Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


TRANSMEDRI Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 256686
Gefördert unter: FP7-REGPOT
Land: Croatia

Final Report Summary - TRANSMEDRI (Upgrading the capacities for research in translational medicine at the Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka)

Executive Summary:

One of the major obstacles for development of the biomedical research at the University of Rijeka has been the lack of a competitive research environment. Perhaps this is because many universities in this region retain remnants of the old socialist approach to medical education and research. Because of the limited internal resources, most of the training of the young investigators has been accomplished in the laboratories of Western countries. Although this tradition has proven to be beneficial, it has led to loss of promising scientists to faculty positions and slowed the development of a modern biomedical research. Furthermore, translational research has not been a traditional area of research in Croatia. Correction of these roadblocks can be accomplished by upgrading the research capacity and by expanding the cooperation between scientists from Croatia and those in the EU. Such an approach has already been successfully applied in several instances and is continuing to propel an increase in the research capacity at the University of Rijeka. However, it is of great importance to stress that the expansion of clinical research activities is still lagging behind basic research. Although the Rijeka Faculty of Medicine (MEDRI) already has well-developed programs in life sciences, a respectable infrastructure, and ongoing international collaborations, there is still plenty of room for improvement. The following steps in research capacity building are to further strengthen the collaboration between investigators at MEDRI and the EU countries, organize and develop formal training programs for investigators and implement an efficient program of research capacity building with emphasis on the translational medicine in cancer and infectious diseases. Thus, the work on synchronizing training of researchers with efforts to upgrade and establish research facilities to be used by several research groups and departments must be continued. Our ultimate goal remains to enable a successful integration of MEDRI into the ERA.

Project Context and Objectives:
The Faculty of Medicine (MEDRI) University of Rijeka was established in 1955 and it is the largest Faculty within the University of Rijeka that offers undergraduate studies, postgraduate education, life-long learning and research in the area of biomedicine and health. Internationally MEDRI is recognized as one of the leading scientific institutions in Croatia. However, one of the major obstacles for development of the biomedical research at the University of Rijeka has been the lack of a competitive research environment. Because of the limited internal resources, most of the training of the young investigators, primarily in basic research, has been accomplished in the laboratories of Western countries. Although this tradition has proven to be beneficial, it has led to loss of promising scientists to faculty positions and slowed the development of a modern biomedical research. Furthermore, translational research has not been a traditional area of research in Croatia. The progress in clinical research is still lagging behind basic research. Lack of scientific leadership, cooperation with prominent basic research groups, international cooperation, know-how, and undeveloped infrastructure are some of the reasons for this situation. These obstacles can be overcome by upgrading the research capacity and by expanding the cooperation between scientists at MEDRI and those in the EU.
Two main research areas have been identified where the cooperation can result in qualitative translational research and significant improvement in scientific infrastructure such as: cancer and infectious diseases. The actions aimed at upgrading our research capacities and improving collaboration between investigators at MEDRI and the EU countries include specific tasks such as organization and development of formal training programs for investigators, and development and implementation of an efficient program of research capacity building with emphasis on translational medicine in cancer and infectious diseases.
All project efforts are based on these main objectives:
Objective 1: Recruitment of experienced researchers and other personnel essential to the project
• Recruitment of 4 experienced researchers and their full incorporation into the research activities at MEDRI. It is expected that each of recruited incoming and experienced scientists will be able to gain at least one national or international research grant within the duration of the TransMedRi project. The research achievements of each of the recruited scientists will be judged based on their publication records, joint application with partner institutions for international funding and other means of contribution to the development of research in translational medicine at MEDRI (training courses, seminars, mentorship etc);
• Recruitment of one postdoctoral fellow from abroad;
• Recruitment of a young expert in financial management and/or business administration, with a degree in Economics, who will deal with administrative and financial issues, organizing workshops and conferences, and will be engaged in the dissemination activities to increase the visibility of MEDRI;
• Recruitment of a biologist experienced in experimental pathology which will be capable to establish and run the Biobanking Core Facility. His or her success will be evaluated through the standards proposed by other international biobanking organisations and ability to integrate the Core Facility at MEDRI to the international biobanking systems.
Objective2: Acquisition and/or upgrading of the research equipment
This objective is focused at upgrading the infrastructure required for the improvement of the overall research capacity of the Faculty of Medicine. This is to be accomplished through the following:
• Procurement and upgrading of apparatuses and other equipment is to be done according to the approved list of proposed equipment and also described for each of. The procurement should be done according to public procurement acts and standards described in the project;
• Establishment and upgrading of core facilities (Live cell imaging, Tumour bank, Small live animal imaging, DNA sequencing, Cell analysis and sorting);
• Training of personnel who should be capable to use the installed equipment and facilities;
• Positive impact of purchased apparatuses and respective technologies on the success of MEDRI in competition for research grants will be considered as a major accomplishment;
• Other evidence (joint publications, joint grants) for integration of research infrastructure development and training into the project and MEDRI research in general;
• The improvement of modern diagnostics as a consequence of improved clinical research.
Objective 3: Exchange of know-how and experience
In order to promote the exchange of know-how and to develop strategic partnerships with regional institutions of similar interests that could result in future collaborations and well established research entities in the EU, a number of short-term visits will be organized in both directions. Also, one of the crucial activities in this aspect will be sending a number of our young researchers to partner institutions for an extended stay for the purpose of training. In addition, a number of workshops and conferences covering various topics proposed in the project will be organized. These efforts can be summarized as follows:
• Increased international research collaboration of the research groups at the MEDRI (joint grants and publications);
• Contribution of workshops and conferences to the major goal of TransMedRi - the development of more clinically oriented research;
• Increased number of researchers trained in use of new technologies (live cell imaging, cell sorting, transgenic technologies, etc.);
• Increased potential for research education in biomedicine (PhD program, more high quality supervisors and trainees);
• Increased scientific mobility at the MEDRI;
• Increased professional competence with respect to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases that can translate patient care-related priorities into sustainable research program;
• Increased dissemination of knowledge to neighboring hospitals in Croatia and the Region;
• Increased capability for clinical trials in the respective fields supported by governmental and pharmaceutical funding;
• Increased intramural collaboration and competition at MEDRI (jointly published papers, joint applications to international / national grants);
Objective 4: Increasing visibility through dissemination and promotional activities
These activities are aimed at achieving the following:
• Increased visibility of the MEDRI in the Region of SE Europe and EU (web page, paper clipping, brochures, books of abstracts – summer schools, conferences, etc.);
• Increased public awareness for the research in translational medicine (paper clipping);
• Implemented criteria used for selection of speakers at the conferences organized within the TransMedRI (top papers, leaders in the field, speakers at international conferences, etc.);
• Increased number of scientific and other publications that result from collaborative research supported in part through TransMedRi (number of papers with acknowledgement of TransMedRi and other projects listing TransMedRi as a support).

