Publish Date: 15.07.2015

Category: News from the University

Ljubljana, 7 July 2015 – Today, the Rector of the University of  Ljubljana prof. dr. Ivan Svetlik solemnly conferred an honorary doctorate on Nobel Prize laureate Professor Sir Richard J. Roberts for his outstanding scientific achievements in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology, and announced 34 new full professors. 

The Senate of the University of Ljubljana proclaimed Professor Sir Richard J. Roberts honorary doctor of the University of Ljubljana at the solemn meeting on 2 December 2014, but he did not succeed to attend the conferral of the title in the last year. Sir Richard J. Roberts is the Nobel Prize laureate for Physiology and Medicine, and one of the world's most influential scientists in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. His membership in the scientific council of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Technology (ICGEB), with which Slovenian researchers closely cooperate, is important for Slovenian researchers. »When we are talking about Sir Richard J. Roberts, we talk about the personality of the highest level. His discoveries can be classified as achievements that make up the intellectual top of human civilization *,« said, on the occasion of the conferral of the honorary doctorate, the Rector of the University of Ljubljana prof. dr. Ivan Svetlik. 

Professor Sir Richard J. Roberts was delighted with honorary doctorate. »It was an honour to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Ljubljana, which is one of the most prestigious academic institutions in Slovenia. I also look forward to visit the Faculty of Medicine and discussions with professors and students. I am convinced that we will maintain partnership and cooperate in the future.« 

The new honorary doctor of the University of Ljubljana enriched today's ceremonial event by a lecture on genetically modified food and unjustified objections to it. He said that, by using modern genetic techniques, it is possible to create genetically modified organisms, which significantly increase the crop yields, allow the growth on otherwise infertile areas, and most importantly, they can have better nutritional composition. »The technology for the production of genetically modified organisms is already quite mature and can be easily implemented in many laboratories around the world. However, what it seems an easy decision to us, the scientists, has become a very controversial topic throughout the world.« Furthermore, he stressed that the product is important and not the method of production. From October last year to April this year, on a proposal from the members of University of Ljubljana, the Senate of the University of Ljubljana elected 34 full professors from various fields of scientific research, artistic and educational work. Today, the Rector Svetlik solemnly conferred them the titles in the Assembly Hall of the University of Ljubljana. Prof. dr. Maja Pori from the Faculty of Sport of University of Ljubljana thanked in the name of new full professors and among other things said: "Criteria of the University of Ljubljana for obtaining this high title were not mild. Each of us went through a different route, but all of us needed a lot of hard work, creativity, understanding, talent, and last but not least persistence and stubbornness. Attained title brings with it greater responsibility. Responsibility for the future - to seek answers, putting questions and giving meaning. An ancient wisdom teaches “If you plan for one year, seed corn. If you plan for ten years, plant a tree. If you plan for the future, educate youth.” Therefore, what we owe to the future are good students.« 

Here you can read the entire acknowledgement of prof. dr. Maja Pori: Acknowledgement of the full prof. dr. Maja Pori.docx

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*Sir Richard J. Roberts is one of the world's most eminent scientists in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology, as it is evident from a number of recognitions for various scientific achievements. Together with Phillip Allen Sharp he received in 1993 the Nobel Prize in the field of physiology and medicine for his discovery of discontinuity of genes of higher organisms, in which the segments that encode proteins (exons) are separated by a longer DNA sequences that do not contain genetic information (introns). Furthermore, the Nobel committee pointed out that the discovery was fundamental for contemporary bioscience as well as for medical oriented researches for discovering the molecular bases of diseases, since it was previously accepted dogma, that genes are an unbroken chain of DNA. His name is on the website Superstars of Science at the 22th place in the company of 170 listed world's top scientists. His membership in the scientific council of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Technology (ICGEB), with which Slovenian researchers closely cooperate, is important for Slovenian researchers. At the symposium Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology (MolMed 2013), Sir Richard J. Roberts appeared as a lecturer with the introductory lecture »Genomes and bioinformatics as key discovery tools in the 21th century«.


 

The Author of photos is Željko Stevanić, IFP, d. o. o.