Title: Full Professor
university integrated undergraduate and graduate
Mladen Krajacic is a Tenured Full Professor at the University of Zagreb (Department of Biology). He received his PhD in Virology at the University of Zagreb. As a Head of Laboratory and principal investigator in several research projects, he has been leading the molecular biology investigations on viruses, subviral agents (viroids and satellite RNAs) and non-cultivable bacteria. Results of his investigations have been published in prominent scientific journals, of which some belong to top 10% in the field. In those journals, he has regularly been invited to be a reviewer. In the scope of a research experience, he contributed with a number of international conference titles, including the invited ones. He was supervising number of young research fellows who have received positions at well recognised institutions across the world.
He has hold different positions at the Department and Faculty level (Vice-head and Head of Department, Vice-dean of the Faculty of Science). In 2010 he founded the Division of Microbiology in the scope of the Department of Biology. He was a member of the University Council for Natural Sciences, as well as the Biology Board at the National Scientific Council.
He has a long lasting experience in evaluation of academic/research institutions, study programmes, and research grants, serving as an evaluator on both national and international level.
Involved in a number of courses at all the academic levels, he was awarded in 2012 as an outstanding lecturer in biology (Srecko Jelenic Award).
Beside his research carrier, he has been involved, for many years, in popularisation of science, giving a huge number of public talks in molecular biology and microbiology. Furthermore, he has co-authored several text-books in biology for secondary school pupils.
The most prominent scientific achievements
During the last 15 years, he has been dedicated to chromatography on monolithic supports and its application in separation of viral and subviral ribonucleic acids, as well as virus particles. By pioneering in RNA monolith chromatography, his team accomplished the first separation of RNA molecules differing in secondary/tertiary structure (J Chromatogr A 2007, 1144, 111-119).
Figure 1. The first chromatographic separation of RNA molecules, (both Cucumber mosaic virus and associated satellite single-stranded genomic, and double-stranded replicative forms, E1-E5 respectively) differing in secondary/tertiary structure (J Chromatogr A 2007, 1144, 111-119).
Later, he was leading the first chromatographic separation of mixed viruses from one another (J Chromatogr A 2015, 16, 1474-1480). International high-tech company BIA Separations, the leader in monolithic supports development and production, considered that as a state-of-the-art achievement in the field.
In the last original paper, it has been demonstrated how easy would it be to create targeted capsid modifications, consequently, to provoke adenovirus chromatographic shift from an interfering material (J Sep Sci 2016, 39(22), 4299-4304). By this proof of principle, the authors wanted to share an idea that there is a plenty of possibilities to “play” with an adenovirus vector, important in gene therapy trials, in order to improve its “chromatographic separability”, not only its therapeutic functionality. The abstract of the paper, together with some supplementary material, was selected to be republished in the Biomedical Advances review.
Figure 2. A shift in the chromatographic retention time of the unassembled hexon protein (E3), but not of the virion fraction (E5), obtained for “funny” double recombinant of the Adenovirus type 5 – a cancelation of the opposing effects, provoked by each single modification that make retention time shortened and prolonged, respectively. A proof of principle – rearrangement of adenovirus vector, extremely important in gene therapy trials (J Sep Sci 2016, 39(22), 4299-4304).
For his recognised contribution to the topic, he has been invited to prepare a review article “Application of monolithic chromatographic supports in virus research” for the Electrophoresis journal – the Special Issue, dedicated to monolith chromatography.
Figure 3. The first separation of mixed viruses from each other - the cover image of the Electrophoresis journal (Electrophoresis 2017, 38 (22-23), 2827-2836), chaperoning the review article “Application of monolithic chromatographic supports in virus research”.
Krajacic M, Ravnikar M, Strancar A, Gutiérrez-Aguirre (2017) Application of monolithic chromatographic supports in virus research. Electrophoresis 38 (22-23) 2827-2836 [review]
Ruscic J, Ambriovic-Ristov A, Majhen D, Kolundzija S, Barut M, Benihoud K, Krajacic M (2016) Manipulating adenoviral vector ion-exchange chromatography: hexon vs fiber. J Sep Sci 39(22), 4299-4304
Ruscic J, Gutierrez-Aguirre I, Tusek Žnidarič M, Kolundžija S, Slana A, Barut M, Ravnikar M, Krajacic M (2015) A new application of monolithic supports: The separation of viruses from one another. J Chromatogr A 1388, 69-78
Ruscic J, Gutierrez-Aguirre I, Urbas L, Kramberger P, Mehle N, Skoric D, Barut M, Ravnikar M, Krajacic M (2013) A novel application of methacrylate based short monolithic columns: Concentrating Potato spindle tuber viroid from water samples. J Chromatogr A 1274, 129-136
Ćurković Perica M, Šola I, Urbas L, Smrekar F, Krajačić M (2009) Separation of hypoviral double-stranded RNA on monolithic chromatographic supports. J Chromatogr A 1216, 2712-2716
Černi S, Ruščić J, Nolasco G, Gatin Ž, Krajačić M, Škorić D (2008) Stem pitting and seedling yellows symptoms of Citrus tristeza virus infection may be determined by minor sequence variants. Virus Genes 36, 241-249
Likić S, Rusak G, Krajačić M (2008) Separation of plant viral satellite double-stranded RNA using high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr A 1189, 451-455
Šeruga Musić M, Krajačić M, Škorić D (2008) The use of SSCP analysis in the assessment of phytoplasma gene variability. J Microbiol Meth 73, 69-72
Krajačić M, Ivančić-Jelečki J, Forčić D, Vrdoljak A, Škorić D (2007) Purification of plant viral and satellite double-stranded RNAs on DEAE monoliths. J Chromatogr A 1144, 111-119
Rusak G, Krajačić M, Pleše N, (1997) Inhibition of tomato bushy stunt virus infection using a quercetagetin flavonoid isolated from Centaurea rupestris L. Antiviral Research 36, 125-129
Rana G L, Krajačić M, Štefanac Z, Pleše N, Rubino L, Miličić D, (1987) Properties of a new strain of tobacco streak virus from Clematis vitalba (Ranunculaceae). Ann. appl. Biol. 111, 153-160
Investigator in research projects:
Understanding cell entry pathway of Adenovirus type 26: way of improving vaccine vectors 2014- (Croatian Science Foundation)
Principal investigator in research projects:
2010-2012 Separation of viroids and filamentous plant viruses using monolithic chromatographic supports (bilateral Slovenian-Croatian project)
2007-2012 Molecular diversity of plant pathogens (National Ministry of Science)
2002-2006 Plant viruses, subviral agents and phytoplasmas (National Ministry of Science)
1997-1999 Molecular detection and identification of phytoplasmas – causal agents of grapevine diseases (National Ministry of Science, National Ministry of Agriculture)
1995-1998 Virus disease on tomato in the Neretva river valley (National Ministry of Science and National Ministry of Regional Development)
Employment and Academic Functions
2020- Scientific Advisor and Guest Professor, Tbilisi Medical Academy, Georgia
2013-2017 Member of the University Council for Natural Sciences
2012-2014 Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science
2010 Founder and Head of the Division of Microbiology at the Department of Biology
2009-2013 Member of the Biology Board at the National Scientific Council of Croatia
2009 Full Professor, University of Zagreb
2008 Senior Scientific Advisor
2000-2002 Head of the Department of Biology
1998 Associate Professor
1997-2000 Deputy-Head of the Department of Biology
1995 Assistant Professor
1993 Research Associate
1984 Research Assistant, University of Zagreb