Department of Biology
Type of project
Research Programmes/Infrastructural Centres
Type of project
01.01.2018 - 31.12.2023
ARRS FTE value
Project manager at BFZalar Polona
Microorganisms are the causative agents of infectious diseases nevertheless, they are central for our health and development. Not only do they provoke classical infection but they also play significant roles in chronic and autoimmune diseases and in the development of cancer. The Research program »Molecular biological research of microorganisms« (P1-0198), is carried out at the Dept. of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty. The pricipal investigator of the Research program is Prof. Darja Žgur Bertok and includes four researchers, one technician and one young researcher.
The research group investigates pathogenicity of Escherichia coli, including genotoxins that damage host DNA and are therefore involved in tumorigenesis, mechanisms of defense against genotoxins, novel bacterial virulence factors, expression of virulence factor genes, bacterial resistance against and tolerance of antibiotics as well as novel approaches in antimicrobial therapy. Studies are also investigating the gut microbiota, searching for "marker" microorganisms for dysbiosis and for species providing anti-inflammatory activity.
In recent years, the Research group has published a number of significant manuscripts namely, describing regulation of bacteriocin (natural bacterial antimicrobial agents) gene expression, (Kamenšek et. al., 2015), a novel approach to antimicrobial therapy based on conjugation and bacteriocins (Starčič Erjavec et al., 2015; Maslennikova et al., 2018, manuscript in press); elucidation of the "persister" phenomenon, bacteria that while they are antibiotic sensitive they are antibiotic tolerant (Podlesek et al., 2016), as well as bacterial virulence factors (Vadnov et al., 2017; Starčič Erjavec et al., 2017).
The Research group collaborates with industrial partners in the field of antimicrobial agents as well as in the field of gut microbiota within the framework of projects: »The creative path to konwledge«, financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports; Slovenia and the European Union.