Project Results:
The first major objective, Recruitment of experienced researchers and other personnel relevant to the project, has been accomplished by recruitment of 11 experienced researchers and 1 administrative and financial assistant.
As planned, prior to the project start we published an open position announcement to provide administrative and financial support to the project. We received an overwhelming 75 qualified job applications. After three rounds of selection, the most suitable candidate was decided to be Mario Pletikosa, with relevant experience and education background in business administration and financial management (university degree in economics, equivalent to Master of Business Administration). A fully functional office has been set up since, providing all assistance and support in handling administrative and financial issues in connection with the project.
Felix M. Wensveen, PhD, a Dutch postdoc who came from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, was involved with the TransMedRi project from the very start. His work was mainly due to the establishment of NKG2D and NCR1 knock-out mice as models in tumour and viral resistance (WP5). Dr. Wensveen contributed his full monthly effort to the project until June 2011, when he won an FP7 Marie Curie IEF Fellowship. This project was successfully implemented at the Rijeka Faculty of Medicine, in close cooperation and coordination with the TransMedRi project activities and collaborators. He has since been awarded a regular position with the Faculty, serving a great example for incoming researchers at MEDRI in the future. Shortly after the elapse of the reporting period we recruited another person on this slot, Dr. Jurica Arapović, a Croatian postdoc coming from the Faculty of Medicine University of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was working on animal models linked with the development of different vaccine strategies. Mihaela Matovina, PhD, a senior postdoc experienced in molecular biology who was involved in upgrading of the laboratory for bacterial typing (WP4) was recruited with a full montly effort to the project, starting from February 2011. She stayed on through the project end. Dr. Martin Pfannkuchen was recruited for part-time work on the project since May 2011. He was in charge of establishing a highly sophisticated Live-Cell Imaging Facility (WP2, WP6). Dr. Pfannkuchen stayed on through the end of the project. In July 2011 we recruited one laboratory engineer, Tatjana Turza, with full monthly effort to project. Her work covers activities related to establishment of the biobank at the Department of Pathology (WP6), including collection of paraffin blocks in association with clinical data, collection of cases of several different tumour tissues available from the period 2000 to 2010, data analyiss, etc. Dr. Godfrey Essien Etokebe was a full-time employee in period from July 2011 until October 2011 (WP2). Since he did not achieve the planned objectives, his contract was terminated. Instead of Dr. Etokebe, Dr. Vedrana Filić Mileta has been full-time employee since December 2011. Her extensive expertise in molecular and cell biology and genetics brought a great progress to the project on ribosomal proteins L5 and L11 in tumorigenesis (WP2). Unfortunately we Peter Csaba Huszthy, Ph.D., was recruited in September 2011. He came from the Translational Cancer Research Group, Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Norway. His work included further characterization of the mechanisms of viral damage of infected central nervous system during congenital infections and immunosurveilance of congenital CMV infections (WP3). Another experienced researcher, Dr. Alexej Schmidt, a German scientist who came to MEDRI from the Swedish biotechnological company HELICURE, was recruited from August 2011, with 1/2 monthly effort to the TransMedRi project (effort spread evenly between WP3 and WP5). He stayed on the project through February 2012. We also recruited Ilija Brizić, PhD, a scientist who was working at the Max von Pettenkofer Institute in Munich, where he adopted several new techniques in molecular virology and generated several new viruses in order to study the role of viral glycoproteins but also viral chemokines. Ilija continued the research on further characterization of above mentioned viral glycoproteins and established several techniques in our lab. Ilija stayed on through the end of the project (WP5), and today holds a regular position with the Rijeka Faculty of Medicine.

