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University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Polje 42, 6310 Izola
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Research Projects

   National Research Projects

  • J3-8209 Bilirubin as a protective factor against the development of chronic degenerative diseases: serum biomarker and pharmacological modulation
    Duration of the project:
    1. 5. 2017 – 30. 4. 2020
    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Lovro Žiberna, PhD
    Project coordinator at UP FHS:

    Ana Petelin, PhD

    • University of Nova Gorica
    • University of Ljubljana Faculty of Pharmacy

    ​Link: Sicris



    Bilirubin is present in various chemical forms in the blood, namely, conjugated with glucuronic acid (direct bilirubin), unconjugated bound to serum albumin (indirect bilirubin) and unconjugated-unbound (free bilirubin). The bioactive form is the free bilirubin, which is not measured routinely in the clinical setting, but has been recently identified to be around 10 nM in serum. Importantly, nanomolar concentrations of bilirubin can protect cells from the 10,000-fold molar excess of oxidants when both substances are added exogenously to cell culture. This remarkable effect has been explained that bilirubin acting as antioxidant, is itself oxidized to biliverdin, and then recycled by biliverdin reductase back to bilirubin. All in all, bilirubin is an endogenous antioxidant with anti‑inflammatory and anti-thrombotic activity, and is inversely correlated with disease risk of the cardiovascular system, such as ischemic heart disease, hypertension, diabetes type II, metabolic syndrome, obesity, among others. Importantly, some positive lifestyle modifications, e.g. weight loss or cessation of smoking, lead to higher levels of serum bilirubin. We hypothesise that bilirubin has the potential to be used as a biomarker for cardiovascular pre‑disease states and that serum bilirubin levels can be modulated.

    Modulation of serum bilirubin values is possible by either i) lifestyle modifications (reducing consumption of bilirubin due to decreased oxidative stress and decreased inflammation) or ii) pharmacological interventions (increasing serum bilirubin levels by increasing synthesis, decreasing metabolism and elimination, or by replacing it from albumin) , e.g. biliverdin reductase (BVR) induction, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) induction, UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT1A1) inhibition, organic anion transporters (OATP) and bilitranslocase (BTL) inhibition, and on the level of interaction with bilirubin-albumin complex in blood serum.

    »The authors acknowledge the project J3-8209 Bilirubin kot zaščitni dejavnik pred razvojem kroničnih degenerativnih bolezni: serumski biomarker in možnosti farmakološke modulacije is finacially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.«


    The project "Upgrading the web portal "School pot (Šolski lonec)" in support of the implementation of the guidelines for healthy eating"


    Duration of the project:

    1. 1. 2017 do 30. 11. 2019 


    Lead partner:

    National Institute of Public Health


    Project Coordinator at UP FVZ:

    asist. Marjana Benigar Manias


    Participating at UP FVZ:

    Assist. Prof.Tamara Poklar Vatovec, PhD, Assist. Prof. Zala Jenko Pražnikar, PhD


    Project Partner:

    Jožef Stefan Institute



    The school pot is the central national support portal implementing the Guidelines for Healthy Eating in Educational Institutions.

    The main purpose of the program is to upgrade the internet portal www.solskilonec.si, which was also supported by the Ministry of Health in 2013 and 2014.

    In the upgrade, we will focus on the upgrade of the portal:

    • improving the nutrition of children and adolescents;
    • raising awareness among different population groups about healthy eating habits;
    • disseminating good practices and approaches to nutrition and nutrition education in schools and kindergartens;
    • upgrading information support for more effective implementation of the Healthy Eating Guidelines in Educational Institutions; and
    • ensuring accessibility to professionals and verified information on the healthy diet of the child and adolescent.

    The 95% project is co-financed by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia.

  • STAR-VITAL "Joint measures for the vitality of older workers"

    Project STAR-VITAL ""Joint measures for the vitality of older workers""


    Duration of the project:

    1. 9. 2017 - 30. 9. 2022


    Lead Partner:

    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences

    Project Partners:

    • UP Faculty of Management
    • Faculty of Health Sciences Angela Boškin Jesenice
    • National Institute of Public Health
    • Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia

    Participating at UP FVZ:

    • Assoc. Prof. Klemen Širok, project leader
    • Assoc. Prof. Nejc Šarabon
    • Assist. Prof. Matej Voglar
    • Assist. Prof. Mojca Stubelj

    Purpose of the project:

    Within the framework of the project, in the field of active and healthy aging of employees, especially those older than 45 years, we will develop and implement a comprehensive business model for dealing with older workers for the employers - management of the elderly (for the cohesion region of Western Slovenia).


    The project is partly funded by the European Union, from the European Social Fund (ESF - 80%, MDDSZ - 20%).

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  • Interdisciplinary approach in dealing with over-fed children and adolescents

    Project »Interdisciplinary approach in dealing with over-fed children and adolescents«


    Duration of the project:

    1. 1. 2017 do 31.12.2019


    Lead Partner:

    Red Cross of Slovenia - Youth Health Resort and Resort RKS Debeli Rtič


    Project Coordinator at UP FVZ:

    Assist. Prof. Tamara Poklar Vatovec, PhD



    Project partner:

    UP Faculty of Health Sciences



    The program "Interdisciplinary approach in dealing with over-fed children and adolescents" is the result of a three-year work of a team of experts in the field of pediatrics, dietetics, motor activity and psychological treatment. The objectives of the program are: improving the nutrition of children and adolescents; to strengthen the health of socially and economically disadvantaged people by offering health-beneficial foods within the framework of the treatment program; increase the proportion of an informed population that is healthy and balanced in nutrition; to improve the professional competence of healthcare professionals in the field of monitoring the nutrition of children and adolescents; increase the proportion of physically active selected population of overweight children and adolescents; offer a program to promote physical activity.


    The 95% project is co-financed by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia.


  • InoTeZ – Innovative with technology to knowledge

    The InoTeZ project - Innovative with technology to knowledge was selected within the framework of the call "Integration of the Use of Information and Communication Technology in the Higher Education Pedagogical Process", which was announced by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia. The call was carried out in the framework of the "Operational Program for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy for the period 2014-2020".

    The Operational Program promotes flexible forms of learning and supports the quality career orientation of learners at all levels of the education system (Objective: 10.1.3). The InoTeZ project is mainly financed from the European Social Fund (80%), while the difference is provided by Slovenia. Similar projects are also carried out at the University of Ljubljana and the University of Maribor.

    The activities of the InoTeZ project were launched by University of Primorska in May 2017 and will be completed in September 2020. At that time, the project group, which includes representatives of all pedagogical members of UP, will create conditions that will enable teachers and students to use information and communication technologies efficiently ( ICT) in the pedagogical process. The main objectives of the project are to establish a unified technical and pedagogical-didactic support, which will be available to higher education teachers, colleagues and students even after the completion of the project. By integrating ICT into the pedagogical process, a modern and student work will be put in place, which will prepare for the quality assurance of pedagogical work.
    In the InoTeZ project, we follow the guidelines of the European Commission after the opening of education in 2013. Within the framework of the InoTeZ project, a number of freely available materials are created for students of the UP and also for the general public. All materials will be available at the Open UP portal (https://odprtaup.upr.si/) during the implementation, and especially after the project is completed. Through the annual Lastovka UP conference, which will take place during the Open Learning Week (https://www.openeducationweek.org/), we will exchange good practice and spread it to other teachers and other interested public.


    Coordinator of the project: dr. Viktorija Florjančič (UP Faculty of Management)

    Members of the project team: dr. Boštjan Žvanut and dr. Patrik Pucer (UP Faculty of Health Sciences), mag. Šarolta Godnič Vičič (UP Faculty of Tourism Studies - Turistica), dr. Branko Kavšek (UP Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technology), dr. Jernej Vičič (UP Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technology, IAM), dr. Dejan Hozjan (UP Pedagogical Faculty) and dr. Stanko Pelc (UP Faculty of Humanities, UP Pedagogical Faculty).

    Project duration: 2017-2020

    The project is funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the European Social Fund of the European Union.




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  • Bilateral project SLO-SRB: Effects of accelerated growth in children and of ageing in elderly on kinesthetic sense - the importance for functional movement
    Project duration:
    1.1.2018 - 31.12.2019
    Project leader at  UP FVZ:
    Project Partner:
    University of Belgrade


    In the proposed project we will use cross-sectional and interventional studies aimed at comparing the kinesthetic function between different age groups and children whose growth is accelerated compared to those who grow more coherently.


    »Bilateral project SLO-SRB titled "Effects of accelerated growth in children and of ageing in elderly on kinesthetic sense - the importance for functional movement "co-financed by the Slovenian Research Agency of the Republic of Slovenia from the state budget."

  • Bilateral project SLO-SRB: New dietary food product for physically active people
    Project duration:
    1.1.2018 - 31.12.2019
    Project leader at  UP FVZ:
    Project Partner:
    Institute of Food Technology in Novi Sad


    EXPECTED RESULTS- creation of the new dietetic food products with the proven positive effect on health status of people enrolled in increased physical activity and athletes. Expected key results are: 1. Optimized production process of dietetic food products based on food bars enriched with sport supplements. 2. Sensory acceptance of new products produced in the pilot plant. 3. Label making of the new product followed by the results on quality, health safety, functionality and shelf-life testing. 4. Product acceptance evaluated by the consumers. 5. Education of consumers about functional food, in particular people engaged in increased physical activity about the needs and proper consumption of dietetic food products intended for athletes. 6. Developed technological procedure based on the pilot plant production. 7. Positive effects of the new product demonstrated on asymptomatic adults. 8. Raised public’s awareness of the benefits of the new product by the dissemination of the results. 9. Established collaboration between Serbian and Slovenian partners for joint research and for novel opportunities to obtain national, European and international research projects. 10. Appointment of a partner country scientist in the Ph.D. committees.


    »Bilateral project SLO-SRB titled "New dietary food product for physically active people" is co-financed by the Slovenian Research Agency of the Republic of Slovenia from the state budget."

  • Bilateral project SLO-USA: Motor control study of selected work tasks with the aim to develop ergonomic and kinesiological measures in case of low back pain
    Project duration:
    1.1.2018 - 31.12.2019
    Project leader at  UP FVZ:
    Project Partner:
    The Pennsylvania State University


    Low back pain (LBP) is the most common musculoskeletal problem. In 84% of the general population, at least one episode occurs in a lifetime. This project aims to develop methodology for identifying muscle synergies in movement tasks such as jumping, lifting heavy weights and pushing. The subsequent studies will be done on three groups of subjects; (i) healthy individuals which are not occupationally using above mentioned movement tasks, (ii) healthy subjects, that use above mentioned movement tasks during their occupational activities and (iii) subjects suffering from chronic LBP. The first goal is to develop the methodology to analyse physiologic (electromyography) and biomechanical parameters (kinematics, posture and ground reaction force) with the primary movement characteristics (trajectory, speed, acceleration of the object). Secondly, we would like to compare muscle synergisms and their effects on the primary movement characteristic, between the three groups. From the first two studies, we will be able to better understand loading and unloading effects of different movement strategies. And finally, we would like to study the effectiveness of different kinesiological and ergonomic interventions for learning more appropriate movement strategies in groups that are at higher risk of developing LBP and those that already suffer from chronic LBP. The presented project will be done in collaboration with prof. Mark Latash and his research group from Penn State University, United States of America.


    »Bilateral project SLO-SRB titled "Effects of accelerated growth in children and of ageing in elderly on kinesthetic sense - the importance for functional movement "co-financed by the Slovenian Research Agency of the Republic of Slovenia from the state budget."

  • L5-1845 Body asymmetries as a risk factor in musculoskeletal injury development: studying etiological mechanisms and designing corrective interventions for primary and tertiary preventive care
    Duration of the project:
    1. 7. 2019 – 30.6.2022
    Principal investigator / researcher:
    prof. Nejc Šarabon, PhD
    Lead partner:

    University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences

    • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Sports
    • Jožef Stefan Institute
    • S2P, Science to Practice, Ltd.
    Co-financer of the project:
    • S2P, Science to Practice, Ltd.
    • Iskra Medical


    The project will address body (a)symmetries. These have been investigated before, yet several questions remain unanswered:
    - which sports contribute to the asymmetry development due to their competitive rules, movement structure and prevailing training methods?
    - How are the different types of asymmetries related – local:global and flexibility:strength:power:stability?
    - What are the effective interventions to eliminate the asymmetries in order to allow safe participation in sport on different levels?

