13th Croatian Biological Congress

with international participation

Valamar Diamant Hotel
September 19 - 23, 2018

Plenary lectures

Igor Stagljar is a Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Donnelly Centre in the University of Toronto, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from ETH Zurich in Switzerland. His postdoctoral fellowship was at the University of Zurich where he studied RNA transcription and DNA repair. In addition, Igor was a visiting scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle with Stan Fields, the inventor of the yeast two-hybrid technology. Igor was Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich from 2002-2005, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto since 2005, and Professor since 2010. Amongst his most significant scientific achievements to date are the elucidation of functions of various membrane proteins involved in human health and disease. He is currently involved in major proteomics projects to map how integral membrane proteins interact to produce either healthy or diseased cells. To that end, his lab is using high-throughput interactive proteomics, genetic, and biochemical tools to understand how cell signaling and membrane transport pathways control cell behavior in normal and disease cells. Igor is the recipient of several national and international science awards. He is a member of the Editorial board of BioTechniques, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, BMC Biotechnology, Journal of Molecular Biology, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, and Molecular Systems Biology. Lastly, he is a co-founder of Dualsystems Biotech Inc, one of the world-leading companies in the field of interactive proteomics.

Dr. Zdravko Lorkovic is a staff scientist in group of Dr. Frederic Berger at Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, located in the Campus Vienna Biocenter in Austria. He is a plant biologist with strong background in RNA biology, chromatin and epigenetics. His current research addresses basic questions concerning genome organisation in a model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. By using genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and cell biology approaches, we are analysing histone variants, building blocks of the nucleosome. Our aims are to understand how histone variants and their associated modifications influence chromatin states and consequently transcription, chromosome segregation, DNA repair and recombination, chromatin remodelling and germline-specific DNA packaging and activation. Furthermore, we are studying chromatin remodelers, which are involved in establishment of specific chromatin landscapes.

Sanja Sviben, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany. She completed BSc and MSc in Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb in Croatia. Afterwards she joined Laboratory for Deposition Processes at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Croatia where she worked on coral biomineralization and precipitation of calcium carbonate. In 2013 she started her PhD under supervision of Dr. André Scheffel at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Germany where she studied biomineralization in coccolithophores using spectrum of methods in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, and physical chemistry. Dr. Sviben has been awarded with Jeff Schell Award of MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology and Otto Hahn Medal of Max Planck Society for her outstanding dissertation. Since 2017. Dr. Sviben is working at the Biomaterials Department of Prof. Dr. Peter Fratzl at the MPI of Colloids and Interfaces where she continues her research in the field of materials science in the living cell. Currently she is studying mechanisms of chitin fibre alignment in the arthropod cuticle. In her research, she uses different electron microscopy techniques with a focus on 3D imaging approach using focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy.

Prof. Silvija Markic is a full professor at the University of Education Ludwigsburg, Germany. Till March 2017 she worked as a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Bremen (Germany). She finished her teacher training program for grammar school teacher of chemistry and mathematics. She works in the field of chemistry teacher education and researches in the didactics of chemistry. Her research interests include science teachers` beliefs and pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogical scientific language knowledge, linguistic heterogeneity and cultural diversity in chemistry and science education, cooperative learning and alternative teaching methods.

Petra Pjevac, PhD, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology from the University of Zagreb in 2009. Thereafter she obtained her Master of Science (2011) and PhD (2014) at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, investigating the microbial ecology of sulfur oxidizing bacteria in various marine environments. Since 2015, Dr. Pjevac is a postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Microbial Ecology (DOME) at the University of Vienna. Her main research focus currently is the microbial ecology and physiology of nitrifying microorganisms and the microbiology of the nitrogen cycle in general.

Ana Prohaska, DPhil is a Research Associate at the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, and a member of Professor Eske Willerslev’s GeoGenetics Group. Her research interests lie at the interface of ecology, biogeography and evolution, and her work centres around elucidating the long-term dynamics of species and ecosystems in response to environmental change, predominately through the application of ancient genomics techniques. Ana has obtained a DPhil degree from the University of Oxford where she worked on the ecological responses of lowland tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia to past climatic changes using fossil pollen and lipid biomarkers from lacustrine sediments. Prior to this, she received a BSc in Ecology from the University of Zagreb in 2008 and a MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford in 2009. Ana’s current focus is a Leverhulme Trust-funded project SinPoll, which aims to develop a method for high-throughput whole-genome sequencing of single fossil pollen grains.