The second major objective, Acquisition and/or upgrading of the research equipment,
has been reached by procuring and putting into use the instrumentation essential for research in the proposed areas. This includes following equipment : a) biobanking storage and tracking system, b) live cell imaging confocal microscope, c) upgrade of the phospholipids and fatty acid metabolites analysis system, d) DNA/RNA extractor and Real Time PCR Multiplex for high-throughput isolation and analysis of DNA/RNA from clinical samples, e) small live animals imaging device, f) upgrade of the cell sorting and analysis system, g) DNA sequencer, and h) IT equipment. All equipment procured under the TransMedRi project was procured by means of the public tendering procedure, where applicable, as stipulated by the Croatian law (“Act on Public Procurement”, published in Official gazette No. 110/07 and 125/08).
The biobanking and storage system for biological samples is essential for the development of clinical and translational research in cancer and infectious diseases. Bio-banks or bio-repositories are collections of biological material, most often from clinical patients whose medical history is well documented. They are an invaluable source of information which allows researchers to study and draw conclusions about the pathogenesis of various diseases and represent an essential tool that is instrumental in turning advances in biomedical science into effective improvements in clinics. Shortly after the project was kicked off, the existing microscope (BX series microscope system, made by Olympus) at the Department of Pathology was upgraded with the slide scanner (Olympus), appropriate software and data storage unit. This system allows digital imaging, analysis and storage of all histological sections of human samples produced at MEDRI, which is a prerequisite for translational research and collaboration with similar biobanks at national and EU level. For the purpose of storing fresh samples (blood and tissue samples) two double door upright freezer (ThermoFisher Scientific) were procured. In addition to procurement of the essential equipment, significant efforts were invested to provide all the necessary documents regarding the legal and ethical aspects of biobanking. We have performed all necessary activities required for collection, processing and storage of blood and fresh samples of tumour tissue. Numerous activities were performed including the training of staff at Medical University in Graz, Biobank Graz, one of the leading Biobanks in Europe. The collection of tissue samples has been growing ever since, and has already been instrumental in different studies that were published in various research journals. In addition, we have joined the Preliminary proposal for COST, entitled Central-East-European Biobank Cooperation (CE²BC), enrolled by the Institution: Biobank Graz; Medical University Graz with its main objectives being: 1) setting up the basis for the start–up new biobanks in CEE, 2) implementation of Europe-wide common biobanking standards regarding sample and data collection, and 3) development of sustainable biobanking cooperation within CEE to facilitate research and to foster the use of existing scientific and technical resources with economic efficacy, that we found of our great interest.
The live cell imaging confocal microscope (Carl Zeiss LSM700) was procured as an state-of-the-art instrument for studying mollecular interactions and trafficking in living cells which contribute significantly to the improvement of our research capabilities. The insturment is particularly aimed for cellular cancer research as well as for research of pathogen-cell interactions. It is a part of live-imaging core facility which serves not only to the researchers employed on the project, but also to the others at MEDRI or broader. Instalation of the instrument was followed by the employment of one experienced researcher in the field of live-cell imaging as well as with the training activities (workshop „Live cell imaging“)
The phospholipids and fatty acid metabolites analysis system is an important part in research of cancer and infectious diseases. The existing chromatography system (Perkin Elmer Autosystem XL) at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was upgraded to increase existing cpabilities in biochemical analythical research of lipids and lipid methabolism. In addition, a system for gel-electrophoresis and western-blotting was procured to increase capabilities in protein research at the same departement.
The Real Time PCR Multiplex (Applied Biosystems, 7500 FAST) together with DNA/RNA extractor with accessories (Roche, MagNa Pure LC 2.0) for high-throughput analysis of DNA/RNA from clinical samples was procured for the analysis of human samples (mainly congential viral infections) for the presence of HCMV and some other viruses. This equipment is installed as a part of newly established laboratories for studying human viral infections at the Centre for Proteomics (a research unit within MEDRI. In addition to molecular biology laboratory, equipped with high-throughput DNA extractor and qPCR apparatuses, a cell culture laboratory for HCMV research was also established. All clinical samples (over 5000 in last three years) have been stored in -80 refrigerators, procured as part of TransMedRi’s research capacity building efforts. As a result of the new methods introduced in our lab and newly improved laboratory facilities, we are able to conduct even the most demanding research related to HCMV pathogenesis and molecular biology. Our team of highly skilled scientists and supporting laboratory personnel is what makes us a suitable partner for collaborative research projects on different human viruses.
The small live animal imaging has been proven as very valuable method for investigating dynamics and distribution of various infections or tumors on exeprimental models in vivo, which was missing at our institution. Therefore, we have procured a small live animal imaginig instrument (Carestream MS FX PRO) to make a step forward in our in vivo research capabilities. Instalation of the instrument instrument in the laboratory for small animal surgery at the Department of Histology and Embryology was followed with a hands-on workshop „Liva Animal Imaging“ where a number of young investigators were trained by experts in the filed. We hope that the overview that we have provided on the field of in vivo imaging will stimulate scientists to engage in collaborations with other labs around Europe. Our institute has a number of pronounced strengths, not the least of which is a state of the art animal facility. With our new In vivo MS FX Pro Imager, measurement of in vivo luminescence and fluorescence has become an additional feature.
The cell analysis and sorting are among the most used methods at MEDRI considering the tradition and type of research (mainly microbial and tumor immunology). Already before the start of the project a core facility for cell analysis and sorting was established at MEDRI and it consisted of Aria I sorter (BD) and FacScan cell analyzer (BD). In the project we proposed complete upgrade of Aria I sorter to Aria II which would significantly increase number of parameters (color channels) in cell analysis, but not as much sorting capabilities. On the other hand, the FacScan flow cytometer was already at the beginning of the project an old and outdated instrument which became a bottleneck in our research. Therefore, in consultation with the Advisory Board, we decided to do a very limited upgrade of the cell sorter (several color filters and detectors were added) to improve analytical capabilities of the instrument with 2 laser set up, but in addition we procured a new state-of-the-art cell analyzer Verse (BD) with a sample loader which allowed automatic and high-throughput analysis of samples. This solution, although not entirely planned, appeared ideal for our needs and increased tremendously our research capabilities in cell analysis and sorting which is essential for the proposed translational research. The procurement of the cell analyzer was supported by financial co-contribution of TransMedRi and another FP7 Regpot project at MEDRI (CAPRI2010, No.229585).
The procurement of a DNA sequencer (a platform like 3130 DNA analyser) as a part of the core facility was originally planned to be completed during the first two years of the project implementation. The sequencer was planned to significantly increase our capabilities in the high-throughput analysis of DNA of variety of samples (human, mouse, viral, bacterial, etc.), which is one of the very important requirements for the development of translational research in two main proposed areas of the project (cancer research (WP2) and infectious diseases (WP3, WP4, WP5). During the time of planning and drafting our project proposal, back as far as 2008- 2009, capillary DNA sequencers were still considered state-of-the-art instruments, so we included a procurement of one of such platforms in our project proposal. However, in the meantime the development of new DNA sequencing technologies (like the next generation sequencing – NGS), was very progressive, as is the case in almost all of the areas of medical and biotech research. At the start of the TransMedRi project implementation in mid 2010, there were several NGS platforms being developed and introduced to the market (Roche, Ilumina, Ion Torrent). We initiated a series of contacts and discussions on this matter with our partners, as well as the members of our Advisory Board. Soon after, some very interesting news surfaced on Ion Torrent related to a new ion semiconductor sequencing method, which was published by Rusk N (2011, “Torrents of sequence”, Nat Meth 8 (1): 44–44). However, at this early stage of market presence, these state-of-the-art instruments understandably tend to be very expensive, and this particular instrument cost more than our budget could afford. We eventually concluded that the procurement of this particular piece of equipment should be put on hold until we gather all the relevant information, substantial enough to make the final decision. We wanted to make sure at any cost that we would not end up spending a large amount of financial resources on an outdated and obsolete piece of equipment. This decision proved to be a wise one, since we managed to buy this next-generation sequencer – Personal Genome Machine (PGM) with Ion Onetouch 2.0 System – for almost the same price as the one that was planned in the budget for the old DNA sequencer. The decision was made in the last quarter of 2012. The procurement procedure was initiated soon after. The preparation of the public tendering procedure took longer than normally, since we had to make sure no technical mistakes or inadequacies would be made in the tendering documents, which could potentially lead to calls for an annulment of the procedure by unsuccessful bidder(s). This would have seriously jeopardized the procurement of this piece of equipment since the project end date was fast approaching. The procurement contract with the winning supplier was signed on May 28 2013. The equipment is now located at the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, fully functional and in regular use.
At the very beginning of the project period we have procured basic IT equipment to improve our IT capabilities concerning the planned activities. The computers procured were used to establish work stations for persons employed to work solely on the project – financial/administrative support to the project (WP1, WP7), researchers (WP2, WP4, WP6).A total of five personal computers were procured all in accordance with the Faculty’s regular procedure for procurement of IT equipment, which stipulates annual awarding of contract for supply of all IT equipment.