    These questions will be addresses by the studies within the proposed project.
    Injuries have a detrimental effect both on an individual level, as athlete may be required to abstain from sport participation for significant amount of time, and on the level of clubs,
    sport associations and society, as injuries are often expensive to treat. Researchers within this project wish to
    A) contribute to the much needed basic knowledge on the etiology of asymmetries and associations between (a)symmetries and sports injuries,
    B) further explore different measures for eliminating asymmetries and treating sports injuries.
    The first major work package of the project includes the analysis of sport and movement
    patterns in sports, particularly of the way in which those contribute to the development of
    asymmetries and consequently increase injury risk. In the second part, we will recruit a pool
    of athletes from different sport disciplines and carry out several test on them to seek for
    potential (a)symmetries. Then, we will retrospectively and prospectively examine the
    associations between the recognized asymmetries and occurrence of injuries. The test
    battery will include several aspects of physical ability and function (strength, power, balance,
    flexibility and kinematics of cyclic and acyclic movement patterns). The last major work
    package includes two intervention studies. With those, we will:
    - examine the effect of two exercise interventions (locally oriented and globally oriented) on
    eliminating the present asymmetries
    - explore the effects of exercise and functional magnetic stimulation on treating the aforementioned three injuries and eliminating the accompanying asymmetries.

    To sum up, the results of our studies will provide information on associations of
    (a)symmetries and injury risk, and hopefully provide evidence for effective interventions to address asymmetries and common injuries.

    The project consortium is in possession of broad spectrum of high-quality measuring
    equipment and has several years of experience on working with it, which will enable as to
    carry out a holistic examination of participants and their (a)symmetries.
    The knowledge discovered within the project will benefit athletes, clubs and associations,
    and for general populations as it will help them dealing with sports injuries and common
    pain syndromes. Moreover, it will be also applicable to non-professional athletes and
    general population. Results from the first phase of the projects will add an important
    contribution to the knowledge on associations between different types of (a)symmetries
    and sports injuries, and will represent and important basis for following applicative trials
    within the project. During the course of the project, we expect that several measuring
    protocols will be upgraded, enabling the researchers to conduct even more quality studies,
    while partners/beneficiaries from economic sector will receive valuable feedback regarding
    their devices/products and procedures, important for further optimization.

    »The authors acknowledge the project L5-1845 Body asymmetries as a risk factor in musculoskeletal injury development: studying etiological mechanisms and designing corrective interventions for primary and tertiary preventive care was finacially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.«

  • J3-4259 Preparation and validation of therapeutic plasmids without selection gene for antibiotic resistance for cancer gene therapy using inducible and tissue-specific promoters
    Duration of the project:
    1.7.2011 – 30.6.2014

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Associate Prof. Maja Čemažar, PhD

    Collaborating parties / partners:
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Institute of Oncology Ljubljana
    • National Institute of Biology Ljubljana
    • University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

    Gene therapy is becoming increasingly more important in cancer therapy. In recent years, non-viral approaches for transfection have become very attractive. One of the goals of researchers dealing with gene therapy or DNA vaccination is to develop safe and efficient systems for gene transfer into the target cells. Namely, this topic is still one the major hurdles in the progress of different approaches in gene therapy and is crucial factor for success of the therapy. Other factors that should be considered for development of gene therapy are the choice of appropriate therapeutic gene, regulation of its expression and administration route. In the proposed project, two of these factors will be addresses for the use in cancer gene therapy: safety of plasmid DNA by preparation of plasmid DNA without marker for antibiotic resistance and regulation of therapeutic gene expression by linking the therapeutic gene to cellular promoters to achieve either stress induced (p21 and radiation) or physiological regulation (tissues specific promoters for endothelial and muscle cells and fibroblsats) of expression.  In addition, possible horizontal gene transfer between recombinant plasmid DNA or transgenic bacteria and commensal naturally occuring bacteria will be evaluated.
    Therefore, our hypothesis is that prepared plasmids encoding therapeutic genes under the control of tissue specific and inducible promoters without gene for antibiotic resistance are safe vectors for gene therapy with also regulated expression.
    Methods. Plasmids encoding reporter or therapeutic genes under the control of tissue specific or inducible promoters will be prepared by standard molecular biology techniques and according to the instructions of the producer of ORT® plasmid in order to prepare plasmids without gene for antibiotic resistance. Appropriate bacterial strains will be transformed with the plasmids to produce larger quantities of endotoxin free plasmid to be used in further experiments. The correctness of plasmids will be evaluated by gel electrophoresis and sequencing.
    To evaluate horizontal gene transfer, PCR assays and other standard laboratory procedures used for studying horizontal gene transfer as well as standard laboratory procedures used for preparing biofilm cultures will be used. To determine the effects of prepared plasmids on cell in cultures, standard test for proliferation, antiangiogenic and antimetastatic potential will be used.
    Antitumor effectiveness and histological analysis will be determined on tumor models in vivo by tumor growth delay assay, tumor control probability assay and immunohistochemistry.
    Execution and management of the project. The experiments will be performed at the laboratories of 5 partners participating in the project. All necessary equipment for molecular biology, cell cultures, immunocytochemistry, and animals experiments is available. The researchers involved in the project have vast experience in the field of plasmid preparation, electroporation as a drug and gene delivery method and radiobiology.
    The management and coordination of the project will be assured by regular meetings and constant communication with partners on the project.
    Relevance and potential impact of the results. The proposed project is designed as a preclinical project that addresses important issues regarding safe use of cancer gene therapy in clinical setting. The results of the project, if successful, may have impact on design and execution of cancer gene therapy trials in Slovenia and worldwide.

  • J3-4211 Antiangiogenic gene therapy of cancer using electroporation and magnetic nanoparticles as targeted delivery systems
    Duration of the project:
    1.7.2011 – 30.6.2014

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Prof. Gregor Serša, PhD

    Collaborating parties / partners:
    • Institute of Oncology Ljubljana
    • R&D Center for Nanotechnologies in the Field of Magnetic Materials and Composites Ljubljana
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering

    The aim of the project is the development of new gene therapy approaches, based on anti-angiogenic mechanisms, for treatment of malignant melanoma and sarcoma. The new plasmids coding for anti-angiogenesis of tumors will be tested in experimental tumors by non-viral delivery systems; electroporation and magnetic nanoparticles. For better translation into the clinics, combined modality treatment with radiotherapy will be tested.
    The project is based on the construction of new plasmids coding for miRNA against endoglin (CD105) and melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM/CD146), both specific for endothelial cells in tumors and melanoma cells capable of invasion. These specific targets will be used for the treatment of two variants of melanoma tumors in experimental animals, B16F1 melanoma with low metastatic potential and B16F10 with high metastatic potential. Because of some cross-specificity with other tumor type’s sarcoma SA-1 model will also be used. In addition to that, plasmid AMEP already prepared and validated to some extent by our industrial partner will be used. It also has anti-angiogenic and direct cytotoxic effect to melanoma cells and tumors.
    As plasmid delivery systems, non viral techniques will be used; electroporation and magnetic nanoparticles. Electroporation is already established gene delivery method for transfection of tumors, muscle and skin (electrogene therapy). Nanotechnology for gene delivery is in its early developmental phase for use of magnetic nanoparticles (magnetofection). This approach is being developed in our research group, and we want to test and implement it in cancer treatment.
    With electrogene therapy and magnetofection the transfection efficiency of constructed plasmids as well as plasmid AMEP in cells in vitro and the effect of the plasmids on cell’s proliferation, adhesion and invasion will be performed. Anti-angiogenic potential of constructed plasmids will be tested in vitro by angiogenesis assay (tube formation assay). Based on these results we will proceed in the investigation of anti-angiogenic and antitumor effects by intravital microscopy in window chamber. These data will provide evidence on anti-angiogenic effectiveness of the constructed plasmids coding for miRNAs in vivo, as well as their antitumor effectiveness on melanoma and sarcoma tumor models.
    In vivo, on experimentally induced tumors and metastases, antitumor effectiveness of the constructed plasmids coding for miRNAs against CD105 and CD146 as well as plasmid AMEP will be tested. By intratumoral electrogene therapy or magnetofection, direct effects on established tumors will be tested. Also intramuscular transfection of plasmid AMEP is foreseen in order to test the possibility of systemic shedding of the protein in circulation and its effect on local tumor growth and metastasis. Again, both transfection methods will be used; electrogene therapy and magnetofection. All these experiments will provide starting point for further experiments combined with radiotherapy.
    Anti-angiogenic therapies are already being combined with radiotherapy in treatment of cancer, however anti-angiogenic gene therapy as radiosenzitizing therapy is still in early stage of development. Therefore the constructed plasmids and plasmid AMEP will be tested as adjuvant gene therapy to radiotherapy. The best treatment combinations with either single or repetitive gene therapy combined with either single or fractionated radiation regimen will be explored. The predominant tumor model used will be melanoma.
    The results will provide evidence on newly constructed plasmids coding for miRNA against CD105 and CD146 and plasmid AMEP on their antitumor effectiveness on melanoma and sarcoma tumors. Their antitumor effectiveness with or without combined modality treatment with radiotherapy will provide basis for translation of the knowledge into clinical trials.

  • Multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of obesity

    Duration of the project:
    October 2011 – October 2014

    University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences and General Hospital Izola

    Coordinator of the project:
    Assist. Prof. Zala Jenko Pražnikar, PhD


    Members of the research team:

    • Assoc. Prof. Nadja Plazar, PhD

    • Mojca Bizjak, BSc (Dietetics)

    • Assist. Prof. Tamara Poklar Vatovec, PhD (Dietetics)

    • Tadeja Jakus, BSc (Dietetics)

    • Assoc. Prof. Mihaela Jurdana, PhD (Physiology)

    • Assist. Prof. Maša Černelič Bizjak, PhD (Psychology)

    • Sabina Ličen (Nursing)

    • Tamara Štemberger Kolnik, MSc (Nursing)

    • Ana Petelin, PhD (TRANS2CARE)

    • Prof. Maja Čemažar, PhD (TRANS2CARE)

    • Nataša Černič Šuligoj, MD


      Financial support:

      University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, 42 Polje, 6310 Izola and international project Cross-boarder cooperation Italy-Slovenia 2007-2013 (EU strategic project TRANS2CARE).


      Scientific background and the aim of the project

      The prevalence of overweight is increasing globally and has become a serious public health problem (1). Obesity is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation characterized by inflamed adipose tissue with increased macrophage infiltration. This inflammation is now widely believed to be the key link between obesity and development of insulin resistance and metabolic disease development (2).

      Adipose tissue is crucial for the inflammatory status associated with obesity, primarily because of macrophage infiltration (3). Adipocytes secrete both pro- and anti-inflammatory adipokines, including pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and the anti-inflammatory adiponectin. Reduced adiponectin and increased C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations are associated with cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes (4).

      A reduction in inflammatory status may prevent the occurrence of disorders and diseases related to overweight. Many food compounds have been reported to have anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidant effects in various populations and the hypothesis is that these specific dietary components (polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamin C, vitamin E, ...) are able to reduce low-grade inflammation as well as metabolic and oxidative stress. For example anti-inflammatory effects of n–3 fatty acids have been shown by reduced plasma concentrations of CRP, TNF-, and IL-6 (5).

      But the border between health and disease is often set by a complex equilibrium between two elements, genetics on one hand, and lifestyle (including diet) on the other (Figure 1). So, heterogeneity in circulating plasma concentrations of CRP, TNF-, IL-6, adiponectin, and other adipokines in response to specific dietary compounds may be due, in part, to genetics variations. Therefore at the same dietary intake of specific compound, their respective health effects may differ due to genetic differences (6).

      Different polymorphisms, and biochemical measurements, will be determined in the study of obese people and matched controls, comparable in age and sex. Dietary intake will be assessed on the basis of a food frequency questionnaire, adapted to Slovenian dietary patterns and with dietary record. Each participant in the study will be individually discussed. The nutritional status will be assessed, resting metabolic rate with indirect calorimeter will be measured and the proportion and distribution of fat will be determined with bioelectrical impedance analysis. DNA will be isolated from peripheral white blood cells and genotyping of different polymorphisms will be performed by using real time polymerase chain reaction. For the quantitative determination of adipokines in human plasma ELISA method will be performed. Moreover, all biochemical analysis will be done at the biochemical laboratory at Izola General Hospital following established procedures. In the end all results will be analyzed and evaluated using different statistical programs. Using various statistical analyses the interactions between food components and genes will be calculated.




    • M. I. Harris, K. M. Flegal, C. C. Cowie, M. S. Eberhardt, et al, “Prevalence of diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, and impaired glucose tolerance in US adults”, Diabetes Care Vol. 21, pp. 518-524, 1998.

