Department of Medical Biology

Department of Medical Biology

 

Organization Department of Medical Biology is a multidisciplinary department whose mission is to connect clinical and basic medical science using experimental models in the so-called translation medicine.

We divided our Department into three organization units: 1. Breeding and experimental facility for laboratory mice 2. Laboratory for cell culture and virology 3. Laboratory for experimental medicine and cell biology

Guided by the idea of ​​strengthening the capacity of the Department we signed the agreement on bilateral cooperation between the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka and Faculty of Medicine, University of Mostar. This agreement was co-signed by the deans of appointed institutions including prof. Stipan Jonjić and prof. Jurica Arapović who are coordinators of research studying the effect of congenital cytomegalovirus infection in the brain.

1. Breeding and experimental facility for laboratory mice

In cooperation with Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, breeding capacities will be enriched with a dozen conventional and transgenic mouse strains. Head and coordinator of Breeding and experimental facility at Faculty of Medicine is certified to work with experimental animals Category III (FELASA cat. C equivalent) at European level and by all European standards capable of guiding and monitoring the facility for breeding and experimental work with lab animals. The aim of this organizational unit is to give doctoral students and other researchers the opportunity to explore murine experimental models in compliance with all ethical and research standards of Faculty of Medicine and the Law on Animal Welfare of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2. Laboratory for cell culture and virology

Members of the Department gained an international reputation among the world’s prominent scientists in the framework of cooperation on prof. Jonjić’s projects. Scientific research of employees of the Department is closely linked to research in the field of basic and applied biomedical science in the field of immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases, with an emphasis on researching various aspects of cytomegalovirus immunopathogenesis. The laboratory allows cultivation of primary and secondary cell cultures and aseptic operation in the so-called biosafety level two (BSL 2) conditions. In addition to growing cell lines, this laboratory will enable working with infected cell cultures and in vitro production of viruses and bacteria, as wll as various aspects of in vitro infection.

  1. Laboratory for experimental medicine and cell biology

This Laboratory is a multidisciplinary laboratory that combines in vitro and in vivo experimental models. It also enables exploration of all aspects of medical biology including molecular techniques such as ELISA, PCR, electrophoresis of DNA and proteins and flow cytometry.
Main focus of research

Primary research interest of the Department is studying of various aspects of the biology and immunopathogenesis of viral and bacterial infections, with particular interest in studying zoonosis and herpes viral infections. Main focus of current research conducted by our Department is cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections which are the most common infectious cause of congenital neurological damage. Such disorders primarily include impaired cognitive lag up to severe hearing loss and damage during the development of the central nervous system which is characterized by the formation of periventricular leukomalacia, periventricular calcification (linear or dotted), ventriculomegalia, neuronal migration abnormality and vasculitis. Although available on free market, treatment with specific antiviral drugs is not recommended because these drugs are toxic and teratogenic and are not approved by medical agencies of the United States and EU for the treatment of CMV infection in pregnant women. Therefore, development of potential vaccine is of great importance because it could reduce the incidence of primary infection of pregnant women and in this way it would prevent the development of CMV congenital infection. The study of mechanisms by which T cells mediate immunopathogenesis after congenital CMV infection in the brain is currently the most important area in this study. Today there are no adequate human model studies for CMV disease. Since CMV is species specific, the research is mainly conducted on experimental models such as mice. The long-term significance of our research is to develop effective tools to fight CMV infections. Understanding the mechanisms by which immune cells mediate control of CMV infection should further contribute to the development of strategies for the prevention and treatment of viral infections. In collaboration with prof. Jonjić, we will carry out research of mechanisms by which immune cells mediate the pathogenesis of infection in the brain, which we consider to be of great importance for the development of viral immunobiology field, especially immune control of CMV in the brain and disorders of brain development during CMV infection. The second part of this research has focus on various aspects of immunopathogenesis by which CMV avoids the immune response. Third part of the research includes multidisciplinary collaboration between University Clinical Hospital Mostar, Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine in Mostar and the University of Alabama (USA). This clinical research of congenital CMV infection will provide new knowledge about seroprevalence and incidence of congenital CMV infections in Herzegovina.