The third major objective, Exchange of know-how and experience, has been met through a number of activities like: short visits of established scientists from the partner institutions, visits of our young researchers abroad, workshops and conferences.
Visits of established scientists from abroad – A number of experienced and well established scientists visited our institution to share their knowledge and experience with our researchers. Dr. Joop Jansen, the Department of Haematology, Radboud University, the Netherlands visited MEDRI in September, 2010 (WP2). He gave a lecture entitled ”Epigenetic aberrations in myeloid malignancies” and was involved in general discussion on present and future of oncology and haematology in Rijeka. Professor Jan Brosens, the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, UK visited MEDRI in February, 2011 (WP2). His talk was entitled “New insights into the molecular basis of recurrent pregnancy loss”. Professor Oded Meyuhas, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Israel visited MEDRI in March, 2011 (WP2). He gave a lecture entitled “Ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation: From TOP mRNAs to cell size and tumourigenicity” and discussed his research and exchanged experience with WP2 participants during internal meetings. Dr. Matthias Gstaiger, Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland visited MEDRI in October 2011(WP2). He gave a talk entitled “A mass spectrometry view on the modularity and dynamics of signalling networks linked to cell growth and cancer” and discussed various topics in cancer research. Prof. Vassilis Gorgoulis, from the Department of Histology-Embryology, Medical School, National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, visited MEDRI in May 2013. He gave a lecture entitled “Functional interplay between the DDR and ARF pathways in cancer” and excahnged his experiences with WP2 participants. Dr. Vinay Kumar, MBBS, MD, FRCPath, Alice Hogge and Arthur Baer Professor, Chairman Department of Pathology, Executive Vice Dean, Biological Sciences Division and The Pritzker Medical School, who gave a lecture titled “The dual functions of 2B4 (CD244) and its role in NK cell “self-tolerance” in September 2010. He also discussed and shared his knowledge in bionanking with participants of WP3 adn WP6. Dr. Baca Chan, Cytomegalovirus Research Group, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular & Chemical Sciences, The University of Western Australia, visited MEDRI in June 2011, and gave a lecture entitled “Functional characterisation of a variable MCMV gene complex” (WP3). Prof. Ari Waisman, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany, gave a lecture at the Faculty and provided new insights in his lecture titled “The surprising role of dendritic cells and IL-10 in the induction of CNS autoimmunity“ (WP5). Dr. Klaas Gisbergen, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, was invited to give a lecture interestingly titled “Survival of the Fittest T-cells: How the Unfit Cheat” (WP5). In October 2010 Prof. Dr. Giorgio Stanta (University of Trieste), coordinator of the European Group for molecular analysis in archive tissues of European Society of Pathology, member of the Management Board of “Molecular Pathology Study Group” of the European Society of Pathology, and the coordinator of the European project “Archive's tissues: improving molecular medicine research and clinical practice – IMPACTS”, visited the Faculty and gave a lecture titled “Archive Tissues: Biobanking and Translational Research” (WP6). As an expert and the coordinator of the European biobanking network “Pan-European Archive Tissue Biobanking Network” he helped us to become a member of this network.