    • G. Parati, C. Lombardi, K. Narkiewisz, “Sleep apnea: epidemiology, pathophysiology, and relation to cardiovascular risk”, Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol.Vol. 293, pp. 1671-1683, 2007.

    • H. Xu, G. T. Barnes, Q. Yang, et al, “Chronic inflammation in fat plays a crucial role in the development of obesity-related insulin resistance”, J. Clin. Invest. Vol. 112, pp. 1821-1830, 2003.

    • K. Maeda, K. Okubo, I. Shimomura, et al., “Analysis of an expression profile of genes in the human adipose tissue”, Gene Vol. 190, pp. 227-235, 1997.

    • D. Wu, S. N. Han, M. Meydani, S. N. Maydani, “Effect of concominant consumption of fish oil and vitamin E on production of inflammatory cytokines in healthy elderly humans”, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. Vol. 1031, pp. 422-424, 2004.

    • B. Fontaine-Bisson, T. M. S. Wolever, J. L. Chiasson, R. Rabasa-Lhoret, P. Maheux, R. G. Josse, L. A. Leiter, N. W. Rodger, E. A: Ryan, P. W. Connelly, P. N. Corey, A. El-Sohemy, “Genetic polymorphisms of tumor necrosis factor-alfa modify the association between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and fasting HDL-cholesterol and apo A-I concentration”, Am. J. Clin. Nutr. Vol.86, pp. 768-774, 2007.


  • J5-4259 »RAZKORAK« Longitudinal study in competence potential of university graduates and a gap between graduates' competences and labour market requirements in technology, education and health

    Duration of the project:
    1.7.2011 – 30.6.2014

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Associate Prof. Istenič Starčič Andreja, PhD

    Collaborating parties / partners:
    • Educational Research Institute Ljubljana
    • Faculty of Art Ljubljana
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Education Koper
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences Izola
    • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering Ljubljana
    • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering Ljubljana

    The competence concept, it’s modelling, needs assessment and evaluation is challenging research in education as also transdisciplinary research. Competences in contemporary society can no longer be described as fixed set of skills; they represent a dynamic combination of abilities, skills and knowledge. Competences are context dependent and reflect person’s potential realised in different contexts. It is being developed in the processes of learning, education, training and work based activities. Witt in Lehmann identify in the internal dimension which is reflecting the individual characteristics and external dimension which is reflecting demands of working processes (2001). Boyantzis defines competences as individual abilities which reflect motives, values, self-image, social roles, skills and knowledge which individual is applying and are connected with the results in the work place (1982, 2008). Competences as actualised potentials which individual apply in a concrete situation. Klieme in Leutner define competences and as context-specific cognitive dispositions that are acquired and needed to successfuly cope with certain situations or tasks in specific domains (Klieme in Leutner 2006). In the education the demands for accountability shift the focus on the competency based curriculum (Wise, 1979; Slavin, 2002). Mclelland as alternative to measurement of general cognitive abilities identifies testing of competency with the criterion sampling with the testing of authentic tasks from real life work based environments (1973). Competencies in bologna competency based study programmes provide a framework for curriculum design. Longitudinal survey within old and bologna programs will provide longitudinal assessment data during study, after graduation in employment to identify how the competences have been developed, how students perceive professional competences, how learning environment influence students approaches to learning and competence development, how competences are actualised when graduates enter labour market and get employed. Assessment of competences are also an important focus of this study. Within the proposed research will measurement of small segment of generic competences take place. The level of competency acquired will be in the focus of measurement. In this way the topic of this research will also be a psychometric measurement of competencies. The instruments will be designed and developed also as an example how to design competency assessment instruments and as a case to be applied within different disciplines and subject specific competencies. Purpose: (1) The development of instruments for needs assessment and evaluation of competences of graduates. (2) State of the art and analysis of the competences divide among competence needs (in work environments, university and students themselves) and actualised competences (of graduates in the selected fields of technology, education, psychology and health). Objective: (1) Instruments for competence potential assessment and the analyse of divide among needs and realised competences; Instruments will support the competence management in different areas. (2) Longitudinal analyses competence potential in technology in the field of civil engineering, geodesy and electrical engineering, in education, psychology and in health. Participants will be student, graduates and employers. The analysis will cover state of the art and divide/disparity between stakeholders. In the study, different methodological approaches will be combined – a survey study (quantitative approach) will be combined with selected qualitative research methods. A combined approach is necessary to obtain a holistic view about the research object. Quantitative data will allow for generalizability, whereas qualitative data will bring a deeper and informationally richer insight, and possibly provide some findings that could not be foreseen at the beginning of the study.

  • J7-9743 The impact of health care on the quality of life of elderly people: The influence of incontinence and impaired mobility on functionary of elderly people

    1.1.2007 – 31.12.2009

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Maja Čemažar, PhD

    Ageing of the population is a phenomenon that brings many problems, which are connected to ageing and decrease in ability of self-nursing and also higher susceptibility for chronic diseases. There is a particularly fast growth in the segment of people over 80, which strongly affects the planning of national health and social service how to assure quality of life for this population. We can define good health and a successful ageing on the basis of the autonomous functioning of the individual within a certain social environment. Despite the presence of a chronic disease, we can define an old person to be healthy when s/he is socially and intellectually active. The objective of health care is to aid the elderly in reaching optimal health, well-being and quality of life, as they define it, or in accordance with their values or acknowledged wishes. The aim of the project is to deal with two issues concerning ageing and the elderly, incontinence and impaired mobility. The project will deal with the topic from two aspects: firstly from the view of care providers and secondly from the view of the elderly. The first part of our research will be dedicated to the assessment of care providers (professionals or laics that offer help and support to the elderly), perception of ageing and of parameters, defining the quality of ageing. The second part of the research will deal with both above mentioned categories of ageing (perception and quality) from the point view of the oldster. The results of the proposed project will be presented as publication with guidelines for care providers and elderly and will form the basis for more effective planning of care of oldsters and thus providing higher quality of life for elderly people living in home environment and those living in residential environment.
  • L3 - 0129 Cell-free nucleic acids in diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis

    1.2.2008 – 31.1.2011

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Darko Černe, PhD


    • University of Primorska College of Health Care Izola
    • University of Ljubljana Faculty of Pharmacy
    • University Medical Centre Ljubljana


    Nowadays there is no reliable, non-invasive method for the early diagnosis of vulnerable atherosclerotic coronary plaques and thus of patients who could suffer from acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Our research work aims to prove that patients with vulnerable atherosclerotic coronary plaques have in plasma increased concentration of messenger RNA (mRNA) of genes, of which increased gene expression in the arterial wall substantially contribute to the development and destabilization of atherosclerotic plaque. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of cell-free nucleic acids (DNA, RNA, mRNA) is nowadays already used in tumour and prenatal diagnostics. In addition, there is an intensive investigation into the possibilities of its application in stroke, trauma, diabetes and other critical care settings going on.
    Concentrations of mRNA (for instance of genes encoding MMP9, HSP 70, Il-1α, perilipin, TF, MCP1, SR A1 in collagen α2 tip 1; not final selection) will be measured in plasma of 30 patients with ACS, 30 patients with stable angina pectoris and 30 control subjects presumably, in all participants in basic condition and in patients again one hour after a percutaneous coronary revascularization intervention. We believe that mRNA of aforementioned genes will be found in plasma in basic condition (and even easier after the mechanic treatment of coronary arteries) permitting a reliable comparison between stable and unstable patients.
    To confirm expected results would mean to prove for the first time the existence of mRNA of genes, of which gene expression is increased in the atherosclerotic lesion, in plasma of patients with coronary atherosclerosis. Analysis of cell-free mRNA in plasma would become a useful, reliable, non-invasive test method for diagnosis of vulnerable atherosclerotic coronary plaques and thus patients who could suffer from ACS. In comparison to test methods nowadays used it would offer an earlier detection and treatment of the disease. Analysis of cell-free mRNA in plasma would also offer in vivo assessment of influence of atherosclerotic risk factors on arterial wall.

  • J3-2218 Detection of Prostethic Infection at Revision Arthroplasty

    Duration of the project:
    1. 5. 2009 – 30. 4. 2012

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Prof. Andrej Cör, PhD

    Collaborating parties / partners:
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Ortopedic Hospital Valdoltra
    • Institute of Public Health Koper

  • J3-2277 Combination of Electrogene Immune Therapy with Interleukin-12 and Irradition for Treatment of Experimental Tumors

    Duration of the project:
    1. 5. 2009 – 30. 4. 2012

    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Associate Prof. Maja Čemažar, PhD

    Collaborating parties / partners:
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Institute of Oncology Ljubljana

    Electroporation is a physical method that uses electric pulses applied to cells or tissues to reorganize structure of the cell membrane. Cell membranes thus become permeable to molecules which otherwise can not cross it. Lately, electroporation is getting consideration also in gene therapy, where it is used as gene delivery method (electrogene therapy). In treatment of cancer, electrogene therapy can be used for electrotransfer of therapeutic genes directly to tumor or into other tissues for systemic release of therapeutic proteins acting on distant tumors. One of promising therapeutic genes that were already tested in electrogene therapy is interleukin-12 (IL-12). IL-12 stimulates innate immunity, by activating natural killer cells to produce interferon-g and adaptive immunity by stimulating differentiation of T lymphocytes Th1 response). In addition, IL-12 has also antiangiogenic properties. Combination of gene therapy with IL-12 for systemic release of IL-12 in combination with radiotherapy is a new field that has not been yet evaluated for treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous as well as deeper seeded tumors. Therefore, our hypothesis is that electrotransfection of IL-12 into muscle using optimized parameters is efficient electrogene therapy that has therapeutic effect as single therapy and has radiosensitizing effect in combination with radiotherapy.

    Measurements of in vitro cytotoxicity of recombinant IL-12 and testing of its radiosensitizing effect. In vivo transfection of tumors with electroporation and plasmid DNA encoding IL-12. Intratumoral and peritumoral application of electrogene therapy will be tested in solid subcutaneous tumors and antitumor effectiveness determined. In vivo transfection of muscles with plasmid DNA encoding IL-12 for systemic release of IL-12. Antitumor effectiveness in solid subcutaneous tumors and lung metastases will be determined. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of transfection and expression of IL-12. Determination of antitumor effectiveness of systemic and local combined electrogene immune therapy with IL-12 and radiotherapy.

    Relevance and potential impact of the results.
    The proposed project is designed as a preclinical project that involves experiments in cell cultures and animal and human tumor models. The results can contribute to the use of electrogene immunotherapy as an adjuvant therapy to radiotherapy. If successful, local potentiation of radiation response can lead to the use of lower irradiation doses and thus lower side effects. Combination of radiotherapy and systemic electrogene immunotherapy can in addition to enhanced local effect, result in systemic effect on micrometastases and has also prophylactic effect.

  • J1-6734 Lightweight alloys based on aluminium as materials with increasing potential in transport industry
    Duration of the project:
    1. 7. 2014 – 30. 6. 2017
    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Ingrid Milošev, PhD
    Project coordinator at UP FHS:

    Andrej Cör, PhD

    • Jožef Stefan Institute
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • R&D Center for Nanotechnologies in the Field of Magnetic Materials and Composites

    ​Link: Sicris



    In the last decade the European automobile industry has more than doubled the average amount of aluminium used in passenger cars and the trend in increasing. European Union legislation sets mandatory emission reduction targets for new cars. Europe is to become a highly energy efficient, low carbon economy. Road transport alone contributes about one fifth of the EU's total emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The reduction of emissions from a range of modes of transport could be achieved partially by increased use of light alloys and consequent reduction in weight and fuel consumption. Among light materials, aluminium and its alloys have the highest potential and will be the subject of this project. These materials exhibit good strength to weight ratio, good ductility and strength and are relatively easy to fabricate by forming, machining, or welding. Their versatile applications are met in almost every industrial and commercial segment. With increasing mobility in modern era the transport industry has a growing capacity. The increase use of light materials will demand the increased use of their protection as well. This is especially important due to restriction of use of toxic chromate coatings which have been applied with great success for decades for protection of Al alloys. The main goal of the project it to develop the coatings to withstand severe conditions for various Al alloys in transport industry applications, including high salt and sulphur content, low and elevated temperatures and bacterial attack.

