A molecular microbiologist with an immense interest in virology. I evolved a strong passion for RNA viruses, their transmission and their involvement in disease development. I am particularly fascinated by the mechanisms they employ to escape from our immune system, particularly via genome recombination or interferon resistance. Furthermore, I am intrigued by how patient diagnosis and treatment can be enhanced by recognising the full effects of the phenomena, primarily through personalised medicine.
DPhil in Systems Approaces to Biomedical Science, University of Oxford (2017 - present)
Bachelor of Science with Honours in Microbiology in the First Class, University of Nottingham (2014 - 2017)
Trained in the handling of pathogen up to ACDP group/BS level 2
International Baccalaureate Diploma, II. gimnazija Maribor (2012 - 2014)
High level: Mathematics, Physics, Slovene
Standard level: Chemistry, Philosophy, English
Final Year Research Project, University of Nottingham (2016/2017)
Entitled: Novel Polymerase Chain Reaction as an Effective Detection Method for Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) Shows That Stress Associated with Weaning Influences PERV Gene Expression in Piglets
The aims of my undergraduate research project were: to detect PERVs in the gastrointestinal tract of weaned piglets and to identify a possible correlation between the weaning status and the expression of the reverse transcriptase pol gene. PERV was detected using PCR assay targeting conserved pol gene sequence region. PERV-A and PERV-B subtypes were identified using PCR assays targeting envA and envB sequences. To find any correlation between the weaning status and the expression of pol gene, SYBR Green real-time PCR was adapted for a relative quantification of PERV pol DNA sequence. The data from this experiment support the idea that the expression of PERV increases when the immune system is stimulated by weaning. This study initiated research into the potential effect of stress associated with weaning on PERV gene expression, and established an approach suitable for a further investigation of alternative properties of pigs that stimulate PERV gene expression in the gastrointestinal tract.
BBSRC Research Experience Placement, University of Cambridge (summer 2016)
Comparative analysis of recombination in Norovirus
The research primarily involved in silico research; I used various bioinformatics software, such as Recombination Detection Program 4 (RDP4), to detect recombination events in different genotypic groups of Norovirus. Subsequently, I made phylogenies to determinate the evolution of their recombination events; the phylogenetic model that my lab constructed presents a powerful tool that can generate insights into the continuous evolution of Norovirus.
Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham (March 2016)
The molecular analysis of C. difficile promoters which aimed to create a bacterial mutant in a specific gene of C. difficile to improve its iron uptake. Mutants were genetically manipulated in E. coli host cells.
The Royal Society of Biology Top Student Award 2017 awarded for achieving the highest overall percentage mark in BSc (Honours) degree from the School of Biosciences that comprises at least 50% Biology in Part I and Part II.
Perkins Fowler Waites Prize awarded in 2017 for the highest mark in a final year research project in Microbiology or Food Microbiology.
Nottingham Advantage Award awarded in 2017 for completing three additional modules: “Part-Time Jobs, Vacation Jobs and Volunteering”, “Internships and Placement”, and “Societies, Sports and Student Run Services”.
Awarded a full competitive BBSRC stipend in 2016 for an 8-week long research experience placement at the University of Cambridge.
Awarded a full competitive academic scholarship in 2014 from the Slovenian educational fund to study abroad.
Associate member of the Royal Society of Biology (2017 - present)
Associate member of Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) (2016 - 2017)