Paula Dobrinić, PhD is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Molecular Biology from the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, and received her doctorate from the same institution in 2016. As a part of her doctoral research she developed a molecular tool for targeted DNA methylation based on the CRISPR/Cas9 system, which can be used to study mechanisms of mammalian gene expression regulation. She is interested in understanding how chromatin based processes contribute to regulation of gene expression. Her current work in the group of Prof. Rob Klose at the University of Oxford is focused on investigating the role of Polycomb repressive complexes in gene regulation, and contribution of CpG islands in that process.

Tamara Basta-Le Berre is assistant professor at the University Paris-Sud and researcher at the Institute of Integrative Biology of the Cell in Orsay next to Paris, France. She received her doctorate in microbiology from Stuttgart University in Germany. Her postdoctoral fellowships were at Pasteur Institute in Paris and at Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau. She is interessted in evolution and functions of molecular machineires of Archaea, the third cellular form of life distinct from Bacteria and Eukaryotes. Since joining the Institute, she works on the biosynthesis of an universal tRNA modification, called t6A, which is essential for translation fidelity. Her most significant contribution to the field is the biochemical and structural caracterisation of the t6A biosythetic pathway in Archaea and Eukaryotes. She recently contributed to a study linking the mutations in the t6A synthetic genes with a severe genetic desease in humans. She currently studies the in vivo functions of t6A biosynthetic proteins in hyperthermophilic Archaea and the evolutionary history of DNA gyrase in Archaea.

Miroslav Plohl is a senior scientist in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, and head of the Laboratory for Heterochromatin Structure and Function. He graduated Biology at the Faculty of Science of the University of Zagreb. PhD thesis he accomplished at the Ruđer Bošković Institute. For postdoctoral specialization, he spent two years at the Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona (IBMB – CSIC), Spain, where on several later occasions he also worked as a visiting scientist. His long-time research interest is on genomics of non-coding repetitive DNA components. This topic gains more and more interest because of impact these DNA sequences have on genome architecture, evolution, and function. His work is mostly focused on tandemly repeated DNA sequences typical for heterochromatic regions of eukaryotic chromosomes, known as satellite DNAs. This research is done on beetle, root-knot nematode, and mollusk model organisms, because of different organizational patterns of repetitive sequences on chromosomes of these species. By using molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, he and his group are currently exploring repetitive DNAs in centromeric chromosomal regions of the mentioned invertebrate model organisms. In addition, M. Plohl has been involved in different evaluation, reviewing, and editorial activities. Among institutional responsibilities, he is currently president of the Scientific Council of Ruđer Bošković Institute. He has been engaged in teaching, and he is honorary Professor at University of J.J. Strossmayer in Osijek.

Zora Modrusan is a Senior Scientist in the department of Molecular Biology at Genentech. She joined the company in 2004 and during the past fourteen years has managed a core laboratory that provides a full suite of genomic technologies in support of the company’s effort towards new drug target discovery and development. These technologies include microarrays, Sanger sequencing, and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Recently, Zora has been developing single cell sequencing technologies that reveal cellular diversity of complex tissues and identify novel cell types. Currently she leads a focused effort on enabling single cell genomic support across Genentech’s research. Prior to Genentech, Zora worked for several years as a scientist at Incyte Genomics, a company that provided an integrated platform of genomic technologies designed to help understand the molecular basis of disease. Before Incyte Genomics, Zora worked at the start-up company ID Biomedical in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she managed a product development team working on gene-based diagnostics. Zora holds a Ph.D. in plant molecular genetics from the University of British Columbia. She obtained a M. Sc. in plant physiology while working in the electron microscopy lab at the Institute Rudjer Boskovic. Zora completed a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Zagreb, Croatia.