Visits of our young researchers to the partner institutions – 22 young researhcers from MEDRI were sent for short visits to the partner institutions in order to be trained in specific areas of research and to bring new knowledge to boost translational research at MEDRI. Maja Cokarić Brdovčak, Ph.D. student (Department of Mollecular Medicine and Biotechnology) spent eight days in the Laboratory of Professor Oded Meyuhas, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Israel. She acquired knowledge and know-how in polysome profile analysis as well as various molecular biology methodologies routinely used in that laboratory. Slađana Bursać, Ph.D. student (Department of Mollecular Medicine and Biotechnology) spent seven days in the Laboratory of Professor Aristides Eliopoulos, University of Crete, Greece. She acquired knowledge and know-how in the fields of DNA microarray technologies and SNP profiling as well as methodology of preparation of colon samples for histological analysis. Ana Brajdić (Department of Gastroenterology - Division of Haematology), Sanja Pavlović (Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy) and Dijana Detel (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry) spent seven days at the University of Crete, Greece. They also had an opportunity to visit Gastroenterology and IBD clinic and Oncology research laboratory. They were introduced into the current state of research and treatment of chronic colon inflammation and colon cancer. They also acquired experience in isolating colon samples for histological and morphological examinations. Željko Kupanovac, young researcher at MEDRI’s Department of Internal Medicine, was sent to the laboratory of Prof. Zlatko Dembić, University of Oslo, Norway, to complete a two-week training course in September 2012. His stay included practical training in molecular biology, sequencing technology and bioinformatics. Maja Cokarić Brdovčak, PhD student (Department of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology) and Dijana Detel, PhD student (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry), participated in a one-week training course (April 2013) at the Laboratory of Histology and Embryology (Molecular Carcinogenesis Group) at Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. The purpose of this visit was to extend their knowledge on embryonic development of mice. They participated in the isolation of different stages of mice embryos, as well as their immunohistochemical analysis. Sandra Šućurović, a PhD student at MEDRI’s Department of Physiology and Immunology, spent three months at the Laboratory of Prof. Jan Brosens, professor of Reproductive Medicine & Sciences / Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist, Department of Reproductive Health, University of Warwick, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshare, United Kingdom. The main goals of this visit were to learn how to process the human endometrial biopsy samples, maintain the primary cultures of isolated stromal cells and in vitro induction of decidualization of human endometrial stromal cells (HESC). Sanja Štifter, PhD, a researcher employed at MEDRI's Department of Pathology, spent two and a half months at the Institute Humanitas for Clinical Research, in Milan, Italy, working as part of the group of Paola Allavena, highly recognized in the field of cancer biology, mainly focused on the role of inflammatory molecules and innate immune cells on tumor progression and dissemination. Dragana Antončić (Division of Haematology) spent three weeks in the Joop Jansen laboratory in the Department of Haematology, the Radboud University, the Netherlands. She acquired expertise in the flow cytometric diagnosis of hematologic malignancies. Luka Traven, PhD, employed at MEDRI’s Department of Environmental Medicine, spent six weeks at the Lund University, Sweden, under the guidance of Prof. Petter Pilesjo. Luka obtained training in high-throughput DNA sequencing.Tihana Lenac Roviš, PhD, employed at MEDRI’s Department of Histology and Embriology (and Center for Proteomics), spent a month working with Giuseppe Legname, an associate Professor at Neurobiology Sector of SISSA and head of the Prion Biology laboratory, at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), Trieste, Italy. The main motive behind this visit was the significant gap between the chromatography set up in the favor of the hosting institution. Both the sophisticated instruments and the experienced researchers (Prof. Legname, Dr Zago and Dr Giachin) were at Tihana’s disposal to implement required techniques of recombinant protein affinity purification in native and denaturing conditions, refolding and up-scaling of purification processes. Vanja Giljača, MD (Department of Internal Medicine) was at a 6-month training program at the Royal Free Hospital in London, Great Britain. Mateja Ožanić PhD student employed at MEDRI’s Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, spent two and a half months at the Department of Clinical Microbiology, University of Umea, Sweden, as part of a training program at Prof. Anders Sjostedt’s laboratory. Valentina Marečić a young scientist employed at MEDRI’s Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, was sent on a two-week visit to the Institute of Microbiology (Techniche Universitat) in Braunschweig, Germany. She was trained in the method of isolating Francisella-containing phagosome from infected D. dicoideum cells. Janja Kuharić, a PhD student at MEDRI’s Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, spent three weeks in training at Prof. Jerome Pugin’s laboratory, at University Hospitals Geneva, Switzerland. She took part in testing the relevance of mitochondrial alarmins and extracellular ATP in the mediation of VILI. Neven Franjić PhD student at the Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka. He was sent out for a month long training visit with the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases, University of Magdeburg, Germany. His training included an overview of various endoscopic procedures with a special attention to patient management on the clinical side. Marin Tota, PhD, a young researcher at the Rijeka Medical Faculty, spent two months at the department of Biomedical Analysis at the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, University of Munster, Germany, from March to May 2011, where he continued the work on the project “O-Linked Glycosylation” (training on QTOF - orthogonal hybryd quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometer). Dalibor Broznić, PhD, was invited to visit for a three-month training at the Department of Environmental Chemistry and Bioanalytics at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun Poland. Gordana Čanadi Jurešić, PhD, was on a three-month training at the Medical Centre for Molecular Biology of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana. Hana Mahmutefendić, PhD, employed at the Department of Physiology and Immunology, spent five months working at the DKFZ (German Institute of Cancer Research), Heidelberg, Germany, supervised by Frank Momburg, MD, PhD. The purpose of this visit was to receive training in establishing the protocol of siRNA silencing of small GTPases that are involved in regulation of endocytosis and vesicular transport of molecules in cells. Jelena Marinić, PhD, employed at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, spent three months at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Spain, involved in ongoing research activities of the Biomarkers, Nutrition and Food Metabolomics research group lead by Cristina Andres-Lacueva.

Workshops – Workshop on biostatistics (WP1) under the title “Critical Evaluation of Statistical Analysis in Scientific Paper” was held in June 2011 as two day event. It was conceived as a logical extension to the regular curriculum for young scientists and researchers in the area of biostatics, providing them with more detailed and focused insights into critical evaluation of statistical analysis, as well as practical training in application of advanced computer-based methods in the area.
A total of 31 researchers and clinicians participated in the workshop during the open sessions. Workshop on Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences (WP1) was organized at the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, on April 2013, The workshop program was divided in four sessions each reflecting a distinct theme in the vast area of commercialization of scientific research, with emphasis on the academic aspect. These were: Technology transfer in academic settings, Life science R&D and intellectual property protection, From scientist to entrepreneur, and Finding your way through commercialisation funding opportunities. Workshop Translational Cancer Research (WP2) was organized on the premises of the Rijeka Faculty of Medicine, as a two-day event, taking place on November 2011. It brought together ten renowned basic cancer researchers and oncologists from several European countries, Israel and Croatia, as invited speakers, which presented the latest developments and advancements in the broad field of cancer research, with the view of those aspects that have the potential to be translated into clinical practice in a short term for the benefit of patients. More than 40 participants attended, composed of Ph.D. students, clinicians, post-doctoral fellows and researchers from different disciplines. Workshop Congenital viral infections (WP3) was organized a two-day event, on May 2012.The theoretical part of the workshop featured several renowned experts in the field, whose lectures provided a theoretical background on congenital viral infections, as well as presentations of their latest research results. The theoretical part was followed by hands-on training sessions in the afternoon, on both days. WorkshopBacterial Pathogenesis and Host Response (WP4) was organized as a three-day event in May 2011 The program was divided in four sessions. The first session titled “From Bacterial Response to Environmental Stress to Host Response to Bacterial Infection” covered the stages of bacterial pathogenesis. The second session titled “Helicobacter pylori – from Science to Clinical Medicine” focused on a specific strain of bacteria and the latest challenges it brings to scientists and clinicians. Sepsis was the theme of the Session III, featuring a lecture by one of the top European experts in the field. The final session dealt with antibiotics and bacterial resistance in light of the new insights presented through the previous session, aimed at young researchers and students at the Faculty. Workshop Methods in microbiology and epidemiology (WP4) was organized as three day event taking place in June 2012. The main objective was to provide the participants with the information about new developments in the field of microbiology and give them an overview of the molecular methods in microbiology and epidemiology. Target audience included medical doctors, laboratory engineers, and other professionals that work in the molecular microbiological laboratories. In the theoretical part of the workshop there were around 30-40 participants, while 19 participants were involved in the practical part of the workshop. Workshop Small Animal Imaging (WP5) was held on March 2012 as two day event. The aim of this workshop was twofold: (1) Familiarize researchers of the Rijeka Faculty of Medicine with the latest developments in in-vivo imaging; (2) familiarize young researchers of the Rijeka Faculty of Medicine with the in-vivo imaging techniques that we have available at our institute and to provide practical hands-on training. We achieved this by splitting the workshop into two parts – lectures and practical part. Several prominent researchers in the field shared theri knowledge with the participants of the workshop. Workshop Endocytosis – Intercellular Trafficking (WP6) organized as three day event. The worshop was divided in two parts: flow cytometry and Immunoflorescent and confocal microscopy. A various technics in cellular traficking of proteins and vesicles were presented to the participants. Workshop Live-cell imaging (WP6) was organized as three-day event, in May 2013.The theoretical part of the workshop featured three eminent experts in the field whose lectures provided a theoretical background on light microscopy, as well as presentations of their respective latest research results. The theoretical part was followed by two-day hands-on training session on the use of live cell imaging microscopy, prepared by Maja Cokarić Brdovčak, Martin Pfannkuchen and Martin van Royen for ten PhD students and young oncologists.

