Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Medicinal chemistry - drug design, synthesis and evaluation

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.09.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Pharmacy   
1.04.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry   

Code Science Field
B740  Biomedical sciences  Pharmacological sciences, pharmacognosy, pharmacy, toxicology 

Code Science Field
3.01  Medical and Health Sciences  Basic medicine 
medicinal chemistry, drug design, synthesis, antibacterials, Mur enzymes, gyrase B, topoizomerase IV, DC SIGN, InhA, FimH, immunoproteasome, NOD receptor, Toll-like receptor, amyloid beta, voltage-gated Na in K channels, cathepsin B, PXR receptor, apoptosis, endocrine disruptor
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (82)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  21456  PhD Marko Anderluh  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  370 
2.  52092  PhD Damjan Avsec  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  49 
3.  36454  PhD Maruša Bizjak  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2021  31 
4.  34350  PhD Aljoša Bolje  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2021  45 
5.  34508  PhD Boris Brus  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2016  73 
6.  19062  PhD Jožko Cesar  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2016  69 
7.  37459  PhD Andrej Emanuel Cotman  Chemistry  Researcher  2020 - 2021  57 
8.  19281  PhD Zdenko Časar  Chemistry  Researcher  2015 - 2021  166 
9.  54784  Jaka Dernovšek  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  29 
10.  50400  PhD Ana Dolšak  Pharmacy  Researcher  2017 - 2021  27 
11.  50490  Martina Durcik  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2017 - 2021  59 
12.  55890  Svit Ferjančič Benetik  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2021 
13.  31879  Petra Ferkov    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
14.  34841  Maja Frelih  Forestry, wood and paper technology  Technical associate  2019 - 2021  16 
15.  26512  PhD Rok Frlan  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  113 
16.  15706  PhD Tanja Gmeiner  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  147 
17.  32034  PhD Martina Gobec  Oncology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  177 
18.  15284  PhD Stanislav Gobec  Pharmacy  Head  2015 - 2021  837 
19.  50814  PhD Katarina Grabrijan  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2017 - 2021  10 
20.  35432  PhD Darja Gramec Skledar  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2019  36 
21.  32036  PhD Martina Hrast Rambaher  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  129 
22.  24400  PhD Janez Ilaš  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  246 
23.  26496  PhD Žiga Jakopin  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  195 
24.  28220  PhD Damjan Janeš  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2018  233 
25.  32587  PhD Marko Jukič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2019  171 
26.  18619  PhD Maša Kandušer  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021  160 
27.  21459  PhD Nataša Karas Kuželički  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  172 
28.  39201  PhD Maša Kenda  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2021  34 
29.  01463  PhD Danijel Kikelj  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  566 
30.  21692  Irena Klančnik Mavec    Technical associate  2016 - 2021 
31.  36438  PhD Damijan Knez  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  198 
32.  26495  PhD Nina Kočevar Glavač  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  237 
33.  55892  Anja Kodila  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2021 
34.  30815  PhD Meta Kokalj Ladan  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2018  33 
35.  33908  PhD Urban Košak  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  58 
36.  55572  PhD Alen Krajnc  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021  32 
37.  32130  PhD Boris Kramberger  Chemistry  Beginner researcher  2015  18 
38.  36423  PhD Eva Kranjc  Pharmacy  Researcher  2019 - 2021  30 
39.  37669  PhD Andraž Lamut  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2015 - 2019  14 
40.  34223  PhD Tijana Markovič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2018 - 2021  58 
41.  53584  PhD Anže Meden  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  41 
42.  12443  PhD Irena Mlinarič Raščan  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  532 
43.  32431  PhD Peter Molek  Pharmacy  Researcher  2018  52 
44.  36492  PhD Štefan Možina  Chemistry  Researcher  2020 - 2021  29 
45.  23419  PhD Janez Mravljak  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  201 
46.  17437  Marjeta Mulej    Technical associate  2015 - 2017 
47.  38165  PhD Sanja Nabergoj  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2015 - 2021  25 
48.  19061  PhD Aleš Obreza  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  331 
49.  33169  PhD Eva Ogorevc  Biotechnology  Beginner researcher  2017 - 2020  38 
50.  28861  PhD Stane Pajk  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021  189 
