Eva Žerovnik


My backgrounds are physical and structural chemistry, biochemistry and neuroscience, thus, multidisciplinary research. My carreer of the principle investigator is devoted to increase knowledge in the complementary fields of protein folding and protein mis-folding diseases (proteinopathies). We have studied oligomers, lower and higher of stefin B and their role in the process of amyloidogenesis. We have mutated the 5 prolines and discovered their important roles, both,  in protein folding and oligomerization, which can block amyloid formation. Especially, I am interested in the biophysical properties of amyloid fibrils and prefibrillar oligomers, including their interaction with cellular membranes and their optical properties. Recent aim is to visualise an “amyloid pore” by using the case of the intracellular myloidogenic protein – stefin B (cystatins B). We also study effects of antioxidants on cystatins aggregation.

I collaborate with leading labs, such as Medical School, Notthingham, Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, Biomolecular NMR, Sheffield, all UK., Dept. Physics, Drexel University USA, Brain and Mind Institute, Lausanne, CH and IRCCS Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.

    • Research title: univ.dipl.chem., MSc biochemistry, PhD science – chemistry
    • Academic title: full professor of Biochemistry, elected Nov 2017
    • Job title: scientific adviser at the “Jožef Stefan” institute, elected 4th Sep 2018
    • Current: Institut Jožef Stefan, scientific adviser, elected 4th Sep 2018
    • From 2015 till July 2017: 10% at the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Approaches in Chemistry and Biology of Proteins (CipKeBiP).
    • From Jan 1989 till Oct 2018: Institut Jožef Stefan, higher research assistant
    • 1986 – 1989 University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Medical School, Dept. Mol. Biology, research associate
    • 1981 – 1986 University of Ljubljana, dept physical chemistry, young assistant

Biochemical Society U.K., American Chemical Society-ACS and several Slovenian societies: Biochemical, Chemical, Biophysical Society and Neuroscience Association – Sinapsa.   Member of the Board of Sinapsa from 2006 to 2007. From 2010 – 2018 member of ethical comitee of Sinapsa

EDITORIAL WORK, among others:
    • Amyloid. Žerovnik, Eva (editorial board member 2005-). Carnforth: Parthenon, 1994-. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis. ISSN 1350-6129.
    • Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience. Žerovnik, Eva (guest editor 2012-). Lausanne: Frontiers Research Foundation, 2007-. ISSN 1662-5153.

I have  supervised 8 post-graduate students for their PhD’s:  Manca Kenig, Sabina Rabzelj, Katja Škerget, Slavko Čeru, Mira Polajnar, Ajda Verčič-Taler at the University of Ljubljana and J.Stefan’s International postgraduate school (IPS), Ljubljana Slovenia, Aida Smajlović and Samra Hasanbasić from the University of Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, I am co-supervising a student of physics, Matjaž Žganec, who is finishing his PhD work on molecular dynamics simulations of stefins oligomers and Alma Jahić (finishing PhD) from the Uni. Tuzla. The former PhD students have all found employment, either at pharmaceutical industry or biotechnology laboratories; M.K. at University of Zurich and M.P. at Goethe University at Frankfurt a Main.


At J.Stefan’s International Postgraduate School (IPS) I teach two courses: “Stability, folding and aggregation of proteins” and “Mechanism and biological implications of protein aggregation”.  I also am appointed at Medical Faculty University of Ljubljana where I hold similar courses.

Lectures at foreign universities and summer schools (examples):

In vitro and cellular studies of a model amyloid protein : human stefin B : lecture presented at XIV School of Pure and Applied Biophysics on Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration, January 25-29, 2010, Venice, Italy. 2010.

Towards a general mechanism of amiloid-fibril formation : Case study of stefins: Presented at XV School of Pure and Applied Biophysics “Protein Stability and Pathways of Self-Assembly”,  January 24-28, 2011, Venice, Italy. 2011.

Stefin B case : structural and cellular studies of protein aggregation : putative new function : invited talk. Newcastle: Newcastle University, Campus for ageing & vitality, Oct. 27th,  2015.

Molecular bases of neurodegeneration : invited talk. Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh, Centre for Intergrative Physiology, Oct. 29th,  2015.

    • 1974 – 1978 BSc degree (diploma) in Chemistry, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry
    • 1979 – 1982 MSc Biochemistry, University of Ljubljana, Medical Faculty
    • 1982 – 1987 PhD science (Chemistry) University of Ljubljana, Dept. Physical Chemistry
    • 1986 – 1989 Postdoctoral study: “A General Role of Molten Globule in Protein Folding”, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, with prof. RH Pain, Medical School, Dept. Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • ARRS-MS_ERC_FS_JP-PP-2017 : 5 months grant to study at EPFL, prof. Hilal A Lashuel – as a host.
    • FEBS and TEMPUS 3 months fellowships in 1992 and 1994, respectively, to study NMR at the University of Sheffield, UK, with prof. Jon P. Waltho, Dept. Biomolecular NMR