Luca Lovrenčić
Photo: Borut Peterlin, Text: Kaja Stradovnik

Lovrečić Luca

Alumna of the UL Biotechnical Faculty and Faculty of Medicine, a geneticist employed at the Clinical Institute for Medical Genetics, UKC Ljubljana. She heads the laboratory for micronetworks and is the first Slovenian recipient of a scholarship from L'Oréal-Unesco for women in science.

Even when she was young she was highly successful. She completed grammar school as a gold matura leaving exam student and enrolled on a biology course. Once she encountered genetics she was so inspired that she decided to enrol in the study of medicine. She continued her education in doctoral studies, and completed part of her experimental work at Harvard University. 

She focused on the field of hereditary neurological Huntington’s disease, and in 2008 she received the Krka prize for her research. Her research work showed that the changes brought on by Huntington’s disease are present in the blood long before the appearance of clinical symptoms, and she pointed to the possibility of using biological markers in the blood that could enable tracing of the disease. A Faculty Prešeren Prize was awarded to her research assignment in her second year, in which as part of the research to determine the genetic causes of male infertility the researchers identified the absence of small parts of the Y chromosome and developed a test analysis of microdeletion. Together with geologist Mirijam Vrabec she was also the first recipient of the national L'Oréal-Unesco scholarship for women in science, which is intended to improve the position and equal status of young women scientists.

Asst. Prof. Dr Luca Lovrečić is currently focused on clinical diagnostics and research on rare diseases. She participates in the biggest international reference portal for rare diseases and orphan drugs, Orphanet, and is active within the Centre for Undiagnosed Rare Diseases at the Institute, which is the first specialised unit for diagnosing such diseases in the wider region.