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Prof. Mateja Erdani Kreft, PhD

Research interests

  • The establishment of biomimetic normal and cancerous in vitro models for studying the mechanisms of cell proliferation, differentiation, the cytotoxicity of different agents, and for validation of potential therapeutic agents.

  • Studying the anti-microbial and anti-cancer activity of human amniotic membrane.

  • Studying the dynamics of endocytosis in urothelial cells and other cell types.

  • Studying the intracellular transport of transmembrane protein.

  • Studying the reorganization of the Golgi apparatus, plasma membrane and cytoskeleton during uroplakin synthesis and urothelial plaque formation.

  • Studying the mechanisms of formation, structure and function of tunneling membrane nanotubes.

  • Studying long-term impact of nanoparticles on different cell types.

Methodological expertise


Cell and tissue engineering, the establishment of normal and cancer models and in vitro, light microscopy (phase-contrast, fluorescence, confocal, optical sectioning and 3D reconstruction, and image analysis), electron microscopy (transmission and scanning electron microscopy), correlative microscopy, freeze-fracture replica immunolabelling (FRIL), nuclear microinjection, chemical transfection, western blot, qPCR, gelatin zymography, ciliary beat frequency analysis, methods for studying endocytosis, transepithelial resistance, permeability, and immunolabeling.

Project leadership/management

  • 12.4.2018–15.4.2023: COST Action: CA17116 International Network for Translating Research on Perinatal Derivatives into Therapeutic Approaches. Member of Management Committee and Work group leader.2004–2006: Postdoc Project (Grant No. Z3-6046-0381-04) with the title Wound healing of the urinary bladder urothelium: In vitro models

  • 11.9.2020―31.8.2023: Principal Investigator of the research project J7-2594: The amniotic membrane as a novel multimodal therapy for bacterial cystitis and bladder cancer: unravelling its antimicrobial, immunomodulatory and anticancer activity

  • 2010–2022: Project leader of joined industrial projects (Lek d.d, Sandoz, Novartis): CROS 26/2010, CROS 207/2011, CROS 2012-419, CROS 2734-2013, CROS 14512-2013, CROS 10307-2014, MA-7367-2016-2017, MIG-2401-2018, ESOPH-1306-2018, ESOPH-2009-2018, ESOPH‐1306‐2018, ESOPH-2510-2018, MIG-0804-2019, FAGO-2209-2019, FAGO-2704-2020, FAGO-1506-2020, HYPOSKIN -2403-2021, EpiCorneal-2504-2022, MucilAir-AR-1303-2023. 

  • 2019-2021  Tertiary project titled "Analysis of molecular, morphological and physiological causes of premature rupture of fetal membranes" UKC KO for Gynecology and Obstetrics - Institute of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, UL.

  • 2021–2022: Project leader of joined industrial projects (Jadran Galenski Laboratorij, d.d., Croatia): MUCILAIR-2705-2021, MUCILAIR-2705-2021-2022.  

  • 1.5.2014–31.12.2015: Principal Investigator in bilateral BI-HR/14-15-031 project with the title Role of inflammation in bladder tumorigenesis.

  • 2018-2020  Tertiary project titled "Ultrastructural analysis of bladder biopsies of patients with urothelial carcinomas after monopolar and bipolar electrocautery, and the establishment of bladder tissue explants of urothelial carcinomas for testing the effect of amniotic membrane and mitomyxin. UKC KO Urology - Institute of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, UL.

  • 1.1.2016–31.12.2018: Principal Investigator of the research project J3-7494 - Tunneling nanotubes for innovative urinary bladder cancer treatments.