    Corrosion protection of aluminium alloys is related to the protection of intermetallics in the alloys, as these represent initiation process for corrosion process. Most relevant for transport industry are Al alloys from series 2xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx and 7xxx which contain intermetallics rich in Cu, Mg, Si and Zn. Two main research routes will be opened: protection by sol-gel coatings and by conversion coatings. In both routes green chemical approach will be applied with the use of nontoxic chemicals. The synthesis of coatings will be the main innovative area within the project. The effectiveness of corrosion protection will be studied using electrochemical methods in solutions simulating ambient environment. Coatings selected for their high effectiveness will be further investigated under the conditions of microbial induced corrosion. Most common types of bacteria associated with metals in terrestrial and aquatic habitats are sulphatereducing bacteria, sulphuroxidising bacteria, iron oxidising/reducing bacteria, manganese oxidising bacteria, and bacteria secreting organic acids and slime. Further, standard laboratory and field testing will be carried out under the condition relevant for applications. Field testing will be carried out in collaboration with Slovenian company Pipistrel, world recognized manufacturer of light aircrafts. Both types of testing will importantly upgrade the electrochemical studies of the developed coatings and give the project additional perspective for further applications. Although this is basic research project these activities position it high at the technology readiness level as it will demonstrate performance relevant in end to end environment.

    The project offers the integral approach and solution of the identified problems development and synthesis of coatings for aluminium alloys to withstand severe conditions in transport industry. Proposed research will enrich the scientific community with new important results. Interdisciplinarity of the project will broaden the scientific methodology which could not be developed within individual scientific field – chemistry, materials science and microbiology. Consequently, each of these scientific fields will gain and deepen the knowledge of its basic and applied research for which all required instrumentation is available. We can therefore expect that the results of the proposed project will substantially contribute to solving the important problems related to the corrosion of light alloys in transport industry.

    »The authors acknowledge the project J1-6734 Lightweight alloys based on aluminium as materials with increasing potential in transport industry was finacially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.«

  • J3-6796 Translational oncology: development and validation of immunogene therapy with Interleukin-12 combined with surgery for canine cancers of the oral cavity and skin

    Duration of the project:
    1. 7. 2014 – 30. 6. 2017


    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Maja Čemažar, PhD


    Project coordinator at UP FHS:
    Maja Čemažar, PhD



    • Institute of Oncology Ljubljana
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • University of Ljubljana Veterinary Faculty

    Link: Sicris


    Scientific background and problem statement: In the last decades immunogene therapy for the treatment of cancer is gaining in importance. Currently there are 59 running immunegene studies in the field of human oncology, 11 of them are using plasmid DNA encoding the cytokine interleukin 12 (IL-12) indicating the great potential of this kind of therapy. In spite of marked advances in the field of gene therapy, the problem of safety and efficiency of this therapy in combination with standard treatment modalities remains. In the process of translation of these therapies to human medicine, the importance of clinical studies in veterinary medicine is becoming more and more valued, especially in dogs, namely spontaneously occurring tumors in dogs and the similarity of canine and human immune systems represent an important translational bridge accelerating the transition to human medicine.

    The aim of the proposed project is the development and validation of a safer adjuvant immune gene therapy with IL-12 in combination with surgery for the treatment of oral and skin tumors in dogs. For this purpose plasmid DNA encoding canine IL-12 gene under transcriptional control of the tissue specific promoter for skin will be constructed. Plasmid will be evaluated in cell cultures and in tumor models in vivo. Clinical protocol will be prepared, and all necessary approvals will be obtained from the competent authorities and first patients will be recruited into the clinical study.

    Methods: Plasmids encoding canine IL-12 under the transcriptional control of a tissue specific promoter and with kanamycin resistance gene will be prepared using standard molecular biology methods. Plasmid without the antibiotic resistance gene will be prepared according to the instructions of the supplier of ORT® technology. Appropriate bacterial strains will be transformed with the plasmids to produce larger quantities of endotoxin free plasmid to be used in further experiments. The expression profiles of the plasmids will be determined in different canine and human cells using RT-PCR and ELISA. Additionally proliferation assay will be performed. Antitumor effect of the prepared plasmids will be determined in canine tumor xenografts in nude mice. Antitumor effectiveness will be assessed by tumor growth delay assay and tumor control probability assay and histological analysis of the tumors will be conducted. Clinical study will be executed at the Clinic for Surgery and Small Animal of the Veterinary faculty University of Ljubljana.

    Execution and management of the project: The work on the project will be executed at the laboratories of 5 partners participating in the project, where all necessary equipment for molecular biology, cell cultures, immunocytochemistry, animal experiments and clinical study is available. The researchers involved in the project have vast experience in the field of plasmid preparation, cell culture isolation, electroporation as a drug and gene delivery method, clinical protocols preparation, and electroporation in veterinary patients.

    The management and coordination of the project will be assured by regular meetings and constant communication with partners on the project.

    Relevance and potential impact of the results: The proposed project is designed as a preclinical and clinical project that addresses important issues regarding safe use of cancer gene therapy in clinical setting. The results of the project, if successful, may have impact on implementation of gene therapy in veterinary oncology and above all the translation of such clinical studies into human oncology in Slovenia and worldwide.

    »The authors acknowledge the project J3-6796 Translational oncology: development and validation of immunogene therapy with Interleukin-12 combined with surgery for canine cancers of the oral cavity and skin was finacially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.«

  • Z2-7257 Postdoc project ARRS - Development of algorithms for antimicrobial drug discovery and reduction of antimicrobial resistance
    Duration of postdoc project:
    1. 1. 2016 – 31. 12. 2017
    Postdoc project is (co)financed by Slovenian Research Agency.
    Postdoc project leader:

    Link: Sicris


    Antimicrobial drugs either directly kill microorganisms or prevent their growth and
    reproduction. Microbes respond to the drugs by development of antimicrobial
    resistance (AMR), thereby reducing their effects. Since the genes for AMR can
    spread between microbes via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the excessive use of
    antimicrobial drugs in the last decades has resulted in the emergence of a growing
    number of drug resistant microbes (e.g. MRSA). Due to the frequency of such
    infections, AMR is currently one of the three largest global health problems, as only
    in Europe 25.000 deaths occur each year. Nevertheless, pharmaceutical companies
    practically no longer develop new antimicrobials, which has caused a shortage of
    new drugs. Therefore, based on new technologies and approaches, such as
    metagenomics, I propose to develop algorithms to accelerate the discovery of
    antimicrobials among natural compounds produced by microbes themselves.
    Furthermore, by performing an indepth
    analysis of AMR in metagenomes, I will
    create innovative algorithms to optimize compounds and reduce the incidence of
    The findings on very large diversity (> 10^6 / gram of soil) and high amount of
    unexplored microbial species (> 99%) show that they are an unexploited resource of
    natural compounds. However, although the genetic data of microbes is fully
    accessible using metagenomics approaches, methods must be developed to
    process this data in order to discover antimicrobial compounds that are coded inside
    it. Therefore, I will develop procedures for the discovery of potential new
    antimicrobial compounds in data libraries of metagenomic projects. Clusters of
    genes that code for biosynthesis of antimicrobial compounds will be identified by
    analysis of specific DNA regions and their structural properties. The process of
    characterization of gene clusters and their biosynthetic products according to
    reference data will be expanded by modeling based on evolutionary principles. By
    adapting the above methodology, AMR systems will be characterised and analysed
    to determine the potential for transfer of the AMR genes by HGT and for incidence of
    AMR in relation to the antimicrobials used. Finally, the antimicrobial activity and AMR
    incidence of the discovered compounds will be predicted according to computed
    molecular properties on structureactivity
    relationships of the compounds. The
    expected results are (i) new antimicrobial compounds with a lower incidence of AMR
    than the ones currently used and (ii) validated tools that will be accessible to the
    general scientific community via the internet.
    The proposed project is organized into three interdependent work packages (WP). In
    WP 1, data will be acquired and interfaces constructed for further analysis. In WP 2,
    the core discovery procedure and algorithms will be developed. In WP 3, analysis of
    AMR systems will be performed and used to optimize antimicrobial compounds.
    Since the project will use of data from unexplored environments, a great number of
    new compounds can be accessed. Estimates indicate that less than 1% of all
    available microbial compounds have been identified. Consequently, I presume that
    there are many opportunities for the discovery of useful antimicrobials. The
    algorithms and procedures that will be developed are expected to have a wide
    applicability in the biotechnology and microbiology fields due to their flexibility and
    easy adaption for use not only with prokaryotic but also eukaryotic organisms, such
    as fungi and plants. However, the proposed analysis of AMR systems and
    development of strategies to lower the incidence of AMR has potentially the largest
    scientific as well as social impact. Such methods and strategies can help create
    solutions to improve healthcare and save lives in the fastest time as well as the
    greatest scope. The project can thus have an exceptional impact on science, the
    society as well as economy and is of the highest interest to Slovenia, the EU as well
    as globally.

  • V5-1507: Nursing as a scientific discipline in Slovenia: An internationally comparable secondary and tertiary education system in nursing care as the foundation of research and scientific contribution to the sustainable development of society.
    15. 10. 2015 – 14.10. 2017
    Project is (co)financed by Slovenian Research Agency and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
    Link: SICRIS.
    Project leader:
    - Faculty of Health Care Jesenice
    - UP Faculty of Health Sciences
    - Educational Research Institute
    - UM Faculty of Health Sciences
    - International School for Social and Business Studies
    - National Institute of Public Health
    Project leader at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:

