009  48 
10.  25525  PhD Saša Kenig  Metabolic and hormonal disorders  Junior researcher  2009  143 
11.  29297  PhD Katja Kološa  Biology  Technical associate  2009 - 2014  42 
12.  07744  PhD Gorazd Kosi  Biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  359 
13.  07802  PhD Tamara Lah Turnšek  Biology  Head  2009 - 2014  1,023 
14.  21397  PhD Helena Motaln  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  208 
15.  28330  PhD Jana Nunić  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2009 - 2012  56 
16.  30855  PhD Marko Pezdirc  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2010 - 2013  15 
17.  32098  PhD Neža Podergajs  Pharmacy  Researcher  2009 - 2014  21 
18.  27506  PhD Anja Pucer  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2009  30 
19.  20345  PhD Uroš Rajčević  Oncology  Researcher  2010 - 2011  118 
20.  07736  PhD Bojan Sedmak  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  232 
21.  18348  Karmen Stanič    Technical associate  2009 - 2014  54 
22.  32094  PhD Alja Štern  Control and care of the environment  Junior researcher  2009 - 2013  81 
23.  37411  PhD Jana Tomc  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2014  25 
24.  32811  PhD Urška Verbovšek  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2010 - 2014  30 
25.  36629  PhD Mateja Vidic  Biology  Junior researcher  2014  12 
26.  32060  PhD Miloš Vittori  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2014  143 
27.  10974  PhD Irena Zajc  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  134 
28.  20767  PhD Bojana Žegura  Biology  Researcher  2009 - 2014  353 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,468 
Significance for science
The speed of global climate change is becoming a painful reality, effecting also aquatic ecosystems, as the adaptation of individual species varies. The most efficient adaptation is achieved via selection, where organisms with high reproduction rates are privileged. As the result, we can expect decline in biodiversity. This affects the self-renewal ability of ecosystems, having a log term reciprocal effects on the global climate. There are many indicators that global changes could be the cause of higher toxicity of harmful cyanobacterial blooms in eutrophic surface waters. Basic research in the bloom dynamics, related to environmental changes’ indicators, which is resulting from our improved original measurements design, might revolutionise the field. This concept is the key scientific premise of this Programme, which also relates to anthropogenic pollution. Creative scientific solutions and innovative approaches in their application are the only tool by which we can contribute to the prevention of the effects from emerging environmental pollutants. The toxicogenomic research, evidenced in a good number of publications during the Progamme period, provided the missing data, new knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of the effects of individual compounds and complex mixtures of environmental pollutants and new data analysis protocols for predicting their long term potential and delayed effects on life forms upon the exposure to their low doses. The application of the proposed combination of traditional toxicological tests with the latest “omics” technologies and bioinformatics enables identification of molecular biomarkers of the mechanisms of action that are in line with the biological complexity of the underlying processes. In the field of experimental as well as science based regulatory toxicology this is important, as there is an urgent need to develop new strategies and methods to screen and evaluate large numbers of chemicals for potential adverse effects. The resulting information which we were and we are continuing to gather enables prioritization of most efficient entities and endpoints to define the risk to health. Carcinogenesis, which results from the imbalances described above, has moved the focus into understanding of cellular origin of cancer, where our research on the dual role of - cancer and normal - stem cells, present in the tumour, is increasingly relevant. We have investigated these cells and their interactions, mostly from the aspect of their biomarkers, possibly also therapy targets, urgently needed in oncology. These are now tested in an alternative fish models hat we have developed in this Programme. Thus we will more efficiently translate their application to clinical trials. Specific scientific challenge is to find new principles related to the normal stem cells as therapeutics, as well as cancers stem cells, as (their) therapy targets. Here, we started to apply new methodology, developing the biosensors, based on oligonucleotide aptamers. These seems to be overcoming the problems of antibodies application in clinical oncology.
Significance for the country
The Programme has been addressing highly relevant issues of Slovenia societal problems, e.g. environment and health, as increasing environmental pollution is increasing the incidence of diseases such as cancer, both issues being also highlighted in EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation strategy. For example, we need waters with "good ecological status" in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive. Primary producers e.g. cyanobacteria and algae, the subjects of our research are indicators of water quality and key elements for its biological assessment. Frequent blooms of cyanobacteria clearly indicate a disturbed dynamics of ecological balance. In toxicology, complex systems biology approaches is leading to assessment of health risks of exposure to multiple toxic substances. The proposed studies on naturally and anthropogenically induced pollution also aim to increase the awareness of public and policy makers, associated with environment and health risks regulations, contributing to expand national guidelines and directives for coordinated risk assessment. These are very important also for prevention of cancer, where better understanding of cancer initiation at the cellular and molecular level should result in novel relevant biomarkers. In predictive medicine and clinical oncology, a plethora of novel biomarkers, revealed in our research is upon validations offering a more personalised patients’ treatment. The validation of biomarkers in animals is thus crucial translation step, where the trends move to use of alternative animal models to the costly higher organisms’ trials. The developed zebra fish model in this Programme enables high throughput at lower cost both in toxicology and the preclinical evaluation of biomarkers as novel therapy targets. The latter not only contributes to improve general health, but also lowers the cost of ”unnecessary” therapies, improving health system economy. In EU as well is Slovenia, economic challenges are approached by the efforts to enhance transition of knowledge from research to production. This Programme is offering ecotechnologies, such as new robotised vessel for cyanobacteria blooms control. Based on our research and links to industry, we are also proposing novel approaches in algal biotechnology products. Translating cancer research into clinics, as planned here, is associated with new opportunities for biomedical and pharmaceutical industry in Slovenia and thus contribution to economic growth. Further, we already collaborate with the Centre of Excellence COBIC in designing aptamers’ biomarkers and products for selecting cells and small molecules to be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Cellular models for testing, and the stem cell research offer numerous possibilities for application and collaboration with regenerative medicine related companies. The Programme also comprises the dissemination of knowledge to students, and researchers’ training, an important investment for economical development of the country.
Audiovisual sources (2)
no. Title (with video link) Event Source
1. Ekotoksiologija, toksikološka genomika in karcinogeneza (Slovene)  Promotional video of research programme on Videolectures  Research programme video presentation 
2. Analysis and geometry  Promotional video of research programme on Videolectures  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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