Conferences – Three conferences were planned and organized during the project period: „The principles of Translational Research“, „Traumatic Brain Injury and Neurological Diseases“ and „The Impact of EU Funding on Development of Croatian Universities“. The conference titled “The Principles in Translational Research” was held on October 2011. The main goal of this conference was to spread and facilitate awareness in the research community in Croatia of the increasing importance of translational medicine with regard of its impact on the development and quality of the healthy system. The conference titled “Traumatic brain injury and neurological diseases: from bench to bedside” was held in March 2012, at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia.
The main objective of this conference was to bring together a group of experts with very different background in basic scientific and clinical fields, namely cell and molecular biology, neurobiochemistry, neuropharmacology, genetics and clinical practice, and facilitate interaction among all the conference participants through discussions and knowledge exchange concerning the pathogenesis, diagnostics, therapy, prevention and epidemiology of traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, as well as some of neurological diseases of interest. The conference titled “The Impact of EU funding on the development of Croatian universities” was was held in June 2013. as final event at the project. The main purpose and objective of this conference was to raise awareness in the academic and research community in Rijeka of the undeniable potential of the available EU funding in terms of the development of research capacities at universities, as well as of the importance of project-based planning and thinking at universities in a broader sense.

The fourth objective was to increase visibility through dissemination and promotional activities.
TransMedRi is a project aimed at upgrading research capacities of the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, which means that no specific research was funded directly through this project. As such, this project was not planned nor expected to produce exploitable foreground typical for research projects, such as patents or other commercially exploitable results. Therefore, the main idea of the TransMedRI project was to be among the factors that would stimulate major changes in this field. A general task in this sense was to make the Rijeka Medical Faculty visible on the regional and international scene of research and higher education in medicine. In order to achieve this, great emphasis in planning and tremendous effort implementation were invested within the project activities aimed at increasing the visibility within the European Union and associated countries. A wide range of available tools and methods were made use of in order to achieve this goal, such as the project website, participation at international conferences and seminars, press releases, articles in popular scientific magazines, radio/tv interviews, establishment of collaboration with partners through joint grant applications, organization of conferences and workshops, peer reviewed publications.

Potential Impact:
Strategic impact: Better integration of basic and clinical departments through collaborative research efforts which will result in better visibility and positioning of MEDRI as a suitable partner for the future projects in translational medicine.
Taking in account the weaknesses of current development of biomedical research at the Medical Faculty of Rijeka, which include fragmentation of research groups, unbalanced level of development among departments, and weak integration between the basic and clinical departments, all the measures implemented in this work program were aimed to overcome them, and to upgrade the research capacity through education and implementation of new technologies with the final objective to reach the level of development which should position the Medical Faculty as a suitable partner for the future projects in translational medicine. Indeed, the undertaken activities withn the project (procurement of new stat-of-the art equipment, recruitment of experience researchers, training of young researchers, public presentations of the project results, etc.) resulted in better co-operatio and synergy between different research groups at MEDRI, increased mobility of the researchers and exchange of know how, which significantly contributed to the increased competitivenes and visibility of MEDRI. This could be easily seen through a number of joint international projects that vere concieved during the project period, significant publications in the field of cancer and infectious diseases and increased public awerenes on the project.
Compliance with the expected impacts listed in the work programme:
a) Upgrading the RTD capacity and capability in terms of the human potential (number of new researchers and training of research staff, improvement of research management, scientific equipment) as well as the quality of research carried out by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka.

Even though based on the scientific output measured by the number of publications the Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka is lagging behind schools of similar size in western parts of Europe and USA , the scientists at MEDRI are strongly embedded into the international scientific community through joint projects in frame of EU FP6, FP7, NIH and grants supported by other science agencies. Apart from that, many fruitful scientific contacts have been established via informal collaboration between the scientists at MEDRI and their European colleagues and in many cases such informal contacts were proven to be essential for joint applications to EU grants and more extensive scientific collaboration. It was of strategic importance that several research groups at MEDRI reached high scientific standards over the past two decades and as such, should represent driving forces for broadening scientific activities and upgrading scientific standards necessary for fulfilling the strategic objectives of MEDRI, i.e. to keep MEDRI positioned as a research university. To achieve this goal, the priority of the Faculty of Medicine and the University as a whole, was to facilitate further development of the already successful departments and groups, mainly working in the field of microbial pathogenesis, immunology, tumor and developmental biology and transplantation and reproductive biology. The emphasis was given on encouragement of both basic scientists and clinicians to work jointly in development of translational research in medicine, since this aspect of scientific activity has been completely ignored for decades.
In this regard the TransMedRi project worked as a driving and cohesive force for scientists and researhc groups working in two main proposed research areas (cancer and infectious diseases) and had tremendous impact on the development of research capacities. The first time they worked together on a joint international project haveing clear objectives in terms of development of translational medical research through synchronized activities of training of young researchers and supporting staff and upgrading of the research and technological capacity of the MEDRI laboratories. A number of young researchers visited top-class laboratories in EU, researchers at MEDRI had opportunity to have contacts and excange know-how with prominenet international scientists, several experienced researchers were recurited at MEDRI, core facilities with advanced state-of-the-art instruments were establishe, a number of workshops and conferences were organized. All these activities led to significant improvement of scientific standards at MEDRI, which can be measured through increased number and quality of publications as well as international projects concieved through the project period.
As a direct consequence of TransMedRi activity a new project „Center for Translational Medical Research“ has been concieved and recently applied to the structural EU funds aimed for the development of Croatia. The aim of the project is to build a new research Center withing the University Campus in the vicinity of the future University hospital of Rijeka which would accomodate new research groups dealing with different areas in translational research.