    Introduction to the problem: On a European Union (EU) scale, the field of nursing education is
    governed by Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and Council, which was passed on
    20.11.2013 and replaced Directive 2005/36/EC. International associations such as the International
    Council of Nurses (ICN), World Health Organisation for Europe (WHO for Europe), European
    Federation of Nurses (EFN), European Federation of Nurse Educators (FINE), etc. also focus on
    the field of nursing education. Their objective is mostly additional explanation of the minimal standards of education for nurses and midwives, setting the required education standards to a
    higher level and commitment to the importance of raising knowledge and the education level in
    The strategic development of nursing in Slovenia 20122020
    (Kadivec, et al., 2013) gives guidelines
    for vocational education in nursing on both secondary and tertiary levels. The most recent research
    on the educational needs of nursing was published in 2004 in research carried out by the Institute
    for Health Protection (Albreht, 2005), however it only defines educational needs on a tertiary level
    and not on a secondary level. In Slovenia, we have nursing education on two levels, secondary and
    tertiary. In the field of nursing education, as of yet there is no clear development perspective for
    education on two levels or on the scope of education on a secondary level. In Slovenia, we also do
    not have a tradition of education on a Master's of Doctorate level in nursing. The fact of the matter
    is that four Master's programmes are implemented in nursing, the first started in 2007/2008, the
    graduates do not have the opportunity to get a job with a Master's in nursing (level 7 EQF), which
    is equivalent to the position of Advanced Nurse Practitioner. The agreements of the development
    of specialisation in nursing has been ongoing from at least 2012, when the strategic development of
    nursing in Slovenia 20122020
    (Kadivec, et al., 2013) was passed, however to this day no moves in
    the direction of defining the actual needs in a clinical environment have been made. In addition,
    there is no developed national plan to increase employment of tertiary education staff in nursing in
    respect to demographic trends and decreasing the number of personnel with secondary education
    in nursing, despite the fact that the strategic development of nursing in Slovenia 20122020
    directed towards this change (Kadivec, et al., 2013). The OECD data on the number of nurse
    specialists per 1000 people (Buchan & Black, 2011) should also be a warning to politicians,
    professional associations and nursing management, on how to reach a satisfactory number of
    quality educated staff in nursing on a tertiary level and how to decrease the scope of secondary
    education. The data shows that Slovenia has 7.9 members of nursing staff for every 1000 residents
    (the OECD average is 9), of this only 35% are educated at a tertiary level, which shows that the
    share of nurse specialists is one of the lowest amongst countries included in the analysis.
    Research problem: Slovenia falls into the category of badly organised nursing education systems
    on all levels, from the secondary to Doctorate level, when considering this we take into account the
    following: content and scope of education and competencies of graduates on an individual level and
    international comparability of the nursing education system as a whole. This slows down the
    development of nursing as a scientific discipline, which gives developed EU countries an important
    contribution to efficient and quality medical treatment and health care system as well as healthy
    society. An organised education system is this basis of every profession and is the basis for the
    development of the vocation as well as scientific discipline.
    Purpose of TRP: is to establish an internationally comparable secondary and tertiary nursing
    education system which allows for the development of the profession and science, as well as
    setting the framework for the establishment of interdisciplinary research connected with nursing,
    which can have a significant influence on sustainability of social development.
    TRP Objectives: 1. Prepare an analysis of formal education in the field of nursing in the EU,
    competencies gained for work and useful model for the development
    and strengthening of nursing as a scientific discipline.
    2. On the basis of research amongst key stakeholders in education and
    nursing and users of education, check the understanding of needs for
    change in formal education and place research for the development of
    nursing as a scientific discipline.
    3. Prepare a proposal for changes for secondary education in the health
    discipline, which by professional competencies will be comparable with
    international professional guidelines.
    4. Prepare an integrated competencies model for all levels of education in
    nursing, which by professional competencies will be comparable with
    international professional guidelines.
    5. Prepare a proposal for a national development model and strengthening
    of nursing as a scientific discipline which will be interdisciplinary and
    interprofessional as well as contribute to the recognition of nursing as a
    and educatio n a l i n f l u e n c e o n t h e
    scientific discipline.
    6. Popularise nursing as a scientific discipline in different target groups: on a general level, amongst
    young people, professions and researchers.
    Methods: This project has 6 work packages (WP). WP 1 – Analysis of formal nursing education
    system in the EU; WP 2 – Research: “Understanding nursing education and integrated needs by
    renewing formal nursing education and placing a new competency model in RS that follows
    international guidelines”; WP 3 – Renewing the secondary model of education, taking into account
    international guidelines and results of WP 1 and WP 2; WP 4 – Integrated competency model for
    all levels of nursing education. WP 5 – National development model and strengthening nursing as a
    scientific discipline; WP 6 –Popularising nursing as a scientific discipline in different target groups:
    on a general level, amongst young people, professions and researchers.
    For the implementation of WP 1 we will use a systematic literature review. WP 2 will be carried
    as quantative nonexperimental
    research between actors in education (middle school, high school,
    employers) and amongst users of education (elementary pupils, secondary health directed pupils
    and students of nursing). WP 3, WP 4 and WP 5 will be implemented with the use of the focus
    group method.
    Results: This project will collect 17 findings, which will be based on the scientific research
    approach. These findings are systematic analysis of practices in the EU, results of research on the
    understanding of healthcare as a scientific discipline and importance of understanding education on
    three levels (primary, secondary, tertiary) for the development of science in nursing, proposals for
    change in education will be made, a competency model on the secondary and tertiary levels of
    education will be made, a development model for nursing as a scientific discipline will be proposed
    for the RS. Informing the professional and general public will be done through a website, viewing
    of short films on nursing as a scientific discipline, organising round tables and professional
    conferences, the project results will be shared on a national and international level.
    Importance of project: The development and strengthening of nursing as a scientific discipline,
    their interdisciplinary research and cooperation
    with other disciplines, will influence more efficient
    nursing awareness, efficient dissemination of the scientificresearch
    results and popularisation of
    knowledge received from the research work. This project is very important for Slovenia and the
    international community due to the fact that Slovenia is in the group of countries where nursing as
    a scientific discipline is badly developed and as we are the EU member country with the least
    amount of tertiary educated nurses (OECD, 2013), with otherwise developed education on other
    levels, which is not implemented in the workplace and without a developed doctoral study
    programme. A country can promote itself as having successfully implemented an integrated
    approach in the field of managing issues in professions regulated by European Directives,
    supported by proof and international recognition (WP 1), own evaluation of understanding nursing
    as a scientific discipline (WP 2), discussions conducted with key actors of change in nursing
    education on all levels (WP 3), prepared model of competencies for all levels of education (WP 4)
    and national development models and strengthening of nursing as a scientific discipline (WP 5). The results of this project will have a significant impact on the region; a characteristic of former
    Yugoslavian countries is that the nursing education system is unorganised and that nursing is not
    developed as a scientific discipline. This meant that strong emphasis has been put on secondary
    education in the then state, which when establishing an independent state was not developed to be
    internationally comparable also because of the established hierarchical organisational culture in
    nursing, which does not put the patient and their needs first, but rather the vocational group, where
    a dominant role is taken by medicine. The project will also allow for better international inclusion,
    as successfully implemented changes are always examples where a country with their experience
    can assist better efficiency of Europe and help solve similar issues in the EU and popularise
    scientific research work of a scientific discipline and science as a whole.
    The project will give clear guidelines for the human resource development also from the standpoint
    of the education system on a secondary and tertiary level. The proposed changes will show in the
    and longterm
    needs for personnel in the education sector. In addition, the
    developed system of competencies and national development model of the scientific discipline will
    give clear guidelines for employment policies, and human capital development in the next 20 years
    and plan for the reorganisation of job positions in health and social institutions and with this the
    clear needs for education on all levels.
    This project will also contribute to educating and informing elementary pupils in the third triade,
    who are deciding for a vocation, where one of the options is also a job in nursing. By presenting
    vocational work (short films), which includes professional and scientific aspects, the project will
    contribute to the good knowledge of the profession, the help of the counselling department, assist
    educators to efficiently inform and direct pupils and parents on nursing.
    This project will have a complex effect on the education sector, nursing sector and on society as a
    whole. Recognising nursing as a scientific discipline will assist with raising the level of education;
    research up until now has only strongly associated it with medical treatment. The model for
    developing nursing as a scientific discipline will be strongly connected with the education sector,
    academic environment and direct work in health and social sector, which is one of the objectives
    for popularisation of science and connections between basic and applied research work.
    This project will also contribute to the education and development of personnel throughout the
    whole education system, as with strengthening research work in nursing there will be more and
    more reason to develop the doctoral study programme, appropriate research efficiency will be
    reached, nursing will be recognised as a research field, where the results will contribute to social
    welfare. This is why politicians, with the help of the results of this project and further development
    and research work, will gradually recognise the importance of an internationally comparable
    education system, support it and include nursing as a profession and a science in discussions on
    important social questions in the fields of education and health.

  • J4-7608 Control of contamination of poultry meat with campylobacters in slaughterhouse
    Duration of the project:
    1. 3. 2016 – 28.2.2019
    Principal investigator / researcher:
    prof. Matjaž Ocepek, PhD
    Project coordinator at UP FHS:

    prof. Darja Barlič Maganja, PhD

    • University of Ljubljana,Veterinary Faculty
    • University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Perutnina Ptuj d.d.


    Intestinal campylobacteriosis is the predominant bacterial zoonosis in humans in Europe and in other industrialized countries. Costs related to
    campylobacteriosis are estimated at ~2.4 billion €. The main cause of acute
    gastroenteritis is C. jejuni, commensal inhabitant of the intestinal microbiota
    of industrial poultry. The main source of human infection is poultry meat,
    contaminated with faeces during slaughtering, in combination with improper
    thermal processing and/or crosscontamination.
    In Slovenia, thermotolerant
    campylobacters have been found in 7080%
    of investigated broiler flocks.
    The official contamination rate of broiler carcasses at the end of slaughtering
    is similar.
    In the scope of previously conducted research, we have demonstrated that
    the majority of contamination occurs before the entrance to the evisceration
    room, that is during stunning, scalding and plucking, and that the carcass
    contamination rate increases with the number of consecutive slaughter
    batches. Consequently, we presume that it is possible to reduce
    contamination with campylobacters in this part of the slaughtering process
    and thus contribute to the safety of the final product.
    Even though campylobacters are highly sensitive to environmental conditions,
    they harbour special mechanisms of resistance and survival, including the
    adhesivity and biofilm forming ability, which contribute to persistence, survival
    a n d i n f e c t i o n t r a n s m i s s i o n . A l i n k h a s b e e n s u g g e s t e d b e t w e e n
    epidemiological moleculargenetic
    background, the ability to survive outside
    the intestines and different mechanisms of resistance, including adhesivity and
    biofilm forming ability.
    1) To study the dynamics of faecal carcass contamination at the preevisceration
    stage of the slaughtering process, namely with different
    combinations of Campylobacterpositive
    and negative slaughter
    batches and with different parameters of the slaughtering regime. Also,
    the contamination potential of individual isolates according to their
    genotype will be compared and the possible persistence determined.
    2) To determine the reason(s) and critical points for the increasing
    o n t a m i n a t i o n o f c a r c a s s e s w i t h s u c c e s s i v e
    slaughter batches.
    3) To compare the isolates from different critical contamination points
    with the strains that persist on the equipment of slaughter line and
    determine their ability to survive in the slaughterhouse conditions. The
    ability for adhesion and formation of biofilms in addition to their
    resistance against biotic and abiotic factors will be analyzed, in
    conventional and alternative decontamination procedures. A possible
    connection of these characteristics with different Campylobacter
    genotypes will also be determined.
    4) To study and evaluate the possibility or effects of the employment of
    alternative technological procedures for decontamination of carcasses
    on the slaughter line, with the use of neutral electrolyzing oxidative
    water (NEOW) at the selected points or phases of the slaughtering
    5) To use digital PCR as one of the most contemporary molecular
    methods for identification and easier absolute quantification of
    campylobacters. Comparison with conventional C. jejuni c o l o n ycounting
    will assess the applicability of both methods for the
    quantification of campylobacters in complex samples from the
    slaughterhouse environment.
    6) To implement the nextgeneration
    sequencing (NGS) for typing of
    Campylobacter sp. The analysis of the whole genome or various
    genomic parts (like MLST segments) will be introduced for the selected
    strains, which will be typed by using the sequence data. NGS will be
    employed for the analysis of microbial communities that are present on
    the slaughter
    7) According to the obtained findings, improvements of the slaughtering
    process and implementation of adequate correction hygienic or technological m e a s u r e s f o r t h e r e d u c t i o n o f f a e c a l c a r c a s s
    contamination will be suggested.

    »The authors acknowledge the project J4-7608 Control of contamination of poultry meat with campylobacters in slaughterhouse was finacially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.«

  • Bilateral project SLO-SRB: Innovative fermentation of cereals and pseudocereals for functional bakery products
    Duration of the project:
    1. 1.2016 - 31.12.2017
    Principal investigator / researcher:
    Boris Kovač, PhD
    • University of Novi Sad, Research Center of Technology of Plant Based Food Products


    Screening of the population and active search for patients in high-risk populations with the use
    of new diagnostic methods shows that Celiac disease is often a chronic disorder with an
    incidence of 1:100 which still increases. Celiac disease is nowadays defined as an immunemediated
    systemic disease caused by consumption of gluten and related proteins, and is
    manifested with a variety of clinical symptoms and signs. These include typical gastrointestinal
    and / or non-intestinal symptoms. Celiac disease is characterized by the presence of celiac
    disease-specific antibodies, HLA DQ2 and DQ8 and different degrees of enteropathy. The
    treatment of celiac disease is still closely linked to a gluten-free diet. Buckwheat, as being
    gluten free cereal, is uncourtly the food of the future, not only because of the many beneficial
    human health effects, but also to maintain healthy soil, water and air. The purpose of this
    research is to deliver the buckwheat as a nutritional challenge for the celiac disease treatment
    in the bakery product. The group of people who can enjoy gluten, but the gluten-free diet or
    prefer gluten low diet is also growing in last decade. The consumers of this kind clam to feel
    better what represent new way in gluten-free foods and is trendy in dietary habits.
    Consequently, we need new suitable products and our proposed project is very promising line of
    development for which we need collaborative research.
    Gluten-free breads on the market are in comparison with their wheat-based counterparts defined by lower sensory characteristics as volume, consistence and freshness; from nutritional
    point of view they are poor in the content of fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The
    major task for the preservation and standardization of traditional technologies of fermented
    food products is an income of organolepticaly optimal, high value food products for human
    consumption. Fermented food products have been recently recognized as probiotic and prebiotic
    food, especially due to presence of certain strains of bacteria and yeasts and due to the
    presence of specific substrates which act as prebiotics.
    In practical terms we will combine various substrates having different polysaccharides as major
    component and starters with probiotic characters. The most important deliverables will be
    related to the development of new and improved gluten-free bread based on buckwheat as
    major source of proteins and starch accompanied with other non-conventional sources; and
    secondly the development of good practice procedures for the production of gluten-free bread.
    Both are essential for the food industry in order to start marketing the food product with
    specially defined functional properties. Along with the investigation of the beneficial effects of
    the food product, we would like to investigate the possible presence of detrimental compounds,
    which are important for nutrition, but also for food safety and consequently of help to identify
    critical points for the control of such hazards. This can have important impact on good practice
    in traditional food production as well in further processing in the food industry. In the project
    we will address buckwheat and and other pseudocerials flour for the production of gluten-free
    bakery products. Based on recent experiences we will also address the impact of starter culture
    on texture and shelf life of final product, as well as on its antioxidative potential. Due to
    production of extracellular components which could contribute to favourable sensory and
    technological characteristics of product we will apply the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces
    boulardi as novel starter culture. Based on this strategy, we will address dough and bread
    rheology, dough and bread composition of bioactive compounds as well as sensory suitability
    and palatability of functional bakery products of new generation.
    The challenge of project is to combine expertise of two university teams in Slovenia one having
    expertise in food microbiology and safety, one having expertise in nutrition and safety and
    industrial partner having knowledge and skills in novel product development and Serbian team
    having extensive expertise and tradition in dough rheology, chemistry of flours and bakery
    products among other things. Stating this, it is clear that the teams have proper expertise to
    address the challenge of gluten free bakery products what is also clearly demonstrated in their
    publications: Slovenian side on starter cultures and food safety; Serbian partners will contribute
    expertise in rheology and in art of conventional and unconventional dough preparation.
    Respecting the challenge and partner expertise each partner will contribute the most valuable
    and essential part of the activity as follows:
    University of Primorska: Yeast starter preparation. Test of probiotic and prebiotic characteristics
    and sensorial evaluation
    Biotechnical faculty: Yeast starter preparation, Novel bakery product stability
    Mlinotest: technological preparation of bakery products , testing the characteristics of the basic
    ingredients and sensorial evaluation
    FINS: rheological characteristics of ingredients, fermentation properties of dough, textural
    properties of bread, analyses of phenolic compounds, antioxidative potential proximate
    composition of ingredients and final product, relevant chemical analyses of bioactives.
    The following results are expected:
    The correlation between various ingredients and recipes and organoleptic and nutritional
    characteristics of the product,
    The correlation between the various additives and microbiological stability of the product, and
    Prototypes of various bakery products.
    It is expected that partners will run this activity smoothly they will demonstrate results of the
    project with common monographic publication.

