Expert council

Gordana Vunjak NovakovičDr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, where she directs the Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, and holds appointments at the Department of Surgery and the College of Dental Medicine. She received her B.S., S.M. and Ph.D from the University of Belgrade (all in chemical engineering), and was a Fulbright fellow at MIT in 1986-87. Prior to joining Columbia, Gordana was with the University of Belgrade, MIT and Tufts University. She co-directs the NIH Tissue Engineering Resource Center. Gordana published 235 peer-reviewed articles, two books and 25 patents, and gave 150 invited lectures. She is a frequent advisor to governmental organizations on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, and the chair of her NIH study section. In 2002, she was elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2007 she gave the Director’ lecture at the NIH as the first woman engineer to receive this distinction. In 2008, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame "for developing biological substitutes to restore, maintain or improve tissue function".

Borut ŠtrukeljProfessor, Ph.D. Borut Štrukelj, M.Pharm, is a full-time professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana. He completed his Postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology at Wageningen in the Netherlands. He co-authored several patent applications worldwide, holds 3 patents in the field of transgenic plants, bacteriophage display and recombinant probiotics and is the author of more than 180 scientific articles.

He is a member of several global, European and Slovenian associations in pharmacy and molecular biology. In 2008 he received the Zois Award for scientific excellence, the 2009 Minařik medal and in 2010 the Fulbright Scholarship. He is currently active as a visiting professor at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA. Since 1996 he works as an expert in the European Pharmacopoeia (Strasbourg) in the group for pharmaceutical molecules, as an expert at the Agency for Medicinal Products EMEA (London) and as an expert on food safety at EFSA (Parma). He is a member of Strategic council for medicaments (Slovenia), editor of the Pharmaceutics Journal, a board member at the Pharmaceutics Council, Chairman of the Committee for the Development and Research at the University of Ljubljana. Participates in 7 EU framework programme and leads the ABIGENOL project (EU funding for development).


Miomir KneževičProfessor, Ph.D., Miomir Kneževič received in 1994 his doctorate at the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana. At the Institute of Applied Microbiology in Vienna, he specialized in biotechnology, specifically in the technology of animal cells, cell therapy and cell engineering. During his career he has worked at various institutions in Slovenia, Austria and Belgium. He co-founded several biotechnology companies. Currently he is a professor at the University of Ljubljana, and CEO and partner at Biobanka d.o.o. In addition, he works as assistant director for technology transfers at the National Institute of Biology.

He is also a member of the investment committee at the venture capital firm Prvi capital in Ljubljana, consultant in the Technology Park in Ljubljana, and committee member of scientific researchers in several biotechnology companies, as well as a member of the Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia, where they develop strategic documents regarding R&D in Slovenia.


Pieter FaberDr. Pieter Faber did his undergraduate work at Groningen University in the Netherlands and obtained his PhD in Human Genetics from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, also in the Netherlands. He worked as a post-doc in the USA at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston Massachusetts in the field of Neurogenetic diseases before moving to industry with a biotech start-up in Cleveland Ohio. The management experience obtained in this last position with relation to delivering quality work with fixed deadlines ultimately resulted in the Genomics Core director position at the Cleveland Clinic Health System in Cleveland Ohio.




Marko BitencM.Sc. in Biotechnology, Marko Bitenc is an experienced and active researcher who has professional experience from broad areas of genetics and genomics and is an expert in analytical techniques and diagnostic procedures. He follows actively new technologies, medical advances and their practical implementation.

Together with his research group, he won his first prize at the iGEM 2007 competition in health and medicine area. Marko Bitenc is the founder of GenePlanet and ideological leader of the Personal genetic analysis, for which he received a gold award for innovation from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia.




Iva VerbnikM.Sc. Iva Verbnik in 1993 graduated in Dietetics at the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana under supervision of professor Dražigost Pokorn. Her thesis was a survey on children's eating habits, and their response to new dishes. Her career continued in the private sector in the area of organized meals, where she was head of the quality and standardization department. In 2003 she received a master's degree in integrated management of quality systems. Her experience in teaching and further education, which she acquired in the field of pedagogical-anagogical skills, is put to good use in the field of adult education for more than 15 years. Since 2007, her professional focus is on education and consulting in the field of nutrition, quality of service delivery and implementation of standards in business processes (ISO and HACCP) and their optimization.



Dušan FlisarDušan Flisar, MD., has graduated from the Medical Faculty in Ljubljana in 1986. Since 1991 he has been employed at the Department of Neurology at the University Medical Centre in Maribor. He has nearly 20 years of clinical experience in neurology and is narrowly specialized in neurodegenerative diseases and the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s and other motorics disorders. He introduced modern methods of treatment and diagnosis of extrapyramidal patients.

He lectures at professional meetings home and abroad and regularly publishes in domestic and foreign scientific journals. He has co-authored several publications on intelligent systems for medical data database analysis. He popularized neurology and contributed to its success by writing several articles in popular science.



Ph.D. in Biotechnology, Pio D'Adamo, after a diploma in biotechnology, received a PhD in Applied Genetics at the University La Sapienza in Rome. He has extensive experience in genotyping, on which he has already started working in 2000 at the Institute TIGEM in Naples. Currently he is a researcher at the University of Trieste and the author of 39 scientific articles in major scientific journals.