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Research Group of Asst. Prof. Natalija PoloviŠ

Infectious diseases had repeatedly decimated the European population in the past; they had developed due to unsanitary living conditions and lack of adequate treatment (plague, the Black Death, cholera, Spanish fever, tuberculosis, anthrax). At the beginning of the third millennium, the same diseases are on the increase. Human illnesses associated with bacterial infections are still one of the leading causes of death. Due to an increased incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is anticipated that this trend will continue and intensify in the coming years.

The main goal of our research group is the identification and characterization of plant and mammalian proteins that possess bactericidal activity in order to develop agents for the treatment of bacteria that are multi-resistant to antibiotics. Identification of the innate immune response proteins and characterization of their interactions with pathogen recognition motifs present on many bacteria may shed new light on the innate defense mechanisms and represent a powerful alternative to conventional therapies. We are also engaged in investigation of cold stability (denaturation, aggregation) of these proteins in order to find optimal conditions for the storage, as well as in the identification and production of enzymes that could facilitate penetration of therapeutic components through the connective tissue.

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