    »The authors acknowledge the Bilateral project SLO-SRB Innovative fermentation of cereals and pseudocereals for functional bakery products was finacially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency.«".




    Duration of the project:
    1. 10. 2016 – 30. 9. 2018



    The University of Primorska received funding under European Social Fund (managed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia) for stimulating visiting staff and participation of experts and professors from abroad in the study process at UP.

    In total, University of Primorska will accept 66 guests under the project in two academic years (2016/2017 and 2017/2018).


    »Operation Hosting foreign experts and professors at the University of Primorska - GUEST UP. Investment is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union under the European Social Fund.«

  • Project ŠIPK: PREDEL - Interdisciplinary preventive care for the health of a worker in micro and small enterprises of Primorska
    Duration of the project:
    1. 6. 2017 – 30.9. 2017
    Project leader:
    Assoc. Prof. Nejc Šarabon, PhD
    Other participants:
    Matej Voglar, PhD
    Project partners:
    • Society for ergonomics
    • Chamber of Craft and Small Business of Slovenia

    Image result for logotip mizšImage result for logotip javni štipendijskiImage result for logotip evropski socialni sklad

    »The authors acknowledge the project PREDEL is finacially supported by the European Social Fund (80%) and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%).«

  • Project ŠIPK: FUNKCIONAL - The possibility of using useful discards of food and waste of primary processing for the preparation of functional foods
    Duration of the project:
    1. 6. 2017 – 30.9. 2017
    Project leader:
    Assist. Prof. Boris Kovač, PhD
    Project partners:
    • Development agency Rod

    Image result for logotip mizšImage result for logotip javni štipendijskiImage result for logotip evropski socialni sklad

    »The authors acknowledge the project FUNKCIONAL is finacially supported by the European Social Fund (80%) and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%).«

  • Project ŠIPK: GibKoP - Holistic approaches to active and healthy aging: Moving and cognitive activity and nutrition
    Duration of the project:
    1. 6. 2017 – 30.9. 2017
    Project leader:
    Assist. Prof. Uroš Marušič, PhD
    Project partners:
    • Cooperation od Societies of pensioners of the Municipality of Koper

    Image result for logotip mizšImage result for logotip javni štipendijskiImage result for logotip evropski socialni sklad

    »The authors acknowledge the project GibKoP is finacially supported by the European Social Fund (80%) and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%).«


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  • Project PKP: DIETA - The influence of low carbon hydroatate nutrition on health indicators
    Duration of the project:
    1. 2. 2017 – 30.6. 2017
    Project leader:
    Assist. Prof. Tamara Poklar Vatovec, PhD
    Other participants:
    Zala Jenko Pražnikar, Maša Černelič Bizjak, Nina Mohorko
    Project partners:
    • Maksimum d.o.o.
    • Neocortex Institute for Education, Treatment and Rehabilitation in the field of mental health

    Image result for logotip mizšImage result for logotip javni štipendijskiImage result for logotip evropski socialni sklad

    »The authors acknowledge the project DIETA is finacially supported by the European Social Fund (80%) and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%).«

  • Project PKP: ČILI - Chili analysis
    Duration of the project:
    1. 2. 2017 – 30.6. 2017
    Project leader:
    Assist. Prof. Zala Jenko Pražnikar, PhD
    Other participants:
    Ana Petelin, Mojca Stubelj, Dunja Bandelj
    Project partners:
    • GORKI CHILI Rok Iglar s.p.

    Image result for logotip mizšImage result for logotip javni štipendijskiImage result for logotip evropski socialni sklad

    »The authors acknowledge the project ČILI is finacially supported by the European Social Fund (80%) and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%).«

  • Project PKP: SACYC - Designing guidelines for preventing injuries during cycling
    Duration of the project:
    1. 3. 2017 – 31.7. 2017
    Project leader:
    Assoc. Prof. Nejc Šarabon, PhD
    Other participants:
    Borut Fonda
    Project partners:
    • Znanost v kolesarstvo d.o.o.
    • Image result for logotip mizšImage result for logotip javni štipendijskiImage result for logotip evropski socialni sklad

    »The authors acknowledge the project SACYC is finacially supported by the European Social Fund (80%) and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (20%).«

  • The influence of differently filled glycogen stores on the hydration status (and body composition) of athletes

    Public tender of the Sports Foundation for the co-financing of sports programs, development activities in sport, sports events and promotion of sport, and social and environmental responsibility in sport in 2018

    Project title:

    The influence of differently filled glycogen stores on the hydration status (and body composition) of athletes


    Duration of the project:

    1.1.2018 – 31.12.2018


    Project manager:

    Assist. Prof. Nina Mohorko, PhD


    Project content:

    Appropriate hydration of athletes can significantly contribute to performance. In the absence of consensus on the appropriate method of measuring the hydration status, the measurement of the difference in body weight was established as a simple and safe method for determining the hydration status of athletes. It is anticipated that 40 recreational cyclists and triathlets will be invited to participate in the survey, which will take place at UP FVZ, through social networking and oral invitations. Participants will be exposed to two interventional studies that will have an opposite effect on glycogen stores. The results will also be potentially useful for other branch associations as the proper design of a sports nutrition and the adaptation of hydration to sports nutrition is essential for a good outcome of athletes.




   International Research Projects

  • ERASMUS+: Development of a model for nurses' role in interprofessional pharmaceutical care” (DeMoPhaC)

    Duration of the project:

    1.9.2018 – 31.8.2021


    Lead Partner:

    University of Antwerpen, Belgium


    Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Assist. Prof. Mirko Prosen, PhD

    Assist. Prof. Sabina Ličen, PhD

    Assist. Prof. Igor Karnjuš, PhD


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Slovenia
    • Swansea University, United Kingdom
    • Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg, Germany
    • Charles University, Czech Republic
    • ANASTE, Italy
    • University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Netherlands
    • Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
    • Slovak Medical University, Slovakia
    • St. Clement of Ohrid University of Bitola, FYROM
    • University of Peloponnese, Greece
    • University of Alicante, Spain
    • University of Pecs, Hungary
    • Public Nursing School of Coimbra, Portugal


    Nurses’ role in interprofessional pharmaceutical care (PC) is not transparent and varies between European countries. Similarly, in nurse education, a clear description of specific learning outcomes on PC is lacking in most European countries and curricula in PC vary a lot. Furthermore, the match with the needs of the labour market and society is insufficient. The lack of transparency and recognition, combined with the variation between countries, in nursing practice and nurse education, has a major impact. It hinders collaboration on different levels: 1) quality of interprofessional collaboration in daily clinical practice; 2) transnational collaboration in research, education and innovation in Europe; 3) labour mobility of nurse students and nurses. Our GOAL is to strive for more transparency & equality for the EU-nurse in PC and to build strong connections between research, education, practice and policy. Our focus is on PC as a crucial part of therapy in most patients. With a major impact on care quality and patient safety preliminary analysis of EUPRON data of 3300 nurses/doctors/pharmacists showed nearly all participants are convinced of the positive impact on care quality of increased nurse involvement in PC. Interprofessional communication in PC scored 5,2/10, an alarming score given the link with patient safety.

    Project objectives:

    1. to develop a model for nurses’ role in interprofessional PC, a framework for collaboration in PC on the different levels aforementioned, based on the needs and context of the labour market and society.

    2. to specify and validate learning outcomes for nurse education in pharmaceutical care, which meet the learning needs of students, matched to the labour market and societal needs.

    3. to develop an assessment to evaluate competences in PC, as a guidance to evaluate nurse education, as a tool for nurse educators, for benchmarking, and nurse labour mobility.

    4. to create/strengthen an international network for PC in nursing, to collaborate on nurse education, research, practice and policy.

    5. A strong involvement of students, learning on research, education and policy in Europe. The partners’ strong connections are an excellent opportunity for students.

    6. to describe nurses’ role, nurse education and student nurses’ competences in interprofessional PC in the European partner countries, necessary to reach objectives 1-3, and allowing benchmarking, a clarification of differences and similarities, essential for international collaboration.


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  • ERASMUS+: PRECONCEPTION HEALTH OF YOUTH, bridging the gap in and through education (PreconNet)

    Duration of the project:

    1.9.2018 – 31.8.2021


    Lead Partner:

    Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland


    Team at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Assoc. Prof. Boštjan Žvanut, PhD

    Assist. Prof. Patrik Pucer, PhD

    Assist. Prof. Mirko Prosen, PhD


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Slovenia
    • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Health Sciences, Slovenia
    • VIVES University of Applied Sciences Brugge, Belgium
    • Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria


    The base of this project lies in a well-recognised challenge: The number of births in europe has decreased alarmingly during last 10 years and the first child is borned postponed to aged parents. The biology of fertility cannot adapt to this social trend and phenomena. The ageing of women connected with current male sperm quality crash is concerning everyone everywhere and actions need to be taken. There is a need for accurate situation assessmenr regarding sexual and reproductive health n each partner country. It is time to raise the level of fertility awareness throughout Europe. Implications of the project, however will be also for other European and non-European countries.


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  • ERASMUS+: Digital Education Initiatives and Timely Solutions (DIG-IT)

    Duration of the project:

    1.9.2019 – 31.8.2022


    Lead Partner:

    University of Malta


    Team at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Assist. Prof. Sabina Ličen, PhD

    Assist. Prof. Mirko Prosen, PhD

    Assist. Prof. Igor Karnjuš, PhD


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Slovenia
    • University of Cyprus,
    • La Sapienza University of Rome,
    • St. James Hospital Malta,
    • Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences,
    • University of Münster


    In the midst of rapid technological change, new approaches to education are being demanded. However, some academic staff still resist taking advantage of available technologies in their teaching, and several EU universities are much more technology enabled than others. Given evidence-based confirmation of benefits, robustness and academic rigour in online learning, why do some educators act as change blockers to new digital technology initiatives in higher educational reform?


    Although some of the resistance is ingrained in educators’ philosophical values and beliefs, the relevant literature and a needs analysis conducted with all Dig-It partners also identified the cost of and time required to design and learn how to design online study units and resources.  


    Some EU Universities offer robust online digital education courses and programs, while others lag behind offering few to no online learning opportunities. Immediately research is needed to determine how EU educators perceive adopting new technologies. There must also be intentional development of educational supports that help conversion to online curriculum.


    University and industry collaborations in workplace education are manifesting themselves as a competitive advantage due to complementary core competencies and new way of matching work and study, make study paths more versatile and, ultimately, secure and maintain better employment. The need for convenient, accessible, continuing education is not a problem exclusive to academic staff and the university industry. The healthcare sector has thousands of busy practitioners needing continuing education while trying to ensure patient safety.


    The purpose of this project is to:


    • correct the imbalance and inequity of digital education opportunities offered at EU universities to improve student learning opportunities, satisfaction and success in a digital world
    • provide solutions to the barriers preventing some educators from embracing technology to enhance teaching
    • explore how collaboration between the education and healthcare industries can pioneer innovative learning processes and accessibly, convenient continuing education
    • create an innovative partnership model of teaching and training that results in products of global interest and facilitates competitive, innovative institutions, teacher and trainers able to meet the needs of learners in the 21st century.


    The target group is approximately 5000 academic staff from universities in Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia, and Finland; and 1000 healthcare professionals and students from St. James Hospital who wish to participate in training to learn how to design, delivery and evaluate digital education.


