The Faculty of Science of the University of Zagreb is organizing the Faculty of Science PhD Student Symposium for the sixth time. The Symposium will take place in a spring term: from April 23 to April 24, 2022. It will be held in one of the following three ways: in person (at the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science), as a hybrid model (part of the participants in person, part online), or completely online, depending on the epidemiological situation at the time of the Symposium.

Participation in the Symposium can be evaluated with ECTS credits according to the decision of the competent council of doctoral studies.

We are looking forward to welcoming you, building new collaborations and to a constructive scientific exchange!


Scientific Committee of the Symposium:

assoc. prof. dr. sc. M. Đaković, Vice Dean for Science and Doctoral Studies, assoc. prof. dr. sc. P. Korać, assoc. prof. dr. sc. A. Lukić, prof. dr. sc. E. Marušić-Paloka, prof. dr. sc. P. Novak, assoc. prof. dr. sc. Đ. Pezelj, ass. prof. dr. sc. K. Pikelj, prof. dr. sc. V. Smolčić

Author: Zuzana Redžović
Thank you to our Symposium sponsors 2021

We would like to thank the sponsors who recognized the importance of the 5th Faculty of Science PhD Student Symposium by supporting its organization, with the hope that even stronger cooperation will be achieved in the coming years. At the bottom of the page, in the Repository, you can find the Sponsors brochure of this year's Symposium.

The following legal entities responded to the invitation for sponsorship:

- in the role of Gold sponsors are: Fidelta Ltd., KEFO Ltd., Oikon Ltd. and The Zagreb Tourist Board
- in the role of Silver sponsors are: BICRO BIOCentar Ltd., Ericsson Nikola Tesla Group, i-tlc Ltd. and KPMG Croatia Ltd.
- in the role of Bronze sponsors: Primalab Ltd. and Shimadzu Ltd.

Author: Zuzana Redžović
Workshop leader - Dr. sc. Jelena...

Our third workshop leader is dr. sc. Jelena Čulić-Viskota - she received her PhD from the Caltech Institute in California, and today works at Intel Corporation in the United States. She will give a talk titled: ''Career in industry- key skills and mindset for success''. 

Dr. sc. Jelena Čulić-Viskota, PMP, is a Strategic Test Planner for Intel Corporation. She is responsible for determining the technical and economical feasibility of manufacturing of Intel’s client segment semiconductor packages and ensuring strategic technical capabilities development. After completing her high school education from MIOC, Split she moved to NYC to complete a Bachelor’s Chemical Engineering degree from NYU Poly. She holds a MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech, Pasadena (California) in the area of synthesis and functionalization of nanoparticles for biological imaging implementation. Her professional career experience has all been minted at Intel Corporation, working in a variety of different roles- with a focus on thermal management, process development and program management of a number of backend test manufacturing processes in semiconductor development. Jelena holds a number of patents and publications (some that are only open to a subset of Intel Employees). Jelena is actively involved in Project Management (PMP) Certification training and believes that growth mindset is one’s road to success.

Author: Zuzana Redžović

Dear participants of the Symposium,

we inform you that the Symposium program has been published and you can find it at the bottom of this page in the Repository.

Author: Zuzana Redžović

Our bodies are built from around 100 trillion individual cells, each of which contains 46 chromosomes that carry our genetic material. This enormous number of cells originates from a single cell that is the product of fertilization of an egg with a sperm. Thus, cell division is one of the most fundamental processes in the living world. At the onset of division the cell assembles the mitotic spindle, a fascinating and complex micro-machine made of microtubules and the accompanying proteins. The microtubules move the chromosomes around and finally line them up in the middle of the spindle. When all chromosomes are ready, sister chromatids are moved apart towards the opposite spindle poles. The central question in this field of research is how the mitotic spindle manages to divide chromosomes into two equal sets without errors. Understanding how proper chromosome segregation is achieved in cells and how it is controlled will help to identify new strategies for prevention and treatment of diseases such as cancer and genetic disorders caused by chromosome segregation errors. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, in which we combine cell and molecular biology, molecular genetics, cutting-edge microscopy, laser microsurgery, computer science and theoretical physics, my group explores how the mitotic spindle self-assembles and how forces that move the chromosomes are generated.

Author: Marija Čuić

A stent is a mesh that is placed in a narrowed or closed part of a blood vessel to keep the vessel open to restore normal blood flow. There are dozens of stents on the market with a very complex structure and of different sizes, geometries, and then mechanical properties. Testing and designing stents that will meet the prescribed mechanical constraints can be a very demanding task. However, there is a very efficient way for this task, and it is based on the use of a reliable and simple mathematical model. In this talk I will present the path to such a model, and emphasise opportunities it provides. Numerical approximation of the solution of the model allows us to build simulations that can lead us to different conclusions about the global properties of the stent without producing it. Moreover, the simulations allow us to go a step further and look for stents that are optimal in some sense. Thus, on the example of stents, I will approach the three cornerstones for new technologies: modeling, simulation and optimization. 

