Dr. Tilen Koklič

has made significant strides in nanotoxicology, with his work published in “Advanced Materials” one of the world’s most prestigious journals. His research has contributed to understanding chronic inflammation caused by inhaled nanoparticles, which is crucial for predicting long-term health hazards. He serves as a Scientific Advisor and Co-founder at Infinite Biotech a pioneering biotechnology company that aims to deliver long-term health hazard assessments without using animals.

Več informacij: https://lbf.ijs.si/team/KoklicTilen/

Research programme: Experimental biophysics of complex systems and imaging in biomedicine
Training topic: Microscopy and identification of molecular events in cancer initiation

Prediction of chronic inflammation-related diseases is hampered by a lack of mechanistic understanding and the currently limited reach of toxicological investigations. We spent 200 man-years as part of an 8 million European project to discover the mechanism responsible for triggering chronic lung inflammation after inhaling nanoparticles. To understand the development of more complex diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis, blood clotting, and cancer, in a much shorter period, a paradigm shift in the discovery of mechanisms is urgently needed. Apparently, in an animal-free way.

The young researcher will participate in the development of a new concept (uCellnNet) to accelerate the mechanistic detection of disease development, with which we want to divide the response of a complex native tissue with a branched network of interactions and molecular events between several types of cells into a network of pairs of individual cell types, among which we can observe individual modes of intercellular interactions. For high-throughput monitoring of only these in real-time, we will develop a device with cells populated on a glass chip with micron resolution. Finally, we will validate the proposed uCellnNet concept on the current hypothesis of the signaling pathway in the development of fibrosis or lung cancer, which includes three key cell types (lung epithelial cells, macrophages, and fibroblasts).

The research work of the young researcher will be related to work in:

– Program groups: Experimental biophysics of complex systems, Biophysics Laboratory, Department of Solid State Physics (F5), Jožef Stefan Institute;

– Development groups of the company Infinite, development of bio-medical technologies d.o.o.

and involved in an applied research project entitled Development of a concept for mechanistic prediction of fibrosis and activation of blood coagulation caused by inhaled materials (uCellnNet) (1/10/2022 – 1/10/2025)

The research field of the young researcher will be oriented towards scientific research and applied biophysics. In the research problem, the study of cell interactions (cell pairs) in limited chip geometries, which are about 100 times smaller than microfluidic devices, will be crucial. For research, he will use different cell pairs (e.g. lung pair: epithelial cells and macrophages) and microscopies used in the Laboratory of Biophysics (LBF) and the company Infinite d.o.o. Research will occur in collaboration with both groups (LBF and Infinite). In addition to the experimental work, I will also develop theoretical predictive methods that could be used to predict the onset of long-term health complications.