What is your position at your institution and where are you from?

I come from Serbia, where I received my BSc degree in Molecular Biology and Physiology from the University of Belgrade. Following the completion of my undergraduate studies, I relocated to the Netherlands, where I was awarded a full scholarship for the Master’s in Molecular Medicine and Innovative Treatment at the University of Groningen. Alongside my academic pursuits, I had the opportunity to join the Rout Lab at The Rockefeller University during my second-year research project of my Master’s studies. My stay at the Rout Lab was extended past my Master’s studies as a Foreign Research Intern and I have held this position while preparing for my upcoming PhD program in the Netherlands, which has received support through a fellowship granted by the University of Groningen.

What are your research interests?

Currently my research at the Rout Lab revolves around LINE-1 retrotransposons and their implications in inflammation and age-related diseases. I employ techniques such as affinity capture, mass spectrometry, and other biochemical methods to explore how LINE-1 encoded proteins contribute to the generation of immunogenic nucleic acids and their role in propagating inflammation and driving disease progression. Beyond my work on LINE-1 at the Rout Lab, my research in the Netherlands is dedicated to investigating mitochondrial dysfunction and its downstream effects in various diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, as well as cardiovascular disorders. My overarching interest lies in replicating and understanding complex interactions present during stress conditions which are common to many diseases, as I believe this understanding holds the potential to drive innovative therapeutic advancements.

What motivated you to collaborate/work with us? What do you hope to gain from your experience at NCDIR?

I saw this as a remarkable opportunity for professional growth and collaborative research.  As someone with a strong interest in exploring the intricate mechanisms of biomolecular interactions, my primary goal is to expand my technical skill set and broaden my expertise so that I can apply it to other topics of interest. In addition, working at The Rockefeller University is a great chance to meet experts from various fields and experience the research landscape of the United States. Moreover, I hope to expand my network and establish scientific collaborations for the projects I am involved in now and my own future research.