Publish Date: 08.12.2020

Category: News from the University

Former Rector of the University of Ljubljana, Emeritus Professor Dr. Radovan Stanislav Pejovnik and Prof. Dr. Tamara Lah Turnšek, are the recipients of the Zois Lifetime Achievement Award.

Prof. Dr. Katarina Čufar from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Dr. Miha Škerlavaj from the School of Economics and Business of the University of Ljubljana, Prof. Dr. Gregor Anderluh, director of the National institute of Chemistry and professor at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, Assoc. Prof. Dr. dr. Lara Lusa from the Medical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, received the Zois Award for important achievements. Prof. Dr. Janez Trontelj from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana received the Puh Lifetime Achievement Award.

Zois Awards and Recognitions are the highest state recognitions in the field of science and research, awarded by the Committee of the Republic of Slovenia for the Awarding of Prizes and Recognitions for Outstanding Achievements in Scientific Research and Development. Puh Awards and Recognitions are awarded for inventions, technological and non-technological development achievements, and the use of scientific findings in all fields in the introduction of innovations into economic and social practice.

The former Rector of the University of Ljubljana and Emeritus Professor Dr. Radovan Stanislav Pejovnik, recipient of the Zois Lifetime Achievement Award, made his scientific mark in the theory of sintering in the presence of the liquid phase, which is a basic technology in the manufacture of ceramic products ranging from bricks to extremely complex elements in electrical engineering. Almost thirty years ago, Pejovnik gathered a group of young researchers and began pioneering work in Slovenia in the field of lithium batteries. Thanks to him, Slovenia is today among the global leaders in the field. “He is foremost a researcher and teacher who has had the good fortune, or the wisdom, to have always gathered exceptionally talented and motivated young people around him,” the award statement noted.

Prof. Dr. Tamara Lah Turnšek, longtime director of the National Institute of Biology and Program Leader in Cancer Biochemistry in the Master's study program Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, received the Zois Lifetime Achievement Award for research in studying molecular mechanisms leading to the onset and progression of malignant diseases. "She was among the first to prove the important role of proteolytic enzymes in cancer and proved that the disturbed balance between them and their inhibitors allows tumor cells to invade the surrounding tissues and form metastases," the award statement noted.

Prof. Katarina Čufar from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana received the Zois Award for important achievements in the development of dendrochronology and wood science. “Čufar and her colleagues at home and abroad study the formation of wood in trees. As wood grows, it records weather conditions and thus represents a unique account of past events. These records are studied by dendrochronology, which we can use, also thanks to Prof. Čufar, to determine the age of wood in Slovenia, as well as the origin and value of wooden objects, such as musical instruments. Dendrochronology was key in determining when the stilt house dwellers populated the Ljubljansko Barje wetland,” the recognition stated.

Prof. Miha Škerlavaj from the School of Economics and Business of the University of Ljubljana received the Zois Award for his scientific contribution to understanding knowledge management and innovation. “In the field of knowledge management, Škerlavaj and his colleagues helped establish the new research area of knowledge hiding. Also important are his findings in the study of innovation processes, where he researched the practices of the Marvel media corporation. Its films have been highly successful, as they managed to strike a balance between new approaches and sufficient continuity with the previous ones. Škerlavaj demonstrated that continuous and successful innovation requires the right balance between stability and change, which is also important for understanding the processes of continuous innovation in other areas.

Prof. Dr. Gregor Anderluh, director of the National Institute of Chemistry and professor at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, received the Zois Award for outstanding scientific achievements in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. »Dr. Gregor Anderluh is one of the leading international researchers in the action of proteins that damage cell membranes. His research work focuses on research into the interactions of proteins with lipid membranes. In doing so, it uses as model proteins those that form pores and play a key role in microbial pathogenesis, the human immune system, or act as animal toxins. His important achievement in the last five years is the description of the action of aerolysin-type cytolysins with the help of the three-dimensional structure of the lysine toxin pore,” the recognition stated.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lara Lusa from the Medical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana received the Zois Award for scientific achievements in the development of medical statistics methodology. »Her research work in the field of developing new statistical approaches in the evaluation of medical study results is a contribution to both statistical methodology and interpretation of results, especially in statistically demanding observational studies. Her publications range from methodological to research biomedical, where her role is primarily in the appropriate use of statistical knowledge,” the recognition stated.

Prof. Dr. Janez Trontelj, the doyen of Slovenian microelectronics, Head of the Laboratory for Microelectronics at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana, received the Puh Lifetime Achievement Award. “He has been leading the design of microelectronic circuits for more than 50 years. In Silicon Valley, he led a research group comprising Slovenian and American experts who designed and produced a number of world firsts. Among them was the development of the first microcomputer. Trontelj was thus involved in the creation of the most important technology of the time,” the award statement said.

Sincere congratulations to all recipients of the awards and recognitions.