The major goals of our research are to characterize the individual proteases (primarily from the cathepsin family) and their inhibitors (stefins, cystatins and related proteins) and to unravel the molecular mechanisms of processes leading to programmed cell death or regulating the immune response of the organism. In addition, our research is focused towards understanding the roles of proteases in various pathological processes, such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and different neurological disorders (Huntington disease, …).
An important area of research is also formation of amyloid fibers. For a better understanding of these processes a number of tools are needed, and therefore we are developing production of various antibodies and recombinant proteins (proteases and their inhibitors). We also participate in the development of activity-based probes for proteases suitable for work in cellular and in vivo models, and for testing pharmacologically-relevant compounds. In addition, we have a key role in establishing a center for proteomic research, which would cover the needs of whole Slovenia.
One of the important areas is also understanding of the 3-D structures of biological macromolecules and their complexes at the atomic level, thereby linking the sequencing information with the mechanism of molecule action. In this way, the research is focused in target identification and validation, which are key areas of research in the field of biomedicine in connection with biotechnology.