51.  37648  Katja Perc    Technical associate  2018 - 2021  11 
52.  19317  PhD Lucija Peterlin Mašič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  407 
53.  55894  Martina Piga  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2021  11 
54.  52376  PhD Matic Proj  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  65 
55.  55895  Edvin Purić  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2021 
56.  29603  PhD Matjaž Ravnikar  Pharmacy  Researcher  2020 - 2021  70 
57.  32180  PhD Barbara Rejc  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2017  11 
58.  34347  PhD Luka Rejc  Chemistry  Researcher  2015  48 
59.  37050  PhD Kaja Rožman  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2015 - 2018  18 
60.  39200  PhD Eva Shannon Schiffrer  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2016 - 2020 
61.  39202  PhD Žiga Skok  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2020  40 
62.  08519  PhD Marija Sollner Dolenc  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  658 
63.  30816  PhD Izidor Sosič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  251 
64.  25490  PhD Matej Sova  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  163 
65.  53583  PhD Maša Sterle  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  16 
66.  52378  Nika Strašek Benedik  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  26 
67.  28862  PhD Roman Šink  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015  35 
68.  29982  PhD Alenka Šmid  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2021  123 
69.  52094  Andrej Šterman  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  15 
70.  33335  PhD Eva Tavčar  Pharmacy  Researcher  2020 - 2021  79 
71.  35325  Martina Tekavec    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
72.  28334  PhD Tihomir Tomašić  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  374 
73.  52375  PhD Žan Toplak  Pharmacy  Researcher  2021  24 
74.  31492  PhD Uroš Trstenjak  Pharmacy  Beginner researcher  2015  18 
75.  34512  PhD Dunja Urbančič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  59 
76.  50503  PhD Matjaž Weiss  Pharmacy  Technical associate  2017 - 2021  33 
77.  54787  Veronika Weiss  Pharmacy  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021 
78.  34511  PhD Petra Zadravec  Pharmacy  Beginner researcher  2019 - 2020  26 
79.  17438  Damijana Zalar    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
80.  18633  PhD Anamarija Zega  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  186 
81.  28905  PhD Nace Zidar  Pharmacy  Researcher  2015 - 2021  219 
82.  52377  Taja Zore  Pharmacy  Technical associate  2018 - 2019  13 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0787  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy  Ljubljana  1626973  17,462 
The long-term goal of the research programme is discovery of new bioactive small molecules with a potential for development to drugs in important therapeutic areas through combined medicinal chemistry approaches. In the next period the research programme will focus on discovery and rational design of bioactive molecules exerting their action on validated drug targets, their synthesis and biological evaluation, aiming at discovery of new antimicrobial, anti-neurodegenerative, immunomodulatory and anticancer agents of high importance for public health due to increasing bacterial resistance and aging population. The research programme will address a variety of drug targets involved in transmembrane and intracellular signalling, i.e. bacterial and human enzymes, membrane, intracellular and nuclear receptors and ion channels. Up-to-date medicinal chemistry strategies, including biomimetic and natural products-inspired design, achieving selectivity and drug-like properties will be applied together with design of multiple ligands modulating two or more targets of interest. The major proposed research topics for the next research programme period include (i) targeting bacterial enzymes and human lectins for discovery of antibacterial agents (optimization of previously discovered MurA-F inhibitors, D-Ala-D-Ala ligase B inhibitors, aspartate ligase inhibitors, inhibitors of transpeptidase and transglycosylase domain of penicillin-binding proteins for their on-target activities, physico-chemical and ADMET properties, discovery of M. tuberculosis enoyl acyl carrier protein reductase (InhA) inhibitors, DNA gyrase B and topoisomerase IV ParE inhibitors, and discovery of antagonists of lectins DC-SIGN and FimH), (ii) targeting immunoprotesome, NOD1 and NOD2 and Toll-like receptors (NOD1, NOD2, TLR4, TLR7 and TLR8 agonists and antagonists) for discovery of immunomodulators, (iii) targeting voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels and beta amyloid aggregation for discovery of anti-neurodegenerative agents, (iv) tageting cathepsin B, proteasome and pregnane-X receptor for discovery of new anticancer agents, (v) toxicological aspects of drug discovery process including prediction of reactive metabolites formation, their determination and dentification of endocrine disruptor potential of compounds classes and (vi) study of plant secondary metabolites for drug discovery.
