Slovenian scientists have strong knowledge, expertise, skills and equipment for structural biology studies, including X-ray crystallography, NMR and cryo-EM. This is reflected in high-quality publications in high-impact scientific journals, success in funding applications for EU projects (ERC, MSC fellowships, MOSBRI, various COST projects, Interreg etc.), invited talks at foreign academic institutions or conferences etc. Below is description of the main strengths and structural biology-related equipment available at member institutions of Instruct.SI.

CIPKeBiP and Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS)

Equipment fully or partly managed by CIPKeBiP (Centre of Excellence for Integrated Approaches in Chemistry and Biology of Proteins) and IJS:

  • X-ray crystallography with major pieces being X-ray diffractometer (rotating anode Microstar, goniometer, detector Photon II (Bruker)), pipetting robot Gryphon (Art Robbins Instruments), and crystal imaging system for 500 and 180 plates (Formulatrix)
  • light microscopy: Zeiss super resolution microscopes (located at University of Ljubljana), Leica microscope (located at University of Maribor), Olympus IX81
  • mass spectrometry: Bruker MALDI TOF, ESI QTOF, Orbitrap
  • protein preparation: incubators for cell cultivation (E. coli, Pichia, insect and mammalian cells), and AKTA chromatographic systems for protein purification
  • protein analysis: HPLC and nano-HPLC, ITC, spectrometers (double channel fluorescence spectrometer, plate reader), real time PCR, N-terminal sequencer, nano-DSF
  • computing: computer cluster

Links to pages with detailed descriptions:

National Institute of Chemistry (NIC)

Researchers at four NIC departments work in the field of of life sciences and employ methodology of integrative structural biology. Additionally, two departments working in the field of (hybrid) material sciences, also employ structural biology equipment in their studies. This equipment includes:

  • NMR: 1× 400 MHz, 4× 600 MHz, and 1× 800 MHz NMR spectrometers (part of Slovenian NMR Centre)
  • cryo-EM: ThermoFischer Sci Glacios (200 kV) cryo-electron microscope, sample preparation room including the Vitrobot, and data storage/processing equipment
  • X-ray crystallography: temperature-controlled crystallization room, stereomicroscope, equipment for crystal freezing, cryo-storage and sending to synchrotron facilities
  • SAXS: in-house SAXS (SAXSpoint 5.0 System Anton Paar with Primux 100 micro X-ray source (Cu))
  • protein preparation: equipment for the recombinant protein production in bacteria, insect, yeast and mammalian cells, cell culture rooms/equipment, and chromatographic systems for protein purification
  • protein analysis: biochemical and biophysical characterization of biological samples (CD spectrometer, SPR, ITC, MST, various optical microscopes, plate readers)
  • single molecule imaging: LUMICKS C-Trap EDGE 350 fluorescence TIRF microscope coupled to an optical tweezer and a microfluidics system

NIC also has strong expertise in theoretical (computational) structural biology. NIC has state-the-art expertise in protein design and theoretical-computational biology.

Detailed lists of equipment at web pages of individual departments:

National Institute of Biology (NIB)

Department for Biotechnology and System Biology at NIB has expertise in basic and applied research in the fields of biotechnology, system biology and virology. Structural biology-related equipment includes conventional transmission electron microscopes (TEM) used mostly for biological samples observations. Areas of expertise include sample preparation via embedding or negative staining, and observation of biological samples from different tissues, cell cultures, algae, to bacteria, viruses, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.

University of Ljubljana (UL)

Research in the field of structural biology is conducted at several member faculties of University of Ljubljana, therefore equipment and expertise is listed per faculty.

Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (UL FKKT)

At UL FKKT, structural biology-related research is conducted primarily at Chair of Biochemistry and Chair of Physical Chemistry which host equipment for:

  • protein production at lab scale in bacteria, yeast, insect and mammalian cells (equipment for molecular cloning and cell cultivation), and ÄKTA chromatographic systems for protein purification
  • protein characterization: SEC-RALS/LALS, UV/Vis and fluorescence spectrometers, ITC, CD, nano-DSC
  • X-ray crystallography: crystallization room with temperature-controlled chamber, pipetting robot Crystal Gryphon (Art Robbins Instruments), stereomicroscope (Zeiss), equipment for crystal freezing, cryo-storage and sending to synchrotron facilities
  • computing: computer cluster
  • light microscopy: confocal microscope Leica DMi8 / TCS SP8

UL FKKT is a part owner of the Glacios cryo-electron microscope hosted at National Institute of Chemistry.

Some equipment listed above is part of the UL FKKT Centre for Research Infrastructure while smaller pieces are managed by individual chairs. Lists of equipment by faculty units:

Biotechnical Faculty (UL BF)

UL BF hosts equipment for analytical approaches based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR) with major expertise in protein–lipid and protein–protein interactions:

Faculty of Medicine (UL MF)

UL MF hosts equipment for super-resolution fluorescence microscopy (SIM, STED), confocal microscopy with imaging spectroscopy for second messengers and metabolites, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and electrophysiology of nanometre dimensions (attoFarad capacitance measurements of membrane area in real-time).

For detailed list of research equipment please consult the research infrastructure list.

Faculty of Pharmacy (UL FFA)

Main structural biology-related expertise at UL FFA is structure-based drug discovery and medicinal chemistry with access to NMR and LC/MC.

For detailed list of research equipment please consult the research equipment list.

University of Maribor (UM)

Researchers at UM Faculty of Medicine have extensive experience with confocal fluorescence microscopy, utilizing one upright Leica confocal microscope TCS-SP5 II with multiphoton functionality and one inverted Leica confocal microscope TCS-SP5 II, as well as a state-of-the-art Leica Stellaris 8 Falcon DIVE microscope with multiphoton functionality. They have recently obtained a Leica Stellaris 8 Falcon STED microscope that is capable of super-resolution imaging, bridging the gap between cellular and subcellular levels of biological structures, and complementing other integrative structural biology approaches. They are also experienced in advanced computational modelling of natural processes and different computer simulations using supercomputer technology, utilizing the HPC Maister (University of Maribor) and HPC Vega (IZUM).

University of Nova Gorica (UNG)

UNG has equipment and expertise for:

  • isolation of ligands for macromolecule structural characterization from proprietary collections and technology for their reproducible functionalization into application-specific reagents,
  • phage display technology including libraries (one of nanobodies and one of adhirons, an alternative scaffold with different paratope geometry) as well as validated platform for panning, screening and production.