University of Ljubljana

 

The University of Ljubljana (UL) was founded in 1919 and currently has 23 faculties and three arts academies. Ever since its foundation, the UL has been the largest and highest quality Slovenian scientific and research organization, and recognized as such by the international scientific community. Its research and artistic activities are carried out at faculties and academies covering all research and artistic fields. More than 3,500 researchers are working at the UL, and according to data from the database Web of Knowledge, Thomson-Reuters, university teachers and researchers of the University of Ljubljana regularly contribute almost 50% of all internationally acclaimed scientific publications from the Republic of Slovenia. In recent years, the UL has ranked in the upper three percent according to Times Higher Education World University Rankings and among the top 500 research universities in the world according to Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities. It is also high ranked according to international response (quotations in scientific publications).


The UL is active in international research and educational programmes and projects, especially in the EU Framework Programmes (FP7, H2020) where in terms of the number of research projects it ranks among the top of universities and research organizations from the new EU Member States (EU 13). By participating in development projects financed with EU Structural Funds, the UL contributes significantly to the infrastructure development, structural change and economic development of Slovenia. The UL offers researchers an excellent research environment and modern research equipment for the development of breakthrough achievements and innovations.
 

The COGDEC work at the UL is coordinated by the Faculty of Medicine, with participating laboratories from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and the Faculty of Arts.

FACULTY OF MEDICINE

The Centre for Clinical Physiology, led by prof. Dušan Šuput, includes the infrastructural Centre for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (CMRIS) with a focus on structural and functional human brain changes in different personality traits and in neurodegenerative brain disorders (NBD) with dementia. CMRIS introduced, at the UL, several MR techniques including DWI, DTI, fMRI in long-term motor learning in NBD, semiautomatic signature-based segmentation in AFNI, multilevel model for analysis of DWI data, STEAM and PRESS MR spectroscopy (MRS), advanced MRS with spectral editing technique MEGA-PRESS, application of advanced fat-suppression and water-suppression algorithms, use of endogenous contrast agents, e.g. neuromelanin, to develop a PD biomarker and voxel-based and prior-based segmentation of morphological MR data. CMRIS has a state-of-the art 3T Philips Achieva MR scanner, optimised for human brain research.

Chair of Neurology, led by prof. Zvezdan Pirtošek, is tightly integrated with University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Department of Neurology. Together they form a teaching, research-oriented hospital located in Ljubljana, which is the largest centre dedicated to improving neurological health in the country. The Centre for Cognitive Impairments and Centre for Extrapyramidal Disorders at Department of Neurology are the points of referral for people with a possible diagnosis of dementia and movement disorders (mainly Parkinson’s disease and related conditions) from general  practitioners and  other specialized  medical services in Slovenia.

 

Major activity of the Centre for cognitive impairments is the professional treatment of patients with dementia, especially those who have atypical, reversible, rapidly progressive, or early onset dementias as well as of patients in whom dementia is a concomitant disease. The objective of the centre is to offer a responsive service to  aid early identification of  the dementia, including a full range of assessment, diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitation services to accommodate the needs of people with different types and severities of dementia and the needs of their caregivers in partnership with local health, social care, and voluntary organizations. Another important role of the Centre is its research activity, in cooperation with the staff and capacities of the departmental research laboratories. Centre is also a member of European Consortium for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

The Laboratory for Clinical Neuroscience at Department of Neurology is involved in treatment and research of pathophysiology of different neurological and psychiatric disorders. It includes different research laboratories - Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory (TMS) and EEG laboratory perform electrophysiological, TMS, and MRI (structural, diffusion and functional) data analyses, with a particular interest in the topics of causal understanding of mechanisms of brain disorders and adaptive plasticity in early clinical stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Gait laboratory performs movement and gait analyses. Laboratory for CSF diagnostics provides analytical services for the whole Neurology Clinic, UMCL, as well as for outside institutions all over the country. It conducts standard CSF examinations, including cytology, total protein content, glucose and lactate concentration and is specialized in oligoclonal bands determination and quantification of CSF dementia biomarkers (amyloid-β42, tau, p-tau). Additionally, laboratory is involved in research activities that foster broadening of its diagnostic biomarker panel (protocols for determination of alpha-synuclein and neurofilament light  chain  are currently under implementation). Laboratory for CSF diagnostics within Centre for Cognitive impairments collaborated in the BIOMARKAPD (2012–2015) consortium. The consortium developed evidence-based guidelines for the measurement and use of biochemical biomarkers for Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) in clinical practice. The members of BIOMARKPAD continued their work as the "CSF Society", to reach standardisation of AD and PD biomarkers all across Europe.

FACULTY OF MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS

 

The Medical Physics Research Group at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, led by prof. Robert Jeraj, is structured around three key programme pillars: Imaging, Therapy and Modelling. An overall aim of these pillars is to improve practice of medicine by developing better imaging and treatment technologies, and helping to advance our understanding of the complexity of disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases. Of particular importance for the tasks in the proposal is experience with the quantitative PET image analysis that includes scanner harmonization procedures that enables absolute physical image quantification, tracer kinetic modelling, and analyses that are based on image spatial patterns. Additionally, the Medical Physics research group has extensive experience with imaging data management.

 

FACULTY OF ARTS

 

Mind & Brain Lab at Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, led by prof. Grega Repovš, is a cognitive neuroscience research laboratory.The lab is dedicated to research related to basic processes of human cognition, like executive functions and memory, focusing especially on spatial and working memory and cognitive control in health and brain disorders. The lab also develops research and diagnostic tools and instruments, and provides basic support services for research in cognitive neuroscience. It operates in close collaboration with Institute for Clinical Neurophysiology and Department of Neurology at University Medical Centre Ljubljana. The work in the lab is carried out by graduate and undergraduate students as well as collaborators with overlapping research interest from other organizations. Besides scientific research the lab organizes occasional educational workshops on the use of research equipment and software tools for experimental control and data analyses.