Following specific impacts were achieved:
Ad1) Impact on developing capacity for basic and translational cancer research at MEDRI
Recent advances in biomedical research fuelled by the development of new technologies and concepts allow for the study of vast biological processes at the molecular level in health and disease. Most of research universities in the developed countries are strongly moving to exploit this enormous wealth of knowledge to discover more advanced treatments and novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for the benefit of the patients, so called translational research. The introduction of translational research and personalized therapy approach currently being implemented in the most developed countries are lacking at the University of Rijeka Faculty of Medicine as well as in Croatia in general.
TheTransMedRi project significantly increased the capacity for basic and translational cancer research, human and material resources at the MEDRI (collaboration between basic and clinical departments, training of clinicians in molecular biology, procurement of equipment, equipment upgrade, recruitment of experienced scientists as well as know–how transfer from EU), thus making the University of Rijeka Faculty of Medicine eliglible for full integration into ERA. The proposed project also provided conditions for personalized cancer therapy and clinical trials that provide an opportunity for the best available cancer treatment.
Ad2) Impact on capacity to monitor perinatal viral infections as a pre-condition to study the pathogenesis of this infection and with the emphasis on the infection of the CNS and their consequence on perinatal health
Congenital viral infections (e.g. HCMV) are still frequent cause of neurological damages, with huge impact on global health. Since the pathogenesis of damage of developing brain is still not well understood, two directions were followed in TransMedRi: a) providing conditions for competitive research on incidence and impact of major congenital viral infections in humans and their impact on development of neurological damage specific for this Region and b) providing conditions for further development animal models to understand the pathogenesis of disease in developing brain. These conditions were provided through mobilization of human resources and upgrade of capacities for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital infections, with the ultimate goal to design preventive measures that can be translated to patient care.
Ad3) Impact on the development of clinical bacteriology
The project resulted in an increased cross-departmental collaboration, with respect to accuracy of and control of bacterial infections and through strengthening cooperation with EU partners as well as implementation of joint experience by upgrading bacterial diagnostic capabilities.
Ad4) Impact on research capacities in translational research through upgrading the existing core facilites and establishing new ones
During the project period several Core facilities with state-of-the-art eqipemnt were established as central support units to most research groups at MEDRI. Some of these (Biobank) immediately sought for networking with similar facilities abroad.
b) Better integration of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka in the European Research Area as a whole (emphasizing the cooperation with the more experienced organizations in other EU countries (partnerships, including twinning, exchange of know-how) and regionally based cooperation).
Related to the general aims of the European Research Area, one of the most prominent impacts of the TransMedRI project is the contribution to overcoming the fragmentation of research activities across Europe. The fragmentation and the dispersal of resources as the prevailing characteristic of the European research base prevent Europe from fulfilling its research and innovation potential: research and innovation policies are pursued largely independently – at national, EU and regional levels – leading to a governance failure characterised by poor integration and coordination between these different levels and sub-optimal allocation of resources. This situation leads both to unwanted duplications and to lost opportunities to achieve critical mass of research efforts. Through broadening of the existing and establishment of new cooperation patterns with institutions in EU and other countries, TransMedRI helped solving this particular problem.
The contribution of TransMedRI to some more specific objectives of ERA:
• Networking of existing centres of excellence.
The laboratories of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology (headed by S. Volarevic) involved in the proposed activities of WP2 and WP6 established collaboration with several research groups in Europe working in cancer, which resulted in a collaborative grants funded through FP7. The knowledge and tools that this group possesses will deinitely improve the quality of research in other laboratories in the Region and Europe, and vice versa, having in mind that clinical cancer research in Rijeka is sill relatively poorly developed. The Department of Pathology (involved in the same WPs) has developed biobanking (tumor banks) at MEDRI which will further position this department as an interesting partner for similar activities across Europe.
The Department of Physiology and Immunology and the Department of Histology and Embryology have long-standing collaboration with several prominent groups in EU, working on viral pathogenesis and immunosurveillance (related to WP3, WP5 and WP6). Through joint research in these fields a number of papers have already been published and several seminal discoveries have been reached. Through a number of collaborative efforts more than ten groups are already strongly connected here with exchange of data, ideas and materials on a daily basis. The impact of TransMedRI was enormous in terms of substantial support to even greater mobilisation of research personnel across the network. For instance, this group recently generated the knock out mouse for an activating immune receptor (NKG2D) and most of the partners are already using this mouse strain for research in tumor biology and immunosurveillance of viral infections. The animal model developed by this group in collaboration with the partner institutions in the EU and US, dealing with the pathogenesis of congenital herpes virus infection of the CNS, has already resulted in several important discoveries with respect to impact of virus infection on developing brain as well as the impact of immune response mechanisms in brain tissues. TransMedRI helped upgrading of the capacity to monitor congenital viral infections in Croatia, but also in the Region, which has strong impact on the development of the research in this area.
At the Department of Microbiology (involved in WP4) several projects are already being conducted collaboratively with several laboratories in EU countries and with the laboratories in the region of SE Europe. This group provided expertise in various animal models of bacterial infection. Among others, they study Francisella tularensis, which is currently emerging/re-emerging severe anthropozoonosis in several European countries and particularly in SE Europe. They connected their interest in the study of biology of this important pathogen with the groups in USA and several other groups in Europe (Sweden, France) to pave the way for European collaboration in vaccine development in this rare disease, the significance of which is exceeding national resources in public health and prevention. Taking into account that this region is endemic in some countries of this region, the interest of the foreign partners for joint research is obvious. TransMedRi project supported further development and collaboration of this group which already resulted with increased number of publications and jonit projects. In addition, through organization of workshops, conferences and two way secondments, the capacity for detection and monitoring of bacterial infections in hospital was significatnly upgraded.
• More abundant and more mobile human resources.
As already described, TransMedRI enabled recruitment of several experienced and top class scientists from Croatian diaspora as well as foreign scientist, whose task was to set up the labs or core facilities and support other researchers on the project in transferring their skills into results and interconnecting labs. In addition, a dozens of scientists already affiliated to MEDRI were trained in specific methodology and technologies in order to be able to improve the research competence in basic science department and the clinics. Through the interactions with the leading persons in the clinic (includind the MEDRI Council and the Director of the Clinical Hospital Centre), significant efforts were focused on establishment of research labs within the clinic, since this has traditionally been neglected. In other words, the mobility of scientists was realized not only through translational mobility, but also intrainstitutionally.
• Bringing together scientific communities, companies and researchers of Western and Eastern Europe
With an emphasis on translational medicine, TransMedRI already positioned the Faculty of Medicine not only as an attractive partner to research institutions but also to members of the biotech industry, which largely depends on the tools and methods in animal models. MEDRI has already proven its ability to conduct this type of research by testing a variety of recombinant viruses and their products in experimental vaccinology, tumor therapy, etc. On the long run, after reaching the research standard and the competences needed, the Clinical Hospital Centre at MEDRI could be envisaged as an important partner in clinical trials.
The most important external factor that may determine the impact of better integration of MEDRI into ERA is the development of strategic partnerships. One of the most important tasks of the researchers within the TransMedRI project was to reinforce the existing cooperation with other research organizations in the EU Member Countries. MEDRI can rely on a strong support from the University of Rijeka (Rector Pero Lucin) The WP leaders have many contacts within the scientific community, i.e. with individual scientists of high reputation as well as with scientific societies and biotechnological companies (refer to Section 1.1 as well as the letters of support in Annex 2.). Many of these offer potential as collaborative opportunities, in terms of requests for joint experiments, reagents and tissue samples, etc.
• Improving the attraction of Europe for researchers from the rest of the world.
Although this type of mobility has so far been rather unfamiliar in this part of Europe, over the last couple of years the situation started to change substantially. It is expected that the situation will significantly improve when Croatia becomes EU Member State and nationally imposed barriers to free mobility of scientists are reduced or completely removed.

