Branka Javornik

Feb. 2, 1953


Branka Javornik

Employment

1977- University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, since 1997 as full professor in the field of genetics and biotechnology

Education and scientific qualification

1976 Diploma (B.Sc.) in Food Technology at the University of Ljubljana
1980 M.Sc. degree in Agronomy at the University of Ljubljana
1985 Ph.D. at the University of Ljubljana

She was visiting researcher in Denmark (1978) and Canada (1982) and later made various short visits to laboratories in Japan, Italy and Great Britain through collaborative projects.

Teaching

She has been teaching courses at graduate and postgraduate levels on Genetics, Plant Biotechnology and Biosafety in Biotechnology. She actively participated in the modernisation of graduate, masters and doctoral study programmes. She has supervised eight Master theses and seventeen Ph.D. theses and is at present supervisor to four Ph.D. students. She was visiting professor at the University of Kyoto in 2004, University of Banja Luka (2008-2013) and has given invited lectures at a variety of universities.

Research work

She works in basic and applied research in the fields of genetics and plant biotechnology.

She has been principal investigator of many national research projects and coordinator of the 7th FP EU project. She initially worked on the evaluation of protein quality and studies of polymorphisms in buckwheat and wheat.

Her later research focused on the development and application of molecular markers (RAPD, AFLP, microsatellites, rDNA-ITS) as a tool in plant breeding (sex markers and QTLs for quality and yield in hop) and on studies of genetic variability in crops (buckwheat, apples, onion, hop, grapevine, olives etc.) and fungi (Monillia, Verticillium).

She has recently been engaged on projects addressing Verticillium resistance in plants, working on the hop-Verticillium albo-atrum (Vaa) pathosystem. This work includes two broad aims.

First, to improve hop resistance to Verticillium wilt. This work includes mapping of gene(s) or QTLs for Verticillium resistance and the development of molecular markers linked to resistance for application in hop breeding.

The second aim is to improve the management of wilt disease based on an understanding of the mechanisms of host- pathogen interaction and the pathogenicity of Vaa. This work has focused on studies of the hop-Vaa interaction on proteome and transcriptome levels to search for hop factors implicated in resistance and Vaa factors related to virulence.

Vaa is being further studied by comparison of proteomes and whole genome sequences of Vaa isolates with different virulence, and functional analysis of predicted candidate genes.

She has published 143 scientific articles, 86 in peer reviewed journals (Nov. 2013). Her personal bibliography is on link izum.si.

Responsibilities

1989-1996 Head of the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Breeding, BF, UL
1997-2000 Slovene co-ordinator of the CEEPUS programme
1997- Leader of the research group Agrobiotechnology
1999- Leader of the research program Genetics and Plant Biotechnology (1999-2003) and Genetics and Modern Technologies of Crops (2003-2008, 2008-2014)
2002-2006,
2006-2010
President of the national Scientific Committee on Biosafety in the Field of the Deliberate Release of GMOs
1999-2002,
2006-2010
National co-ordinator for research in the field of plant and food production, MESS, ARRS
2002-2013 Co-ordinator of the post-graduate study Genetics, BF and UL
2002- Head of Genetic Studies, UL BF
2006- Head of Biotechnology Studies, UL BF

Professional consultation in procedures of negotiations within the framework of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention of Biological Diversity, Ministry of the Environment (2007-2008), member of the technical group AHTEG for COP-MOP (2009-2010; 2010-2012) and member of the delegation in the process of negotiation with OECD (2009). Member of the Management Board of the Centre for Functional Genomics and Bio-Chips, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, 2005-2009.

Awards

1976 Award F. Prešeren for student research work at the University of Ljubljana
1986 Slovene national award of the Boris Kidrič Fund for innovation
1987 Slovene national award of the Boris Kidrič Fund for research work
Both BK Fund awards received together with Dr. Ivan Kreft and Dr. Borut Bohanec
2009 Award “Zlata plaketa” for achievements in scientific and educational work at the University of Ljubljana
2013 Award of the International Hop Growers Convention “Knight of the Order of Hop” for achievements in hop research
2015 Jesenko award for lifetime achievement in pedagogy, research and professional work

Memberships