RESEARCHERS – Group for Nutrition and Metabolism

Marija Takić, PhD, Senior Research Associate (Group Leader)
Marija Takić is a PhD in biochemistry. The research of biological effects of fatty acids, polyphenols, zinc and other nutrients as well as clarification of their mechanisms of action are her primary field of scientific interest. The changes in fatty acids profiles in different patological conditions (obesity, diabetes, chronic renal disease) have been investigated in her previous studies. Marija Takic has participated as researcher in dietary treatment studies with aronia juice, supplementation of diet with lineseed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, walnuts and soya lecithin. She is interest in exploring the influence of exogeneous ligand binding to human serum albumin on its structure and antioxidant activity.

Tamara Popović, PhD, Senior Research Associateć-664612228
dr Tamara Popović is PhD biochemist, Research Associate Prof working in Institute for medical research from 2000. At the beginning her research field was cardiovascular physiology and after 2006 she spread her research to the field of Nutrition and metabolism. Mainly focused on animal model lipid metabolism (in different organs and blood), biochemical blood parameters and parameters of oxidative stress dr Popović was actively focused on several clinical studies (DMT2, obstructive jaundice, colorectal cancer) and results of lipid metabolism and fatty acids profiles in those studies were published. Lately dr Popović studies of different types of food are in experimental focus. Dr Popović participated in all national projects from 2000 as well as in several European projects frame FP6 and FP7 and several COST Projects. Static magnetic field of low capacity and its influence on tissues and organs as well on plant physiology are in dr Popović experimental focus last 5 years with successful publications and interesting conclusions. Those studies were conducted with colleges from Institute for physics University in Belgrade. She is very devoted researcher open for new scientific ideas and approaches and most of all she is a team belonging researcher.

Gordana Oggiano, PhD, Senior Research Associate rs
linkedin. com/in/gordana-petrovic-oggiano-md-ph-ab17973b
Gordana Oggiano,, PhD, med. doctor, specialist for prev. medicine, was included in different European projects, in human studies to investigate influence of polyphenols on fatty acid profiles and anti-oxidative status, also effect of consummation of 56g nuts per day in exam patients on fatty acid profile, part of work is counselling in dietotherapy.

Marija Ranić, PhD, Research Associate
Marija Ranić is a doctor of biochemical engineering and biotechnology in the Nutrition and Metabolism Group. Her main field of research is nutrition and metabolism and the impact of nutrition on disease prevention and health promotion. Dr Ranic research focus is on the evaluation and reuse of waste products obtained during food preparation, and the use of extracted bioactive components as ingredients for functional foods. Marija is interested in the development of new food recipes and food products from underutilized plant varieties, which includes the creation of new recipes, the development of protocols, and the implementation of sensory evaluation of novel foods by consumers and experts in the nutrition field. Dr Ranić is also involved in spreading excellence through the dissemination of scientific results and media promotion.

Jelena Milešević, PhD, Research Associate
Jelena Milešević holds PhD in technology engineering, in food technology, Masters in nutrition and rural development and she is biochemist, engaged in Group for nutrition and metabolism in Center or Research Excellence in Nutrition and Metabolism. Her research focus is in development and research application of food composition and food consumption databases.

Nevena Vidović (rođ. Kardum), PhD, Senior Research Associate
Nevena Vidovic (born Kardum) is doctor of medical science – pharmacy in Centre of research excellence in nutrition and metabolism. Her research is dedicated to the investigation of health promoting effects of nutritive and (non)nutritive (bioactive) compounds of foods. This refers to the development and conduction of clinical trials, with healthy volunteers or subjects at some risk of cardiovascular and other chronic disease. The biomarkers evaluated in these studies include routine biochemical parameters, parameters of platelet function, plasma and blood cells fatty acid profile, and antioxidant/oxidative status. Also, the research activities of Nevena Vidovic include investigation of the effects of bioactive compounds and their human metabolites on platelet activation and their aggregation with other cells in whole blood samples of healthy volunteers. Also, Nevena Vidovic is interested in the development of other in vitro and ex vivo models to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlining effects of bioactive compounds on human health.

Jasmina Debeljak Martacic PhD, Senior Research Associate Jasmina Debeljak Martacic is a doctor of biological sciences. She received her doctorate at the Faculty of Biology in Belgrade on a topic related to the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells originating from the dental pulp of children. Jasmina Debeljak Martacic is employed in the group for nutrition and metabolism under the leadership of Dr. Marija Takic.. After obtaining her PhD, her interests changed in the direction of lipids, i.e. fatty acid profiles in different animal models and human pathologies. She is still interested both in work on stem cells and in work on determining the profile of fatty acids in food and on different models. Additionally, she is involved in cooperation with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, specifically with the pathohistology laboratory, on model systems of dogs with atopic dermatitis and epilepsy respectively. She was involved in several European projects related to the formation and maintenance of the first Serbian food composition database. The database is still being updated.

Ivana Šarac, PhD, Research Associate PhD
Dr Ivana Šarac graduated Medicine in 1998 at Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade. She finished MSci postgraduate studies in Nutrition in 2004 at the same Faculty. She specialized Hygiene in 2006 at Faculty of Medicine, University of Niš. She obtained PhD degree in Diabetes and Metabolic Medicine at University of Surrey, UK, in 2014. In 2016, she joined the Center of Excellence in Nutrition and Metabolism Research, at the Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, as Research Associate. Her research interests include:  public health nutrition; metabolism; physiopathology and endocrinology of obesity, metabolic syndrome and eating disorders; the role of nutrition in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases (obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer); the role of nutrition in reproductive and immune function; metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates; gender differences in metabolism; research of lipids kinetics by the use of stable isotopes. She is interested in personalized nutrition.