c) Contribution to regional economic and social development
Raising Croatia’s competitiveness and international cooperation in biomedical research on among others, cancer and infectious diseases, is a priority scientific field of intervention cited in the EU-Balkan countries Action Plan in Science and Technology. Since translational medicine is not adequately developed in the region of South Eastern Europe, MEDRI’s ability to serve as an example and a motivator to other institutions of the region should have an impact on the development of their biomedical research potential to organize similar training and networking activities in that field.
Besides being a positive example, MEDRI identifies and supports centers that have the potential of developing into the institutions with capabilities comparable to those in the EU. A positive example is the experience of the Center for Proteomics, an adjacent part of the Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka, which has already used a significant part of FP6 Specific Support Action INCO funds for training of a PhD student from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who will be competent in the near future to use the gained knowledge to improve and manage the biomedical research at the University of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, the Center for Proteomics was recently awarded an EU FP7 grant in frame of Research Capacities, aimed at profiling and finalizing its current activity on monoclonal antibody production and their use in biotechnology and research.
Another important aspect of regional capacity building is the contribution to reduction in the regional disparities, not only regarding the whole region of South-Eastern Europe, but also taking into consideration the Croatian regions. Highly-qualified laboratory and research activities are concentrated almost exclusively in the Croatian capital city of Zagreb. Therefore, the formation of the collaborative environment between MEDRI and different scientific groups and institutions within the region and internationally will contribute to a more geographically balanced scientific and economic development.
Finally, a very important factor is the economic situation in the region of South-Eastern Europe. With the unemployment rate of around 20 per cent and, which is even more disturbing, with less than 15 per cent of employees with higher education (B.S., M.S. or Ph.D.), Croatia lacks initiatives which would improve its scientific status. The situation in the region is similar if not worse. TransMedRI contributed to the improvement of the economic situation in the region, by opening new positions for highly-educated personnel, but also by organizing numerous training possibilities. International workshops gathered experienced researchers from the EU as well as young researchers from the region thus facilitating communication between research entities having similar scientific interests. This, along with the long-term training opportunities as well as the opening of new highly-qualified working places in the Center improved the responses to socio-economic needs of the region. As a consequent impact, it also contributed to preventing the brain-drain process, which currently represents a significant problem in Croatia and the bordering countries.
d) Improvement of the potential of the Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka to participate in the framework projects.
It is of note mentioning that the specific scientific fields that were targeted with the TransMedRI project are among the priorities of Horizont2020 Health Program. In addition to support to development of tools for translational research in medicine, these priorities include cancer, infectious diseases and therapy. Most of the activities and measures proposed in this project as an ultimate goal pose the increase of the ability of MEDRI to successfully compete on EU grants. A positive trend is already visible in terms of the number of applications to collaborative and other grants in frame of FP7. In this respect, Croatian universities and research institutes are already ahead of their counterparts in some member states.
The ultimate goal of translational medical research is to do fast transition of the results of basic research into clinical practice, thus improving diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities as well as public health standard. Upgrade of research capacities within the TransMedRi project has already set up new possibilities in viral, microbial and cancer diagnostics and therapy. In cancer research, the project provided conditions for personalized cancer therapy and clinical trials that raise opportunities for the best focused cancer treatment. In the area of congenital viral infections, capabilities of early diagnostics and monitoring of several viral pathogens were largely increased which could lead to better diagnostics and prevention of disease. The same is valid for various bacterial infections. Altogether, the project already has and will have important impact on the improvement of public health standards locally and in the region.

List of Websites:

contact: Bojan Polic, project coordinator,, +00385 51 651 170

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