Significance for science
Importance of the proposed research programme for the development of science resides in (i) discovery of novel bioactive compounds with a potential for development to drugs in important therapeutic areas and in (ii) development of methods for their design, synthesis and mechanism of action studies at molecular level. The result of the research programme will be innovative new molecules acting as modulators of important validated drug targets in antibacterial, antineurodegenerative, immunomodulatory and anticancer therapeutic areas. New information on toxicological aspects of reactive metabolites and compounds with endocrine disruptor potential will be obtained. New knowledge of high scientific value will be generated which will be directly applicable in preclinical drug discovery process in the innovative pharmaceutical industry. Discovery of novel antibacterial leads addressing so far unexploited drug targets is a great scientific challenge due to a threatening bacterial resistance to currently used antibacterial drugs. Finding molecular attributes important for successful entry of our potent inhibitors of peptidoglycan biosynthesis in bacterial cell is of general scientific interest and important for promoting them towards in vivo studies. With innovative glycomimetic approach we plan some scientifically highly relevant pioneer steps in the discovery of DC-SIGN and FimH inhibitors for antimicrobial therapy. Due to spread of multi-drug resistant mycobacteria the problem of tuberculosis pandemics is increasing and making the development of new antitubercular drugs targeting new mechanisms, such as discovery of new InhA inhibitors addressed in this proposal, of high scientific relevance. Scientific interest in discovery of dual gyrase B/topoisomerase IV ParE dual inhibitors is increasing due to expectation that this approach might successfully combat the development of bacterial resistance. Revival of muramyl dipeptide based discovery of NOD1 and NOD2 agonists and antagonists as new immunomodulators attracts high scientific interest which has been very recently highlighted in our Journal of Medicinal Chemistry perspectives paper. Selective targeting of subtypes of Toll-like receptors and immunoproteasome are scientifically relevant approaches towards discovery of new immunomodulating agents. Discovery of modulators of a chemokine receptor CXCR3 is scientifically important due to its involvement in inflammation, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Our plan for discovery of multitarget anti-neurodegenative agents inhibiting acetylcholine esterase, butyrylcholine esterase, cathepsin B, amyloid beta aggregation and acting as metal-ion chelators represent original, innovative and so far unexploited approach to preclinical development of new drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Selective voltage gated sodium and potassium ion channel modulators addressed in the present research programme are of high scientific relevance for discovery of drugs to threat neurodegenerative diseases, chronic pain, epilepsy, arrhythmias, and spasticity. Discovery of new small molecule cathepsin B inhibitors has a scientific importance for anticancer drug discovery due to involvement of cathepsin B in many processes that significantly contribute to cancer progression. Proteasome as a target has been widely evaluated and with the discovery of bortezomib for multiple myeloma therapy, its drugability has been confirmed. However, elucidation of the mechanism of selective cytotoxicity with accompanying search for novel and improved inhibitors of the serine protease activity of the proteasome remains a relevant scientific goal. The overexpression of pregnane X receptor (PXR) in various cancer cells justifies scientific interest in PXR as a drug target for countering multidrug resistance in anticancer treatments. Medicinal chemistry approaches to targeting cancer stem cells attract great scientific inte
Significance for the country
Discovery of novel innovative drugs and introducing them to the market in cooperation with strategic partners is a way to assure a sustained growth to Slovenian pharmaceutical industry which is currently one of major players in the Slovenian economy. The current generic nature of the Slovenian pharmaceutical industry does not preclude its evolution into research-oriented pharmaceutical industry and education of creative and competent scientists in research programme such as this one will importantly contribute to this important socio-economic task.   The proposed research programme will generate new and master the existing knowledge both of which are of paramount importance for sustained development of pharmaceutical industry and drug – oriented research in Slovenia. Although the major part of results of the completed and proposed research programmes can be regarded as precompetitive research results which provide valuable new knowledge on therapeutic modulation of selected drug targets involved in different pathological processes, important for development of new drugs in innovative pharmaceutical industry, some results, protected by awarded patents, have a potential of their direct application in new drug development in pharmaceutical industry on a competitive level through licensing. Novel bioactive compounds with a high potential for development to lead compounds and drugs resulting from the proposed research programme can be a good starting point for development of innovative medicines in cooperation of the Slovenian and international pharmaceutical industry. The results related to development of alternative synthetic procedures, protected by several patent applications, find their direct application in Slovenian generic pharmaceutical industry. Several awarded national patents provide a basis for commercialization of some products of plant origin by a Slovenian private company. Some results of the research programme have reached a level of technological maturity which will enable founding of a spin-off company. Information gained on the occurrence and harmful effects of some chemicals on human health will be a very important contribution to the preparation of guidelines, directives and regulations for the harmonized assessment and risk management at national and European level, which will significantly contribute to the protection of public health. Young scientists educated in the proposed research programme will gain competences for autonomous creative work in pharmaceutical industry, where they will create novel research focuses. They will be also perfectly trained for research work at universities, other research institutes and governmental agencies. Twenty-four successfully completed doctorates mentored by the research programme team members prove this concept as one of major socio-economic achievements of the research programme in the past and are a guarantee for prosperity in the future. Fostering scientific excellence, which is one of major goals of the proposed research programme, will contribute to affirmation of Slovenian science through publications in leading scientific journals and participation at most important international scientific conferences worldwide. A broad network of international collaborations which are an important attribute of the proposed research programme is a good way for promotion of Slovenian science and establishing strategic alliances for the benefit of Slovenian and global science. All these activities will contribute to creation and preservation of the country's national identity in Europe and in the world.   Dissemination of results of the research programme to students and general population through media as one of priority outreach activities of the research programme team will contribute to popularization of science among young people and in the society.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, interim report
Views history