  • 1.2.2015–31.7.2015: Project leader and Pedagogical Mentor of the project Creative Path to Practical Knowledge entitled "The Research Application Approach to Selective Treatment of Urinary Cancer"; Public Scholarship, Development, Disability and Maintenance Fund of the Republic of Slovenia,  European Social Fund

Patents and patent pending


  • Patent pending European Patent Office: ERDANI-KREFT, Mateja, ŽELEZNIK RAMUTA, Taja. Procedure for preparation of amniotic membrane homogenate, based antimicrobial agent = Verfahren zur herstellung eines antimikrobiellen mittels auf basis von amnionmembranhomogenat = Procédé de préparation d'un agent antimicrobien à base de broyat de membrane amniotique : Publication number EP 3 917 549 A0, 2021-12-08. Munich: European Patent Office, 2021. 43 str., ilustr., [COBISS.SI-ID 34223065]

  • Patent Eurasian Patent Office: ERDANI-KREFT, Mateja, KEŠE, Darja, KUZNETSOVA, Marina V., PREDOJEVIĆ, Luka, STARČIČ ERJAVEC, Marjanca. Biomimetičeskaja in vitro model urotelija sviny dlja ocenki patogennosti ptičyh patogennyh štammov Escherichia coli dlja čeloveka : Evrazijskij patent 042557 B1, 2023-02-27. [S. l.: Eurasian Patent Office, EAPO], 2023. 4 str., ilustr., [COBISS.SI-ID 5279567] patent family: SI 25947 A, 2021-06-30; P-201900249, 2019-12-18

  • Patent: ERDANI-KREFT, Mateja, DRAGIN JERMAN, Urška, VERANIČ, Peter. A method for establishing bio-mimetic in vitro model of bladder cancer and the use of this model: the patent pending, No. P-201600065, date: 9.3.2016. Ljubljana, patent no. SI 25156 A, date 29. 9. 2017: The Slovenian Intellectual Property Office, 2017. 16 f., ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 32541401]

  • Patent pending: BREGAR, Vladimir Boštjan, VERANIČ, Peter, LOJK, Jasna, ERDANI-KREFT, Mateja, PAVLIN, Mojca. Cell labeling with poly-acrylic acid coated magnetic nanoparticles: GB1418311.5 15.10.2014. [Newport]: United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office, 2014. [COBISS.SI-ID 10825556] patent: BSDOCID162308

  • Patent: ERDANI-KREFT, Mateja, DRAGIN JERMAN, Urška. Procedure for establishing a differentiated urothelium on the denuded human amniotic membrane: patent pending no. P-201100455, date 6. 12. 2011, patent no. 23952, date 28.6.2013. Ljubljana: The Slovenian Intellectual Property Office, 2013. 14 pages., Ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 29432281]

  • Patent: ERDANI-KREFT, Mateja, DRAGIN JERMAN, Urška. Procedure for establishing a differentiated urothelium on the connective tissue of the intact human amniotic membrane: patent pending no. P-2011100110, date 24.3.2011, patent no. SI 23673, date 28.9.2012. Ljubljana: The Slovenian Intellectual Property Office, 2012. 11 pages., ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 28297689]

Professional assignments

  • Member of the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports, Histochemistry and Cell Biology, and Bladder

  • Member of Terminology Committee of Slovenian Biochemistry Society

  • Member of the Commission on Student Matters, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana

  • Member of the Commission for the commission exams for the subject Cell Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology

  • Reviewer of bachelor, master and doctoral theses

  • Reviewer of textbooks and original scientific and review articles in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine , Cell Communication and Signalling,  Developmental Biology, Molecular Pharmaceutics, PlosOne, Tissue Engineering, Tumor Biology, Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, Cell and Tissue Banking, Cell and Tissue Research,  Experimental Cell Research, Histochemistry and Cell Biology, Onco Targets and Therapy, Gene, Folia biologica et geologica, Radiology and Oncology.

Membership in professional associations

1991- Natural History Society of Slovenia

2004- Cell and Tissue Engineering Society of Slovenia

2006- Slovenian Biological Society

2008- Slovenian Microscopical Society

2010- Slovenian Biochemical Society

2004, 2007, 2012 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society (TERMIS)

2018- Genetics Society of Slovenia

2022- International Placenta Stem Cell Society (IPLASS)

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