Author: Marija Čuić

Understanding how galaxies form in the early universe and their subsequent evolution through cosmic time is a major goal of modern astrophysics. Panchromatic look-back sky surveys significantly advanced the field in the past decades, leading to a general understanding of galaxy evolution. In the talk I will go through the concepts and results of galaxy evolution studies. 

Author: Marija Čuić

Seismology is very young discipline which stands out among sciences by several traits (e.g. the extremely large range of amplitudes and periods of ground motion it studies). It also has three faces – the research one (physics of the Earth's interior), the professional face (recording, locating and cataloguing earthquakes), and the one that deals with seismic hazard assessment and the ways to mitigate seismic risk. Related to these is its distinct multidisciplinarity and the need for close cooperation with various professions. Besides the expected physics and mathematics, there are also: geology, civil engineering, geodesy, but also professions such as history, linguistics or archiving. 

In the lecture, I will look at how this collaboration materialized during the 2020/2021 earthquake series near Zagreb (ML = 5.5) and Petrinja (ML = 6.2). Joint research with geologists related to locating aftershocks and determining the causal fault will be described, as well as cooperation with colleague geodesists in interpreting the satellite radar measurements (InSAR). The research on the historical seismicity to quantify past important earthquakes that are important in earthquake hazard assessment will be also briefly discussed. 

Author: Marija Čuić
Workshop leader - Dr. sc. Paula Dobrinić

Our second workshop leader is dr. sc. Paula Dobrinić, currently a postdoc at the Univeristy of Oxford, who will give a talk titled: ''Careers Beyond Academia: Experience from the University of Oxford''. 

dr. sc. Paula Dobrinić earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in molecular biology from the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. In 2016 she received her doctorate in biology from the same institution. As a part of her PhD research she developed a molecular tool for targeted DNA methylation based on the CRISPR/Cas9 system, which can be used to study mechanisms of mammalian gene expression regulation. Since 2017 she has been working as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Her research in the group of Prof. Rob Klose has been focusing on understanding the mechanisms of Polycomb-mediated gene regulation in mammals. She co-authored several research papers published in high-impact journals. Although she started her career as a lab-based scientist, she has gradually transitioned into computational genomics. Now she is looking to use that expertise in applied research outside of academia.

Author: Marija Čuić
Workshop leader - Dr. sc. Dejan Vinković

As part of the Symposium, a set of workshops for PhD students will be held on the topic of career development outside of science and employment opportunities after the doctorate. One of the workshop leaders is Dr. sc. Dejan Vinković, who will give a lecture titled: "Life is like a box of chocolates: from astrophysics to scientific entrepreneurship".


Dr. sc. Dejan Vinković graduated in physics at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, after which he received his doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Kentucky. After his doctorate, he spent 4 years at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton as a freelance postdoctoral researcher. From the USA, he returned to Croatia as a lecturer at the Faculty of Science in Split, and started a non-profit institution, the Institute of Synergy of Science and Society, to which he later transferred his research work. As his interests spread more and more in the direction of entrepreneurship, he left the academic sector and is now the research director at Hipersfera company, and co-founder of Oraclum Intelligence Systems in the UK. His main scientific interest is the role of Cosmic dust, where he covers a wide range of topics, from the conditions in which planets form around young stars, dust formation from dying star gases to the interaction of dust and Earth's atmosphere through the meteor phenomenon. However, his interests are also in the social sciences, biomechanics, and in general topics dealing with data analysis and modeling. In addition, he is actively involved in the education and promotion of science among children and youth. His mix of knowledge in astrophysics and data collection in astronomy is now the basis of his work on creating a remote sensing system using a drone for market purposes. Likewise, his accumulated knowledge from data handling and numerical modeling is now an advantage for him in working with clients in the business sector who need help in data collection and analysis.

Author: Marija Čuić
Introducing our golden sponsors


Fidelta Ltd is a company that provides services in the area of pre-clinical drug discovery to biotech and pharma companies both in Croatia and worldwide. The services cover the areas of chemistry, biology, biomedice, veterinary and pharmaceutical sciences. Together with our clients – scientists from all over the World, we work on projects with the goal to discover and bring new drugs to the market.