    The mixed methods program evaluation of the nine-module online CE program will gain an understanding of how and to what degree EU academic staff and healthcare professionals learn and transfer learning to teaching. The findings of this evaluation will guide the optimization of the training in an effort to maximize the impact on practice and knowledge transfer. The delivery and evaluating of the program in a variety of EU countries will enable understanding with regard to geographic cultural and language impacts on digital education. A demographic survey, course transcripts, formative temperature checks, a post training summative quantitative survey and qualitative interviews will be used to obtain a full understanding of the interventions.


    The outputs include a digital education quality standard framework and companion assessment toolkit; a nine module online course to teach educators how to design, delivery and evaluate online digital education; a train-the-trainer online course, eBooks enabling mobile learning; and other resources such as exemplars. By being available at no costs to the general public through the websites of all partners these outputs will be utilised at a regional, national and international level.


    This project will support educators in transitioning from traditional teaching methods to integrating new digital technologies - an aim consistent with the commitment of the European Commission to support all members states. The collaboration between education healthcare and publishing industries will pioneer new learning processes and emerge into an innovative partnership model of teaching and training. This novel triangulated design and delivery of education products is of international interest in that it resonates with the concepts of inter-ministerial collaboration trans-sectorial cooperation and multidisciplinary operation which the advocates. Each partner will exit the project protected with dual faced armour – increased knowledge and skills, cutting edge resources and a collaborative network in digital education. Beyond the Partners the project will deliver an arena of quality resources related to digital education for public access that uniquely span healthcare education and publishing entities.


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  • COST action

    European network for development of electroporation-based technologies and treatments
    Acronym – EP4Bio2Med


    Prof. Damijan MIKLAVČIČ
    University of Ljubljana
    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Faculty of Electrical Engineering


    10.4.2012 - 9.4.2016


    73 partners


    Prof. Maja Cemazar, PhD


    Exposure of biological cells to a sufficiently strong external electric field results in increased permeability of cell membranes, referred to as electroporation. Since all types of cells (animal, plant and microorganisms) can be effectively electroporated, without addition of viral or chemical compounds, electroporation is considered to be a universal method and a platform technology. Electroporation has become a widely used technology applicable to e.g. cancer treatment, gene transfection, food and biomass rocessing, and microbial inactivation. However, despite significant progress of electroporation-based applications, there is a lack of coordination and interdisciplinary exchange of nowledge between researchers from different scientific domains. Thus, critical mass for new major breakthroughs is missing. This COST Action aims at: (i) providing ecessary steps towards EU cooperation of science and technology to foster basic understanding of electroporation, (ii) improving communication between EU research  groups, resulting in streamlining European R&D activities, and (iii) enabling further development of new and existing electroporation-based applications by integrating multidisciplinary research teams, as well as comprehensive training for Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs). Results of this COST Action will provide multiple societal, scientific, and technological benefits from improving existing electroporation-based applications and adding new ones in the field of medicine, biotechnology and environment reservation.

  • EU 7th Framework Programme: TRAFOON – Traditional Food Network to improve the transfer of knowledge for innovation

    Duration of the project:

    1. 1. 2014 – 31. 12. 2016


    Principal Coordinator of the EU FP7 Project TRAFOON:
    Susanne Braun, University of Hohenheim, Life Science Center


    Project Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Prof. dr. Peter Raspor, Dr.h.c.mult.


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • University of Hohenheim
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH
    • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek
    • University of Ljubljana Biotechnical Faculty
    • Uniwersytet Warminsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie
    • Instytut Rozrodu Zwierzat i Badan Zywnosci Polskiej Akademii Nauk
    • Zaklad Ichtiobiologii i Gospodarkirybackiej Polskiej Akademii Nauk
    • Instytut Ogrodnictwa
    • AquaTT UETP Ltd
    • University College Cork - National university of Ireland, Cork
    • Jihoceska Univerzita v Ceskych Budejovicich
    • Agencia Andaluza del Conociemento
    • Instituto Andaluz de Investigaciony Formacion Agraria Pesquera Alimentaria y de la Produccion Ecologica
    • Gabinete de gestion Integral de recursos SL
    • University of Belgrade - Faculty of Agriculture
    • Institut Mihajlo Pupin
    • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
    • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
    • Haute Ecole Specialisee de Suisse Occidentale
    • Eidgenössisches Department für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung
    • Alma Mater Studiorum - Universita di Bologna
    • Sociedade Portuguesa de inovacao - Consultadoria Empresarial e Fomento da Inovacao S.A.
    • European Business and Innovation Centre Network
    • ISEKI - Food Association
    • Fédération Européenne des Producteurs Aquacoles
    • Fundacion Citoliva Centro de innovacion y Tecnologia del Olivar y del Aceite
    • FoodDrinkEurope AISBL
    • Stichting Nederlands Bakkerij Centrum
    • Slow Food Associazione

    Link: TRAFOON


    In the European Union, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the food sector are increasingly under pressure due to the opening of markets, an increasing demand of standardized and price competitive food products by the consumers, the rising importance of large retailers, and the challenges of conforming to governmental regulations.
    These increased demands put at risk many traditional foods as well as traditional processing techniques still available today. SMEs using locally sourced raw materials and century-old recipes and processing methods are a cornerstone of the cultural identity of European regions. In the urban centers, groups of consumers are increasingly demanding traditional, local and/or organic food productions, as food scandals and the dispute on GMO undermine public confidence in industrial food producing systems. To economically survive and to partake in these modern consumer markets, SMEs producing traditional foods must extend their skills, both in terms of business development and production techniques, to comply with existing European regulations and to promote the aspects of their products related to nutrition and health.
    To support these traditional SMEs, TRAFOON has set sail in November 2013 to establish a knowledge transfer network with a focus on food products made of grains, fish, fruits, vegetables and mushrooms to support traditional food producing SMEs. The TRAFOON network will interlink researchers, knowledge transfer agents, and SME associations in 14 European countries to foster sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector of traditional foods for the benefit of the regions of Europe and the European consumer.


    This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 613912.


    Controlled surface structuring and surface functionalisation af advanced biomedical titanium alloys for orthopaedic implants: SURFUNCTI

    Duration of the project:
    1.2.2010 – 31.1.2013

    Principal investigator / researcher in Slovenia:
    Prof. Ingrid MILOŠEV,  PhD, Josef Stefan Institute (JSI), Slovenia 

    (Contact person at UP FHS: Prof. Andrej Cör, PhD)

    Project Coordinator:
    • Monica Mihaela Popa, PhD, Senior Researcher, rank II, Institute of Physical Chenistry "Ilie Murgulescu", Romanian Academy

    Consortium members:
    • Institute of Physical Chemistry (ICF), Romania (coordinator)
    • SC R&D Consulting and Services SRL (R&D), Romania (partner 2)
    • SC Tehnomed Impex CO S.A. (TMI), Romania (partner 3)
    • Josef Stefan Institute (JSI), Slovenia (partner 4)
    • University of Primorska (UP), College of Health Care Izola (CHCI), Slovenia (partner 5)


    State of the art. A biomaterial must have suited mechanical properties and interfacial biocompatibility in order to cause the appropriate and desirable biological response of the human body. Preliminary interactions between implanted materials and biological fluids are governed by surface properties. Therefore, the implant surface plays a decisive role in the response of the tissue to artificial medical devices. Recent studies have shown that changes in the surface topography at the nanoscale level improve the implant bioactivity, but those studies are in an early stage of research.
    Market needs. The surface treatments by mechanical techniques and plasma deposition used in actual orthopaedic titanium implants present important drawbacks such as poor stability of the bonding between the metal and the oxide layer, inability to cover porous implants and for the incorporation of active biological agents, the release of delaminated particulates and uncontrolled surface structure and composition at the nanoscale level; these issues translate into a limited, low average lifetime after the implant surgical insertion. The need of bioactive implants with rapid osseointegration and extended lifetime calls for the development of new implants with increased stimulation of cellular activity, high bioactivity and mechanical properties close to those of human bone.
    Overall objectives. The long-term objective of this project is the improvement of the life quality of the patients which will utilise the new advanced alloy, by better health conditions through the substitution of risky materials with non-toxic bioalloys. A durable development will be realised using high vacuum and green chemistry technologies. The new alloy will have a very long life time (more than 20 years) and so will realise an efficient use of material resources. The first objective is the synthesis (using environmentally friendly method) of new advanced and innovative bioalloy (original composition) for orthopaedic implants, based on non toxic elements, with high added value due to the increased corrosion resistance, biocompatibility and improved mechanical properties, close to those of the human bone. The second objective is the surface functionalisation by controlled application of surface treatments (original scientific contributions) using non-polluting and non-toxic chemical solution and electrochemical methods for the obtaining of nanoporous structures, with increased osseointegration ability and development of bone cells. Another objective is the complete and complex evaluation of the structural and functional characteristics (scientific novelties) correlated with the increase of the bioactivity. Multi and interdisciplinary original research will be oriented towards the knowledge of the phenomena and mechanisms, which permit the control of the processes at the biomaterial/tissue interface for the stimulation of the cell growth. Finally, verifying parameters for implant execution, a test lot, technology transfer, industrial implementation program to generate a new, competitive European product in a rapidly growing world market.
    Targeted innovation. Elaboration of a new alloy based on non-toxic elements Ti, Nb, Zr, which will ensure a very good biocompatibility and corrosion resistance. The surface structuring of this alloy will follow the hierarchy: (1) bioalloy with good corrosion resistance, mechanical, tribological properties; (2) micrometric oxide layer with strong adherence, controlled composition, morphology and micro-topography, realised by electrochemical routes; (3) nanoscale surface layer, with added functionality and optimized surface structure obtained by chemical treatments, leading to increased bioactivity.
    Expected results: demonstration of the biochemical and biomechanical compatibility of the new advanced bioalloy; determination of the osseointegration ability; rapid methods for obtaining predictable information about the behaviour of new surface functionalised alloy; original data bank for the users of the alloy with bioactive surface; test lot using advanced bioalloy with functionalised surface; design specifications for implant execution; industrial implementation planning; the formation of a trained European nucleus that covers the whole process from materials generation to physical, chemical and biological testing; 2 patents; 6 scientific papers; 7 conference presentations. Producing companies will use project results and will develop bioactive surfaces. New innovative and RD projects for implementation of the alloy fabrication into industrial units will be initiated.

  • Transregional Network for Innovation and Technology Transfer to Improve Health Care: TRANS2CARE

    Duration of the project:
    1.4.2011 – 30.9.2014

    Leading Partner:
    University of Trieste

    Project Partner 12:
    University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences

    • Team manager at UP FHS: Prof. Maja Cemazar, PhD
    • Researcher: Ana Petelin, PhD
    • Technical coordinator: Andreja Semolic

    The project partners

    • University of Trieste - Dept. of Life Sciences
    • National Institute of Chemistry - Laboratory of Chemometrics
    • International School for Advanced Studies - Laboratory of Prion Biology
    • University of Nova Gorica - Laboratory of Environmental Research
    • University of Ferrara - Experimental and Clinical Medicine Department
    • Agency for Innovation Treviso Chamber of Commerce
    • General hospital of Nova Gorica - Intensive Care Unit and Cardiology
    • University Ca’ Foscari Venice - Dept. Of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems
    • University of Udine - DISA and DSMB
    • Institute of Child Health IRCCS "Burlo Garofolo" Trieste
    • Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia
    • Valdoltra Orthopaedic Hospital
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences


    Trans2Care project involves and integrates the expertise of 13 research, education, healthcare and technology transfer Institutions.
    It aims at establishing a permanent, bi-directional flow of knowledge transfer among the project partners, industry and other stakeholders, so to establish an environment generating innovative products and services for the public healthcare system. In particular, the project addresses questions about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of widespread diseases.
    Innovations will be developed on the basis of unmet medical needs expressed by the healthcare personnel; they will be made possible thanks to the close interaction among researchers and industry, so translating scientific and technological expertise into products.
    These innovations will enable the improvement of healthcare system and the creation of new jobs for highly qualified young workers.
    The project will also aim to ensure the sustainability of the partnership beyond the end of its activities.


