Iwar Klimes, MD, DSc, trained internist and Professor of Pathophysiology/Diabetes at the Comenius University School of Medicine in Bratislava, SK has spent three decades in basic and clinical research in integrated physiology, genetics, diagnostics and treatment of diabetes, metabolic and endocrine diseases. He serves also as a Research Professor /DSc/, who leads the Diabetes Research Laboratory at the Inst. of Exp. Endocrinology, as well as the Head of the DNA diagnostic laboratory for monogenic forms of diabetes /i.e. DIABGENE/. He currently serves also as the Chairman of the Slovak Endocrine Society. Prof. Klimes is also a longstanding committee member in the Slovak Diabetes Association where he has been serving in several leading positions. His research expertise in diabetes and metabolism was launched in the early eighties during his 20 months fellowship at the Clinical Diabetes Research Section of the NIDDKD-NIH in Phoenix, AZ, USA. He is an author and co-author of more than 96 CC in extenso publications, with more than 735 SCI citations and more than 250 other citations. He has been serving as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of several projects with continuous support from many grant agencies of national /VEGA, GAV, GAT, APVT, Slovak Ministry of Health/ or international /COST B5 and B17, PECO, 5th and the 6th Framework Program of the European Commission/ origin. In the present time he is the Principle Investigator of the APVV grant entitled „DNA analysis of monogenic forms of diabetes in Slovakia“. Prof. Klimes is currently also a Co-Investigator of a project of the 6th Framework Program of the EC entitled „The Danubian Biobank Initiative - Towards Information Based Medicine“.
Daniela Gasperikova, Mgr, PhD, vice-head of this research group, is a molecular biology specialist working in the Diabetes Research Laboratory & DIABGENE at the Institute of Exp. Endocrinology, SAS since 1992. After defending her PhD thesis in 1998 she accepted a Post-Doctoral position at the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA. Here she had learned a wide range of molecular biology techniques related to studies on regulation of gene expression by fatty acids. Her current major research focus involves molecular biology investigations on the role of inflammation in insulin resistance states related to human obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, she is very much involved into research activities of the DIABGENE laboratory, where she is responsible for keeping up the quality standards and setup of all new molecular biology methods. In addition, she is mentoring as a molecular biology specialist the PhD thesis research carried out by Dr. J. Stanik /look further in text/. She is an author/co-author of 27 in extenso papers (16 published in CC journals including the N Engl J Med, Physiol Genom, Diabetologia etc.), which have reached 64 SCI and 18 SCOPUS quotes in databases. She is the Principal Investigator of the current APVV grant on „Hormonal regulation of gene expression for enzymes of lipid metabolism in the adipose tissue of obese and insulin resistant subjects“ as well as of a grant from the Slovak Diabetes Association on ”Screening for adipocytokines in the adipose tissue from obese and insulin resistant subjects: regulation at the protein level.”
Pavel Langer, MD, DSc, Emeritus Research Professor P. Langer was born in Brno, Czech Republic. He graduated from the Comenius University School of Medicine in Bratislava in 1953. Since that time he has been working at the Institute of Exp. Endocrinology SAS. His main interests were naturally occurring goitrogens and mechanism of their action on the pituitary-thyroid axis, epidemiology of endemic goitre, thyroid disorders, iodine nutrition and metabolism as related to the effects of the mandatory use of iodized salt in this country. Most recently Emeritus Prof. Langer has been studying the mechanism of adverse health effects of persistent organochlorinated pollutants in the population living in an area heavily polluted by polychlorinated biphenyls. In the past, he worked three times as Invited Scientist at the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, and twice at the Institute of Endocrinology, Gunma University in Maebashi, Japan. He served as vice-president of the International Thyroid Conference in Boston (1975) and was a member of the European and American Thyroid Association. He has received several national and foreign awards. Dr. Langer was a long-term Executive Committee member of the Slovak Endocrine Society as well as of several national scientific councils. For more than 30 years he has been serving as the Executive Editor of the international journal Endocrine Regulations published by this Institute. For decades he had been head of the Thyroid Unit at this Institute. In the nineties he became a member of the research group headed by Professor Iwar Klimes. In 2001-2004 he served as the coordinator of one part of the international PCBRISK project supported under the 5th Framework Program Scheme of the European Commission. Professor Langer is author/co-author of more than 110 in extenso papers published in CC listed journals. Impact of his work has been indicated by more than 600 SCI quotes.