KEFO Ltd is focused on the sale of laboratory chemicals, microbiological media, laboratory equipment and consumables, and medical consumables. KEFO was established in 1949 as a company for import and distribution of laboratory chemicals, consumables and equipment under the name Kemoservis, and still operates successfully in the Republic of Croatia and the countries of the region.


Oikon Ltd - The Institute of Applied Ecology is a leading licensed and accredited consulting company / research institute in the field of applied ecology in Croatia and the region. The company offers services in the areas of nature and environment protection, industrial ecology, renewable energy, natural resource management, ecological modeling, landscape analysis and design, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and ICT, environmental law, policy and economics, feasibility studies, as well as program and project management. Such a wide range of activities requires a wide range of professional knowledge, and Oikon employs experts covering as many as 18 professional fields, and almost a quarter of the employees are doctors of science.


Author: Marija Čuić

We are very proud to announce the topics of this year's invited lectures that will be given by four world-renowned scientists and professors:

Prof. dr. sc. Marijan Herak: "Seismology as a multidisciplinary science – recent examples of studies of earthquakes near Zagreb and Petrinja in 2020/2021“

Prof. dr. sc. Vernesa Smolčić: “Evolution of galaxies through cosmic time

Prof. dr. sc. Josip Tambača: „Mathematical modeling of stents“

Prof. dr. sc. Iva Tolić: “Mechanobiology of the mitotic spindle”

Author: Zuzana Redžović

Dear participants of the Symposium, we would like to inform you that the Symposium will be held using a hybrid model with two groups of participants, in accordance with epidemiologic measures. The first group consists of participants selected for oral and flash presentations who will present their PhD results at the faculty (Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry, Horvatovac 102a) in person, and the second group consists of students selected for poster presentations who will present using the online platform.

It is important to note that students who are selected for flash presentations (which also include a poster presentation) will hold their flash presentation at the faculty, and the poster presentation online.

Colleagues who have registered as passive participants will be able to follow the Symposium exclusively online via a link that will be sent to them via e-mail. All presentations will be recorded and streamed online.

Active participants should send their presentations no later than April 22, 2021 by 12:00 to the e-mail address

Formats for presentations are as follows: - oral presentation (.ppt or .pdf); - flash presentation (1 slide .ppt or .pdf); - posters (.pdf). We remind you that the text in the presentations should be in English, including flash presentations (1 slide) and posters.

The Symposium program will be announced one week before the Symposium, and participants will receive a notification via e-mail by April 8, 2021, regarding the type of presentation they have been accepted for.

If epidemiologic measures are tightened in the meantime, the Symposium will be held entirely online.

Author: Marija Čuić


Dear doctoral students,

We would like to inform you that the deadline for applying for active participation in the PhD Student Symposium has been extended to March 15, 2021 (including that day). We remind you that applications consist of filling out the appropriate Google Form and sending abstracts to the e-mail: The template for abstracts is located in the Repository at the bottom of this page.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via e-mail at:

Author: Marija Čuić
Prof. dr. sc. Josip Tambača

Prof. dr. sc. Josip Tambača is one of the world's experts in mathematical modeling in biomedicine and a full professor at the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. He is the winner of the Annual State Science Award in 2019 for scientific achievement in the field of natural sciences, field of mathematics, branch of applied mathematics and mathematical modeling, for six papers published in 2019 in top international scientific journals. The papers rigorously derive lower-dimensional models that describe the behavior of elastic bodies starting from the equations of a three-dimensional elastic body, with the interaction of two elastic structures of different thicknesses and with specifics such as poroelasticity and biodegradability of materials. The basic applications of these results are in biomedicine, such as a stent model with displacements in all three dimensions based on a one-dimensional model of a curved elastic rod or a model and simulation of blood flow through elastic vessels. In these papers, numerical methods for these models are proposed and the results of simulations are presented, including the application to four types of commercial stents. His specific field of scientific work is the theory of elasticity, especially mathematical justification and derivation of lower-dimensional models, as well as modeling and properties of the interaction of elastic bodies with fluid. He is currently working on optimal stent design, in an area where modeling, simulation and optimization are combined. He also won the 2001 State Science Award for Research Fellows. He has published over 50 scientific papers and is a leader and collaborator on numerous scientific projects. He was a guest on popular science shows Treći element and Prometej, and was the leader of the Mathematical Modeling workshop in the field of applied mathematics and statistics in the XV. Gymnasium in Zagreb. He has given numerous popular lectures, especially for high school students.

