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Roman Jerala

National Institute of Chemistry, SI

Dr. Roman Jerala is head of the Department of Synthetic Biology and Immunology at the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is also a full professor at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical technology, University of Ljubljana, synthetic biology project director at the Centre of Excellence EN-FIST and EMBO member. His research areas of interest include synthetic biology, designed bionanostructures and molecular mechanism of innate immunity. In 2013, his group published an article in Nature Chemical Biology on designed coiled-coil protein origami (CCPO) cages using reprogrammed bacteria by synthesizing a protein that folds itself into a tetrahedron measuring just 5 nanometres along each edge, which can be used as container for delivering drugs on the nanoscale. That paves a path to designing and producing completely new protein shapes. This work was recently extended by a second generation of CCPOs that are able to self-assemble in vivo, published in the Nature Biotechnology. Dr. Jerala received numerous awards including Pregl award by the National institute of chemistry for outstanding scientific achievements, Zois award for outstanding scientific achievements (the highest national scientific award) and Medal for services by the President of the Republic of Slovenia. He is internationally best known as the leader of Slovenian teams that won the Grand prize at the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in 2010, 2008, and 2006 in addition to 5 Track winner awards.

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