Jozef Ukropec, Mgr, PhD, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia graduated from the Commenius University School of Pharmacy in 1997. A year later, he commenced his PhD studies in the Institute of Exp. Endocrinology SAS under supervision of the Research Professor Elena Sebokova, PhD, DSc. At that time, Jozef’s main interests were focused at the role of lipids on insulin resistance in rodent models of diet-induced and/or genetically determined insulin resistance. Dr. Ukropec received his PhD in animal physiology in 2001. In spring of 2002, he moved to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, USA, where he worked for almost 4 years as a Post-Doctoral fellow in the Molecular Genetics Laboratory led by Leslie P. Kozak, PhD. Jozef’s major focus has been on investigating the alternative thermogenic mechanisms independent of the UCP1-brown fat thermogenesis as a possible target for obesity management. In 2006 he returned home to Bratislava and joined again the Diabetes Research Laboratory at this Institute. He started research on the role of mitochondria in the development of the obese phenotype using both animal models as well as human material from clinical studies of the Diabetes Laboratory. His results were published in 14 in extenso papers (12 of them in CC listed journals including J Biol Chem, Endocrinology or Lipids etc.) and these were quoted more than 25 times. Jozef’s wife Barbara is a scientist with expertise in molecular biology and biochemistry of skeletal muscle. They love their two children Kristina (D.O.B. 2000) and Jakub Max (D.O.B. 2006).
Martina Skopkova, RNDr, PhD is a native of Zilina, Slovakia. She graduated in biology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava in 2001, where she obtained her MSc degree together with the Rector’s Award for outstanding study achievements. This was soon followed by the RNDr degree from the same university. During her PhD training at the Department of Microbiology in Bratislava Martina has concentrated her research interests toward molecular mechanisms of the resistance of enterobacteria to antibiotics. This work was supported by a grant from the French government and was carried out in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, Bourgogne University in Dijon, France, where Martina spent working altogether 18 months. Dr Skopkova joined the Diabetes Research Laboratory in summer of 2004. Since then she has been actively participating in projects aimed at the elucidation of mechanisms involved in the development of insulin resistance with special focus on the role of adipose tissue. Her main research interest involves the role of obesity-related subclinical inflammation in development of insulin resistance, where Martina runs a variety of genomic and proteomic techniques. Dr Skopkova is author and co-author of 8 papers (5 in CC journals including J Clin Endocrinol Metab, Obesity, Antimicrob Agents Chemother, J Antimicrob Chemother, FEMS Microbiol Lett) quoted 25 times.
Juraj Stanik, MD, native of Bratislava, Slovakia, graduated at the Comenius University School of Medicine in 2002. In the same year he started his clinical training at the 1st Department of Pediatrics at the Comenius University Children Hospital in Bratislava. From his early days at the pediatric clinic he has been tightly associated with the Children Diabetes Center led by Lubomir Barak, MD, PhD. In 2004, Juraj Stanik got promoted to an Assistant Professor at the same department and started his molecular biology training as an external PhD student of the Diabetes Research Laboratory, mentored by Mgr. Daniela Gasperikova, PhD and prof I. Klimes, MD, DSc. His main research interests involve studies in monogenic diabetes, i.e. MODY, MIDD, MELAS, neonatal diabetes etc., which are very actively pursued in the DIABGENE Laboratory. Juraj is author and co-author of 6 in extenso papers (including the N Engl J Med and J Clin Endocrinol Metab).
Barbara Ukropcova, MD graduated in 1998 (cum laudam) from the School of Medicine Commenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Later in 2002, she obtained her specialization diploma in internal medicine. After 3 years of clinical work at the Department of palliative medicine at the Slovak National Institute of Oncology in Bratislava, Barbara accepted (post-doctoral) research position at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, USA in the Endocrinology Laboratory led by prof. Steven R Smith. For 3.5 years she was studying the basic pathophysiological mechanisms of diabetes and obesity, focusing on the role of skeletal muscle in insulin resistance. In particular, she studied principles of cell plasticity and metabolic flexibility using a cell culture model derived from human skeletal muscle. Barbara established measurements of the fatty acid and glucose oxidation and became very instrumental in quantitative PCR, western blot and other relevant techniques of molecular biology and biochemistry. Currently, Barbara is a PhD student in the Diabetes Laboratory lead by prof. Iwar Klimes. Barbara is an author and co-author of 5 CC listed papers (including Diabetes, J Clin Invest, Cell Metabolism, JCEM, Plos) quoted more than 30 times in CC listed journals.
RNDr. Miroslava Huckova graduated from clinical biochemistry at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia in 1977, where she obtained her RNDr. degree. Throughout the years she worked as biochemical specialist at departments of clinical biochemistry and research institutes in town, and earned two specialization diplomas in clinical biochemistry and clinical immunology. Since 2000 she has been working on a part time basis as an analytical specialist in this Laboratory taking care of all hormonal analyses. After opening of the DIABGENE in 2003, Dr. Huckova took over responsibility for the routine DNA diagnostics in this laboratory. She is author and co-author of 12 in extenso publications /6 in CC listed journals/ and one chapter in a textbook on basic and clinical endocrinology dealing with principles of hormonal analyses.