Author: Marija Čuić
Prof. dr. sc. Iva Tolić

Prof. dr. sc. Iva Tolić is one of the world's leading scientists in the field of cell division biophysics, a permanent scientific advisor at the Ruđer Bošković Institute and a full professor at the Department of Biology at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. She received her PhD in 2002 from the University of Zagreb, and she pursued further scientific training at Harvard University in Boston, the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and the University of Florence. Since 2004 she has been the leader of the research group at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, and since 2014 she has been the leader of the research group at the Ruđer Bošković Institute. In her interdisciplinary research, she combines molecular cell biology and genetics with state-of-the-art microscopy techniques. She is the author of over 90 scientific papers and has given more than 120 invited lectures in more than 15 different countries, and under her mentorship 11 doctoral students have received their doctorates. She is a member of the European Organization for Molecular Biology (EMBO) and an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU). For her outstanding scientific discoveries in the field of molecular cell biology, she received numerous awards such as the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the figure of Ruđer Bošković, the State Award for Science, the Influential Croatian Women Award, the Croatian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Award, the European Biophysical Association Medal and Award, the prize of the European Society for Microscopy and the Ignaz L. Lieben Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), which is also called the Austrian Nobel Prize. She is the holder of numerous scientific projects, among which the most prestigious projects of the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator and Synergy stand out, known as the "Scientific Oscars".

Author: Marija Čuić
Prof. dr. sc. Marijan Herak

Prof. dr. sc. Marijan Herak is a distinguished Croatian seismologist and full professor at the Department of Geophysics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. He graduated in physics-geophysics in 1981, and received his master's degree in 1985. He defended his doctoral dissertation in 1991 at the University of Zagreb. He trained scientifically in Germany, Italy, the USA and China. In his scientific work he deals with numerous aspects of seismology, with special emphasis on studies of seismicity in Croatia, research into the properties of the Earth's interior, surface waves, earthquake quantification, historical seismology, earthquake statistics and work related to seismic hazard and threat assessment. He has published 83 papers in international peer-reviewed journals (Wos, Scopus, CC) and dozens of other papers, as well as many studies. According to Google Scholar, his works have been cited more than 2,000 times with an h-index of 27. He is also the author of computer programs for various seismic data analyses and the main author of the Croatian Seismic Hazard Map. He has organized a number of international conferences and workshops and participated in more than 20 international and domestic research projects (in about half of them in the role of principal investigator or leader of the Croatian team). The professor distinguished himself in the academic community by performing the duties of the head of the department and vice-dean of the Faculty of Science for International Cooperation for two terms, and he also served as the president of the University Council of Natural Sciences. He was the president of the Scientific Council for Remote Sensing of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU), as well as the editor-in-chief of the journal Geofizika. M. Herak is the Croatian representative in the European Seismological Commission and an associate member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 2016, he was awarded the ‘Andrija Mohorovičić’ award of the University of Zagreb.

Author: Marija Čuić
Prof. dr. sc. Vernesa Smolčić

Prof. dr. sc. Vernesa Smolčić is a world-renowned astrophysicist and full professor at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. She continued her studies in the USA, Germany and Australia, and after nine years of work and training at the best universities in the world, she returned to Croatia. Her research focuses on the formation and development of galaxies, she studies active galactic nuclei, radio galaxies and extragalactic star formation. She is a member of numerous international collaborations, and in some of them she holds leadership positions, such as in the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) and The Ultimate XMM Extragalactic Survey. Among other things, she is the coordinator of the activities of the Faculty of Science related to the European Space Agency and a member of the Reference Group for Space (MSE). She has published over 140 scientific papers and received numerous awards for her work, such as the Ernst Patzer Award, Zagreb Woman of the Year 2014, Recognition of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Science for significant scientific achievement and contribution to the reputation of the Faculty of Science, COSMO Scientist of the Year 2015, State Award for Science for 2017, Award of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts for the highest scientific and artistic achievements in the Republic of Croatia for 2019 in the field of mathematical, physical and chemical sciences, and was included in the list of most successful people of generation 2013 by Forbes magazine. In addition to the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for the project “Constraining Stellar Mass and Supermassive Black Hole Growth through Cosmic Times: Paving the Way for the Next Generation Sky Surveys”, she has led numerous scientific projects. The professor is very active in popularizing science and runs a project called Astroučionica, a web platform intended for the popularization of astronomy. Astroučionica was created during the implementation of the ERC project in 2018 and has continued to grow since then. She is also the ambassador of the "Deep Above All" campaign of Jana's natural mineral water.

Author: Marija Čuić

We are proud to announce this year's invited lecturers who will give a lecture on their scientific path, the problems they encountered, but also the opportunities they were given as scientists:

Prof. dr. sc. Marijan Herak
Prof. dr. sc. Vernesa Smolčič
Prof. dr. sc. Josip Tambača 
Prof. dr. sc. Iva Tolić

We are looking forward to seeing you!

Author: Marija Čuić