Projects / Programmes source: ARRS


Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.06.00  Biotechnical sciences  Biotechnology   

Code Science Field
T490  Technological sciences  Biotechnology 

Code Science Field
2.09  Engineering and Technology  Industrial biotechnology 
phage therapy, quantification methods for viruses, quality control, development of antimicrobials
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  19485  PhD Tomaž Accetto  Animal production  Researcher  2013 - 2016  160 
2.  12667  PhD Miloš Barut  Chemistry  Researcher  2013 - 2014  206 
3.  23611  PhD Tanja Dreo  Biotechnology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  450 
4.  02204  PhD Karel Flisar  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2014 - 2016  71 
5.  29041  PhD Saša Haberl Meglič  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2013 - 2016  103 
6.  30700  PhD Rosana Hudej  Biotechnology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  25 
7.  33406  PhD Nikolaja Janež  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  66 
8.  35241  Hana Jug  Biotechnology  Researcher  2016 
9.  21577  PhD Petra Kramberger  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2014 - 2015  94 
10.  35145  Maja Leskovec  Biotechnology  Researcher  2016 
11.  16327  PhD Matjaž Peterka  Biotechnology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  215 
12.  12728  PhD Aleš Podgornik  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2013 - 2016  681 
13.  05229  PhD Maja Ravnikar  Biotechnology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  1,322 
14.  00779  PhD Aleš Štrancar  Chemical engineering  Principal Researcher  2013 - 2016  477 
15.  09864  PhD Magda Tušek Žnidarič  Biology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  397 
16.  27846  PhD Lidija Urbas  Pharmacy  Researcher  2013  49 
17.  36120  Eva Zaletel  Biotechnology  Technician  2014 - 2015  16 
18.  03683  PhD Mirjan Žorž  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2015  128 
Organisations (5)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,223 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,571 
3.  1538  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering  Ljubljana  1626965  26,871 
4.  1655  Sartorius BIA Separations L.t.d., Separations technology company  Ajdovščina  1319612  698 
5.  3030  Center of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation and process Control  Ajdovščina  3660460  895 
Antimicrobials are a essential to sustain human, animal and plant health and welfare. Infectious and zoonotic diseases have been sucessfully treated by antibiotics since their discovery. However, over several decades bacteria have become resistant to each new antibiotic and developed into a world wide health threat. Mortality due to resistant infections in Europe is high and exceeds 25 000 deaths per year and health care costs of nonfatal diseases account for 1,5bilion euros per year. New antibiotics and novel, sustainable antimicrobial strategies are needed. Phage therapy is one of the most attractive and verified approaches up to date. In order to get authorisation for new antimicrobial agent, regulatory requirements have to be fulfilled. These requests will apply to assure the identity, biological activity, purity and quality of bacteriophage-drug products when used for humans. Efficient monitoring system and methods for production and formulation would facilitate approvals by authorithies for new antimicrobials.   Main goal of the proposed project is development of new methods for detection, quantification and quality control of phages in phage based products.   New technologies will exploit physical, chemical and biologically properties of phages.   In the proposed project we will develop chromatographic method for fast and efficient monitoring of total number of phages. This parameter will be monitored also by newly developed microgravimetric method that exploits mechanical resonance of piezoelectric single-crystalline quartz to measure weight.  In addition a novel infectivity test will be developed on basis of detection of early response of bacteria to phage attack. All above mentioned methods will be implemented in production proces of phage based products. We will use phages of human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni and plant pathogen Pectobacterium cypripedii as model organisms. Bacteria of the genus Campylobacter are most frequent agents responsible for human enteric diseases in Europe and developed world in general. While efficacy of phages against Campylobacter was already confirmed on animals, no human trial was performed until today. Pectobacterium cypripedii causes brown spot on orchid plants and each year there has been severe economical losses due to this disease. Phages has already shown a potential for treatment of plant pathogens before, but not brown spot. The interdisciplinary project team will include researches with complementary knowledge and know-how in order to achieve project goal. Collaborators are coming from Laboratory for Bioanalyctis from Center of Excellence for Biosensors, Instrumentation and Process Control (Co BIK), Laboratory for Biocybernetics from Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Department for Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology, Biotechnical faculty, both from University of Ljubljana, National Institute of Biology, Department for Biotechnology and Sytems Biology (NIB) and international project partner Purdue university. Project co-investor is high tech company BIA Separations, producer of monolithic chromatographic columns optimized for purification of large biomolecules and viruses.
Significance for science
Because of increased antibiotic resistance of clinical and foodborne pathogens, new antibiotics and novel antibacterial strategies are in the research focus. Phage therapy is one of the alternative approaches. Although recognized in certain parts of the world, phage therapy is still not fully accepted in Europe, USA and rest of the developed world. Nevertheless, several clinical trials were already succesfully finished and some are in progress. At the same time increasing number of research papers, reviews and books focused on phage therapy, indicating an increasing appetite among the scientific community and industry for developing phage therapy. The succesfully developed methods to detect and quanitfy bacteriophages will support further development of bacteriophage products and corresponding production processes. Methods are novel and can replace time consuming conventional methods requiring significant work force input. At the same time project results reveal difficulties when dealing with biologics, including bacteriophages, and problems that arise as a consequence of chemical and biological complexity of the system.
Significance for the country
Antibiotic resistance is a global problem and search for new antibiotics and alternatives is becoming one of the research priorities, also important for Slovenia. Through this project program we gained results that enabled project partners to strenghten their scientific participation in tackling the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Project tighted existing cooperation between academia and industry and the cooperation project will serve as a base for preparation of additional proposal for international calls. Additionally, this project program enabled conducting several bachelor and master projects and thereby enhanced experience of young researchers. Project co-investor company broadened acitivties on a global market and thereby maintained of high added value jobs in the time of economic crisis.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
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