Alica Mitkova, a graduate from a specialized high school for industrial chemical technicians in Bratislava, has been working in this Laboratory since 1985. For many years she has been - as a Chief Lab Tech - supervising the daily life and the student folks in the Diabetes Laboratory. Moreover, Alice has worked at every single scientific project we had ever initiated in the lab since 1985. Alice’s expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology helped to resolve many scientific questions. In addition, Alice is skillful in small animal microsurgical techniques, what we have appreciated several years ago when setting up the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp technique in rats. Alice currently helps to investigate the role of adipose tissue in obesity and growth hormone deficiency with aid of the real time PCR. Alice has a big sporty heart and as an active swimmer, she has never had a back pain while working in the garden, where she spends a lot of time together with her family.
Mgr. Lucia Valentinova Mgr. Lucia Valentinova (born Kuklisova) was born in Bratislava. From early childhood she wanted to be a biochemist. Her dream has fullfiled, when she graduated in biochemistry at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava in 2007. During her studies she participated in development of new drugs for treatment of tuberculosis targeted to mycobacterial cell wall. Now she is working on her DPhil in the laboratory DIABGENE mentored by Dr. Daniela Gasperikova. Her main research interests encompass studies on the molecular mechanisms of the origin of monogenic diabetes. The area of her interest includes the screening of transcription factor genes (HNF1a, HNF4a, HNF1b), glucokinase gene (GCK) and genes coding for the two subunits of ATP sensitive potassium channel SUR1 and Kir6.2 (ABCC8 and KCNJ11). Damage at the DNA level in region of these genes can induce different types of monogenic diabetes, where the primary cause is the insufficient function of pancreatic beta cells. Lucia operates mainly the experiences with various genetic biochemical and DNA methods in her work, esspecially seuquencing and real-Time PCR. She has also skills in pre-screening mutations in transcription factor genes with the use of dHPLC methodology. In the laboratory DIABGENE she have introduced MLPA methodology for the detection of large deletions and insertions that cannot be detected by sequencing or dHPLC. In collaboration with Dr.Anna Gloyn from Oxford Centre of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Oxford, England Lucia is recently working on kinetic characterization of new unpublished glucokinase gene mutations which result in familial mild fasting hyperglycemia (MODY-2). She has been on 3-month visit in the laboratory Dr. Anna Gloyn, where she gained many new experiences and scientific knowledge of the glucokinase kinetics, which may in future be used in further research.
Mgr. Timea Kurdiova, is a native of Nové Zámky. She graduated in biology with a specialization of Animal Physiology and Ethology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava. After finishing her study she worked at the Institute of Animal Biochemistry and Genetics in Ivanka pri Dunaji, where she was interested in the study of effects of leptin on growth and angiogenesis during the development of a quail embryo. She obtained her basic knowledge from genetics and clinical diagnostics of cancer diseases during her almost one year stay in the Department of Onco-Genetics at the National Oncological Institution in a position of a cytogeneticist. In 2007, she joined the Diabetes Research Laboratory at the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology of SAS in Bratislava and from 2009 she is a PhD student in the field of Animal Physiology under the supervision of Mgr. Jozef Ukropec, PhD. Her topic is the role of mitochondria in the development of metabolic complications of obesity. She is a co-author of 2 publications.
MUDr. Daniela Stanikova,
Mgr. Ivica Masindova, born in Bratislava, gained her Master's degree in Animal Physiology and Ethology from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in 2010. She worked on her thesis titled "Identification of new genetic causes of monogenic forms of diabetes mellitus" under the supervision of Mgr. Daniela Gašperíková, PhD. in the DIABGENE laboratory. She has been participating in research and diagnostics of several types of monogenic diabetes. She has contributed to the laboratory team by using molecular-genetic techniques such as PCR, direct bidirectional sequencing, real-time PCR and RFLP. At present she works as a PhD student focussing on the study of monogenic metabolic disorders.
Mgr. Miroslav Balaz was born in Velky Krtis, Slovakia. In 2007 he joined the Diabetes Research Laboratory where he worked out his bachelor and diploma thesis under supervision of Dr. Ukropec. In 2010, Miroslav graduated at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Commenius University in Bratislava, with the Rector’s award for outstanding academic achievements. In the same year, Miroslav commenced his PhD study in the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology of SAS, where he proceeds under supervision of Dr. Ukropec in the study of molecular mechanisms modulating pathogenic character and endocrine properties of adipose tissue in obesity.
Bc. Martina Balogova,
Bc. Terezia Rendekova,