The 2010 Miroslav Zei Award for Exceptional Achievements in the Field of the Research Activities of the National Institute of Biology

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The 2010 Miroslav Zei Award for Exceptional Achievements in the Field of the Activities of the National Institute of Biology was presented to Associate Professor Dr Kristina Gruden and Professor Dr Gregor Anderluh.

Associate Professor Kristina Gruden’s work over the past five years has taken place at the National Institute of Biology. Her research work is linked to systematic biology. She uses innovative approaches to merge new molecular technologies, bioinformatics and biostatistics with the study of biological processes in potatoes, grapevines and industrial microorganisms. In the framework of a large-scale European project, she played an important role in developing molecular methods for determining genetic modification in organisms; among other things, her work on the project led to publication in a leading scientific journal, Nature and Biotechnology. Part of her basic research includes the study of the biochemical adaptations of the Colorado potato beetle to the defence mechanisms of potatoes. This study resulted in scientific publications and an international patent which a company in the US has already begun to use. Together with co-authors, over the past five years Kristina Gruden has presented her broad knowledge in 36 scientific articles published in important scientific journals. She also transfers her knowledge to students in different fields and phases of study at the University of Ljubljana as a lecturer and mentor.

The scientific work of Professor Gregor Anderluh extends into basic research of protein interactions with cell membranes. He studies how proteins from different organisms break down the constitution of lipid membranes, creating pores and thus becoming integrated in cell metabolism. One original contribution of Professor Anderluh and his co-workers was an explanation of the mechanisms through which the strong toxins of sea anemones bond with cell membranes. He also studies other similar, medically significant bacterial and human proteins. Over the past five years, Gregor Anderluh and his co-workers have published 35 scientific articles in important scientific journals. Of these, five were review articles. One review article, published in the prestigious journal Trends in Biochemical Science, describes the method of action of toxins on membranes. He also authored five chapters of books and was the co-editor of a scientific monograph. He has taught and conducted research at a number of scientific institutions outside Slovenia, including the University of Oxford.

Recipients of the 2010 Miroslav Zei Awards, from left to right: Professor Dr Kazimir Tarman (Honorary Member of the National Institute of Biology), Professor Dr Boris Sket (Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work), Associate Professor Dr Kristina Gruden (Miroslav Zei Award), Professor Dr Gregor Anderluh (Miroslav Zei Award) and Dr Guy Van Den Eede (Honorary Member of the National Institute of Biology) (Photo: Archive NIB)