Marija Knez, PhD, Research Associate /
Marija Knez received her PhD degree from Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering, where she studied as an Australian Government Scholar. Prior to this Marija has completed bachelors’ degrees in Human Nutrition and Health Sciences and has worked at Flinders University as a Research Assistant for eight years. Dr Knez’s research focuses on the micronutrients, zinc and iron in particular. Through her PhD work she examined the role of the LA:DGLA ratio in predicting the Zn status of humans and animals, proposing that the ratio could be an emerging biomarker of zinc status. Additionally, she investigated Fe and Zn interaction and examined the effectiveness of Zn biofortified wheat in improving the zinc status of consumers. Dr Knez is committed to contribute to new findings in areas of nutritional and clinical research with an aim of helping in alleviating the problem of iron and zinc deficiencies in the world. This commitment has been shaped by her experiences and work at Flinders University, Australia, Cornel University, NY and University of Belgrade, Serbia. Marija is currently settled in Serbia where she works at the Centre of Research Excellence in Nutrition and Metabolism within the Institute of Medicine, University of Belgrade.

Milica Zeković, PhD, Senior Research Associate
Milica Zeković holds PhD in pharmacy and is a researcher of the Center of Reseach Excellence in Nutrition and Metabolism. Her bibliography proves previous research activities addressing nutritional quality and status assessment, personalized nutrition, evaluation of nutrient adequacy and pertinent health implications, as well as scientific work in the field of urology and uro-oncology. Dr. Zeković made a significant contribution to the development and advancement of the harmonized and standardized research infrastructure relevant for nutritional epidemiology and public health in Central and Eastern Europe. Her scientific interest, evidenced by active participation in epidemiological studies, clinical trials, methodological appraisals and reviews includes both whole-diet approach and particular nutrients and bioactive non-nutritive compounds including folate, vitamin D, polyphenols, fatty acids, nitrites, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Furthermore, Dr. Zeković’s research work includes nutritional status assessment among oncological patients, including anthropometric, biochemical, dietary and clinical determinants, with reference to the specificities of the pathological entity, applied therapeutic procedures and the estimated risk of adverse effects and delayed sequelae.

Slavica Ranković, PhD, Research Associate
Slavica Rankovic is a doctor of biological sciences in the group for nutrition and metabolism. Her research is focused on studying the effects of different types of diets, examining the effects of different oils, as well as examining the effects of aronia juice consumption on different animal models (rats, mice, dogs). The investigated effects of different types of diets, oil, chokeberry juice on the profile of fatty acids were determined in different tissues and organs. She was also engaged in research related to the influence of aronia juice consumption on behavior (anxiety and depression) in Wistar rats. She also participated in various human studies. She is currently engaged in the realization of the scientific project of the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia, Program Ideas, entitled “Identification and functional characterization of extracellular and intracellular genetic regulators of ferroptosis related processes in multiple sclerosis-FerroReg”, scientific area: multiple sclerosis. Slavica Rankovic also contributed to filling and updating the Serbian food composition database.

Vuk Stevanović PhD, Scientific Associateć-340b19128
Vuk Stevanović is PhD sports and physical education. His research can be divided into two groups.
The first relates to research in the field of neurophysiology and sports sciences, while the second
relates to research in the field of nutrition and metabolism, which contributed to the construction of a
bridge between these fields. He participated in interventional dietary studies in which the effects of
polyphenol-rich juice consumption on the cardiovascular and motor skills of recreational athletes
were studied. He is interested in research related to the influence of certain supplements on the
recovery and muscle contractile ability of recreational and professional athletes.

Irena Krga, PhD, Research Associate N/A N/A
Irena Krga is a research associate of the Center of Excellence for Nutrition and Metabolism at the Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Serbia. She received her doctorate from the University of Clermont-Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand in France and the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, as part of the international “Cotutela” program as a French government scholarship holder. She conducted her doctoral research at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRAe). Her research interest is the role of polyphenols (plant food phytochemicals) in health promotion and prevention of chronic diseases, with a focus on identifying their molecular mechanisms of action in clinical, animal, and in vitro studies. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis in the United States of America, where she is evaluating the efficacy of new therapeutic strategies, including the intermittent ketogenic diet, in animal models of pancreatic cancer.

Marta Despotović PhD student, Research Assistant
Marta Despotović is currently working on her PhD thesis in Nutritional Immunology, which aims to compare the effects of different diets on the immune system. Specifically, she is studying the impact of vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore diets on cytokine/hemokine and acute phase protein status, the production of proinflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, nutrient status (including vitamins, minerals and fatty acids), the concentration of eicosanoids and adipokines, and basic biochemical parameters. Her study involves 160 patients, with 80 on a vegetarian diet (including both vegan and vegetarian participants, which will later be separate in 2 groups) and 80 omnivores from Belgrade, Serbia. She is focused on the principle that every individual is unique and requires a personalized and holistic approach to diet and healing, particularly when it comes to treating disease. In her work, she embraces the philosophy that the mind and body are interconnected and that a comprehensive approach is necessary to promote health and wellness. She believes that combining psychology, nutrition and immunology is essential for a complete approach to avoiding and treating diseases.

In pension:
Mirjana Gurinović, MD.PhD Nutrition, Research Advisor, International Expert for Sustainable Food systems and Healthy Diet

In memoriam:
Marija Glibetić, PhD, Research Advisor (1958 – 2023)

Dr Maria Glibetic




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