    Duration of the project ALMICROBHOL:

    2. 1. 2015 – 31.12.2016


    Lead Partner:


    Project Team Manager:



    Project Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    prof. Peter Raspor, PhD



    This study will contribute to provide an answer to a recently posed but unresolved question: Does alcohol consumption habit have any effect on the composition of the microbial communities in the gut? It is not unreasonable to think that it does have an influence. If this study shows that subjects with a high consumption of alcohol have a different microbiota profile that people who drink moderately or are abstemious —independently of their BMI, age, and other potential confounding factor—, it will be an evidence that alcohol has a new impact on health that had not been previously considered. This is the reason why two countries have been chosen to carry out this study: Spain from South Europe with the Mediterranean diet habit and Slovenia belonging to Eastern Europe. Since microbiota is believed to interact with different body organs and functions, it is relevant to provide wise advice regarding a safe alcohol drinking pattern in order to preserve our gut health and in extension, overall health. Thus, the results obtained from this study will help health professionals to improve nutritional and health status of the general population. In the future, the analysis of microbiota might become an easily, accessible, and cost-effective health marker related to lifestyle.

  • CO.N.S.E.N.SO: »COmmunity Nurse Supporting Elderly iN a changing SOciety« (Model of care for elderly in Alpinespace)

    Duration of the project:

    1. 1. 2016 – 30.6.2018


    Principal Coordinator of the CO.N.S.E.N.SO project:
    Giuliana Moda


    Project Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Tamara Štemberger Kolnik


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • Regione Piemonte Direzione Sanita
    • University of Primorska Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Azienda Sanitaria Locale Torino 1
    • Regione Luguria
    • Accademia Nazionale di Medicina
    • Départment du Var
    • Association pour le Développment des Entreprises et des Compétences
    • Inštitut RS za socialno varstvo
    • Amt der Kärntner Landesregierung
    • European Center of Entrepreneurship Competence&Excellence
    Project web site:



    European population’s ageing challenges health and social services. Cooperation in several welfare sectors is required, since the demographic change involves both health and social issues. CO.N.S.E.N.SO project accepts the challenge by developing a care model that puts the elderly at the centre of health and social services. It builds on the pivotal role of the Family and Community Nurse (FCN). The FCN plays an innovative role, becoming the key actor who shapes and manages personalised services for the elderly and their families, particularly those living in isolated areas. The model aims to allow the elderly to live at home as long as possible: through periodical visits the FCN will evaluate their risk factors, manage minor health and social needs and promote healthier lifestyles. In selected Alpine communities the project will validate a model of transnational governance of processes required to deliver healthcare, prevention and active ageing. Families will benefit from reduced elderly home assistance and Regional Authorities will see a reduction of social and health costs. The project will also build capacity within the social economy by proposing innovative business models. The Alpine space, characterised by significant differences in healthcare models and cultures, is the ideal test area of a simple concept: a model of care that maximises the effect of the human relationship between the elderly and dedicated professionals.

    • Project global budget: 2.052.400 EUR.
    • The financial support (amount and ERDF claim): 1.744.542,98 EUR.




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    Image result for znak pdfLa tua casa è il posto migliore per invecchiare

  • EU MENU Slovenia (“Support to National Dietary Surveys in Compliance with the EU Menu methodology – fourth support” - LOT2)

    Duration of the project:

    1. 1. 2015 – 9.6.2019


    Lead Partner:
    National Institute of Public Health


    Project Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Assist. Prof. Tamara Poklar Vatovec, PhD


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • Jožef Stefan Institute
    • University edical Centre Ljubljana
    • UP Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Pediatric Clinic
    • UL Biotechnical Faculty
    • Institute of Nutrition
    • UL Faculty of Education
    • UM Faculty of Health Sciences


    Slovenia ended 2013 with the population of 2,061,000 with 21,111 new-borns. Density population in 2013 was 102 people per square km. By a decree of 2000 Slovenia has been divided into 12 statistical regions (NUTS level 3), which are grouped in two cohesion regions (NUTS level 2, Western and Eastern Slovenia). Slovene cuisine has over 30 different regional varieties, influenced greatly by Slovenia's neighbouring countries, which reflect in variety of dietary patterns among Slovene population.

    Slovenia is dealing with very limited amount of available precise data sources regarding food consumption, particularly for elderly as well as for children, especially infants. Early nutrition has important long -term effects on health and wellbeing in adulthood.

    Food consumption data are very useful for public health concerns but not precise enough for risk assessment or for determining micronutrient intakes. Also, food consumption studies carried out in previous years used different methodologies, and are therefore often not comparable. Some relevant data on adult population has been collected by the national dietary study “Dietary habits of the adult population of Slovenia in terms of health protection II” in 2007/2008 and provided to the EFSA (Collaboration agreement for the provision and processing of data DPPA/EFSA/DATEX/2009/02) (Gabrijelčič Blenkuš et al, 2009).

    National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) has a mandate to perform a national representative food consumption surveys. NIJZ is the central Slovenian institution for public health practice, research and education. Their academic staff works on various tasks covering the areas of epidemiology of communicable and non-communicable diseases, health promotion, health system research and national coordination of prevention programs in primary health care. 

    NIJZ is also a national statistical authority for health statistics, so the national rules for the treatment of confidential data apply. NIJZ maintains large databases on hospital discharges, out-patient visits, causes of deaths registry, birth medical registry, environmental statistics, communicable diseases statistics, data on vaccinations, illegal drug users, etc., and implements large scale international surveys, such as Health Behaviour of School-aged Children, European Health Interview Survey, as well as national surveys in the field of public health: Breastfeeding, Smoking among nurses, etc. At the same time, NIJZ serves as the authorised producer within the national system of official statistics, responsible for the statistics of public health and safety at work.

    In addition, NIJZ focuses on public health in relation to human nutrition, healthy lifestyle promotion and education, risk assessment, risk communication and environmental health. NIJZ activities include development and coordination of health promotion programs, education, research, scientifically based risk assessments and advisory services to Slovenian and international authorities. NIJZ regularly monitors food consumption patterns, food and nutrient intakes, carries out nutrition surveys, elaborates and updates dietary guidelines, organizes public health projects and takes part in the decision making process of food and nutrition policies both at national and international levels.

    Slovenia adopted the Resolution on the national nutritional policy programme 2005 -2010 (ReNNPP 2005-10). As part of the preparatory process for a new policy, an evaluation of the nutrition policy in 2005 to 2010 was carried out in 2010 and one of the next steps in preparation of new national food and nutrition policy for next decade should be the development of measurable indicators which would enable interim evaluation of the future nutrition and food policy implementation. The existing information and data system in this area should be upgraded to assure the data needed, which is one of the important objectives of the new policy.

    In this context the consortium of partners has been established to align the interests and principles of work and share the research knowledge in the field of nutrition studies. Consortium of  partners agrees that national food consumption data on individual level, data on dietary habits, and dietary intake for specific population groups in Slovenia are the necessary basis for planning forthcoming activities and measures, which are a source of research information and support national policy makers in their decisions. National food consumption data on the individual level are one of the priorities in food safety as an important basis for reliable and accurate estimates of exposure. In this field NIJZ is working in close collaboration with “Jožef Stefan” Institute (IJS), as a dietary software developer. IJS is the leading Slovenian scientific research institute, covering a broad spectrum of basic and applied research. The main subject concerns production and control technologies, information, communication (ICT) and knowledge technologies, biotechnologies, new materials, environmental technologies, nanotechnologies, and nuclear engineering. The Institute accumulates and disseminates knowledge through the pursuit of research, development, and education at the highest international level of excellence.

    Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia has designated the NIJZ with the support of consortium partners as the national competent organization for nutrition research and dietary survey in compliance with the EU Menu methodology in Slovenia.

  • EXPLOREDU: System for the identification, management and re-use information on educational events and freely accessible educational content in Slovenia and the world

    1. 11. 2014 – 30. 9. 2015


    Project leader at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Assist. Prof. Boštjan Žvanut, PhD


    Project partners:
    - Jožef Stefan Institute
    - UP Faculty of Management
    - UP Faculty of Health Sciences



    ExplorEdu will:

        - allow open access to all collected freely accessible educational resources of different modalities (text, numeric, video, graphs, structured knowledge)
        - offer a range of innovative services based semantic technologies for comprehensive empirical analysis of the Slovenian freely accessible educational resources as an in-depth search for text and video analysis of events in the Slovenian educational environment, including the competence graphs, collaborative graphs, predictions, trends and simulations, as well as tools for capturing assembly, reuse and optimization of educational content
        - allow bi-directional data transfers between existing services such as SIO data base (with local educational data)
        - enable integration between databases States initiatives OpeningupSlovenia, VideoLectures.Net, scienceatlas.si and ist-world.org,
        - allow open access to other services such as Internet portal SIO portal, portals of educational institutions,...with the aim of promoting wider Slovenian freely accessible educational content.

  • EATMOT Psycho-social motivations associated with food choices and eating practices

    Reference: PROJ/CI&DETS/2016/0008 & PROJ/CI&DETS/CGD/0012

    Title: Psycho-social motivations associated with food choices and eating practices (EATMOT)

    Web site: https://raquelguine.wixsite.com/eatmot


    Duration: 1 June 2016 - 31 December 2018


    Project Coordinator: Raquel Guiné (Coordinating Professor, PhD)


    Coordinator in Slovenia: Maša Černelič-Bizjak, PhD


    Team members at UP Faculty of Health Sciences: Mojca Stubelj, PhD, Ana Petelin, PhD, Zala Jenko-Pražnikar, PhD

    Countries involved: 

    Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, United States of America.


    The role of food as a valuable ally to maintain a good health status and prevent or treat diseases has been well established nowadays, through countless scientific studies. Excess of fats, particularly saturated and trans fats, sugars or salt have been associated with many chronic diseases. Also the insufficient ingestion of fruits and vegetables, as a result of modern trends towards consumption of high levels of processed convenience foods, results in deficiencies in vitamins, dietary minerals, dietary fibres, bioactive substances such as for example antioxidants, among other extremely important food constituents. The human behaviours regarding foods are linked to a number of factors either of sociological nature or of psychological nature. Hence, the aim of this project is to undertake a study about the different psychic and social motivations that determine people’s eating patterns, either in relation to their choices or eating habits. To do this, factors linked to food choices will be evaluated in the following main areas: health motivations; economic factors; emotional aspects; cultural influences; marketing and commercials or environmental concerns. The study will be based on a questionnaire that will be prepared purposely for the project, and therefore adequate to evaluate the aspects that determine the objectives highlighted. The range of the study will be multinational, including different countries so as to gather information on a trans-frontier scale, that will be most valuable to produce relevant scientific outputs as well as directives that could be used in each of the countries to improve eating habits towards healthier diets.


  • INTEGRA: Cross border network for migrant women : sexual and reproductive health and social integration

    Duration of the project:

    1.10.2017 – 31.3.2019


    Lead Partner:

    University of Trieste


    Project Team Manager:
    Prof. Giovanni Delli Zotti


    Project Team Manager at UP Faculty of Health Sciences:
    Assist. Prof. Mirko Prosen, PhD


    Collaborating parties / partners:

    • University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences, Slovenia
    • Gynaecological and Maternity Hospital Postojna
    • Hospital Burlo Garofalo Trieste

    Associate Partner: 

    ANOLF - National Association Over The Borders     



    • The project addresses the less studied topic of protecting the sexual and reproductive health of migrant women coming from cultures with strong patriarchal patterns.
    • The overall goal of the project is to increase the knowledge and cross-border cooperation of health professionals on the topic of sexual and reproductive health of migrant women, developing the index of sexual and reproductive health and developing common guidelines. The use of a common protocol for action will enable healthcare professionals to tackle this issue in the cross-border area.

    • Project global budget: 611.072,85 EUR


Monika Santorini, študentka dietetike
“Undergraduate nursing study programme at UP FHS is very dynamic and varied. In addition to lectures, which give us the theoretical basis , newly acquired knowledge can be advantageously used in clinical training and later in our work. If you are interested in working with people and healthcare, this is the study for you!” - Mirko Ilić, Undergraduate Nursing Student
Monika Santorini, študentka dietetike
“I decided to study dietetics because this field is very promising . Nowadays we are faced with the " obesity epidemic " and we could say that "We are what we eat". Also, this is the only study in Slovenia in the field of nutritional counselling. Studying on the beutiful Slovenian coast is just another plus. If you are interested in gaining knowledge for helping people achieving a healthier life style, than studying Nutritional counselling is right for you.” - Žan Virtnik, Undergraduate Nutritional counseling - dietetics student
Monika Santorini, študentka dietetike
“I started studying at the Faculty of Health Sciences because I was attracted by the study programme Nutritional counselling - Dietetics . At first I did not know what competences and knowledge the degree in Dietetics will bring me, but shortly after visiting the Faculty for the firs time I decided that this was the right study for me. During the study I learned about the impact of food on the human body and why it is important to eat fresh and high quality food. I am satisfied with my decision and studying on the coast also has its charms.” - Nina Medved, Undergraduate Nutritional counseling - dietetics student

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