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Magnetic resonance imaging system for small laboratory animals
In vivo imaging facility with MRI and BLI/FLI imaging modalities
Dedicated BSL-2 compliant cell culture laboratory
Adjacent animal surgery for optimized experiment workflow

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The core idea of this project is based on combined biomaterials and stem cell applications in the brain monitored by combined bioluminescent imaging (BLI) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This would allow to enhance the stem cell delivery and integration in the brain and to monitor both the stem cells and their effects in the living animals (in vivo). BLI and MRI are technologies at the opposite parts of in vivo molecular imaging spectrum. BLI offers the maximum sensitivity, but the lowest resolution, while MRI has superior resolution with low sensitivity.

Bioluminescent imaging (BLI) is based on sources of light emitted from luminescent enzymes. Bioluminescence enzymes such as firefly luciferase (luc) emit light when provided with the appropriate substrate.

MRI imaging is based upon the proton movement of the hydrogen atom (H+), abundant as H2O in tissue. Protons are positively charged particles that spin in random directions in the absence of an external magnetic field. When caught in a strong magnetic field however, the protons align like compass needles. A brief radio signal is emitted and its intensity reflects the number of protons in a particular "slice" of matter.

The in vivo molecular imaging changes the use of animals in experiments. The strategy enables us to study biological processes in living animals in real time.

Glowbrain Innovation office is made out of Project Coordinator (Head of office) and Innovation Manager.

Main task of the Innovation Office is to enhance the IP and innovation capabilities of University of Zagreb School of Medicine (UZSM) – to support innovations and generation of new intellectual property (IP). It is also set to map the current situation in innovation-oriented research, to train all scientists involved in the project in intellectual property development and protection procedures and to assure the further sustainability of the innovation creation and IP procedures.

The goals will be achieved through collaboration with Partnering Organizations and other experts in the field combined with IP trainings and workshops.

The aim of this three-year project is the introduction of cutting-edge technology that will enable Croatian scientists to research stem cell and to track them during the brain damage repair of our experimental model - mouse. Apart from Croatian researchers, the project includes renowned scientists from seven countries of the European Union (Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Portugal and Sweden) whose knowledge in the field of stemcells, biomaterials and mouse brain imaging will help us to successfully participate in leading researches in this area. The main objectives of the project are modernization, innovation and education, and informing the general public about the importance of new approaches in brain diseases treatments.

We expect to gain important experience from our trainings at the Partnering Institutions and trainings. Our efforts will produce the following results:

  • obtaining state of the art equipment necessary for Croatian scientists to get involved into leading edge research
  • reversing “Brain Drain” into “Brain Gain” – return of quality scientists to Croatia
  • updating and mastering the most advanced methods in isolation, transplantation, labeling and differentiation of stem cells
  • starting a successful exchange of comparable batches of stem cells
  • improving and mastering methodology and approach in synthesis of biomaterials and their influence on stem cell behavior
  • learning advanced techniques in BLI-based tracing of stem cells
  • mastering the MRI approach in visualization of stem cells
  • improving our knowledge on advanced software for 3D imaging reconstruction
  • exchanging experience in analysis of bioimages and advancing our methods in combining various visualization methods
  • supporting innovations and generation of new intellectual property as well as improving methods of IP management of University of Zagreb School of Medicine

The main goal of this work package is to exchange the experience and know-how in:

  1. stem cell culture
  2. stem cell labeling and transplantation
  3. synthesis of innovative biomaterials
  4. application of innovative biomaterials
  5. visualizing brain and stem cells with BLI
  6. visualizing brain and stem cells with MRI
  7. use of small animals as disease models in neuroscience.

Each of our 7 partners will host one training per year and performs one training per year in Zagreb. Each training in partner institutions will last 3 months, while training in coordinator institution will last 1 month.

We will organize three Workshops containing lectures, round table discussions and practical demonstrations on the following topics:

  • Stem cell techniques,
  • Application of biomaterials in stem cell research, and
  • Visualization of molecular markers in the brain

We will also organize a 4-day Conference on “Stem cell and biomaterial applications for brain repair”

University of Zagreb School of Medicine (UZSM) is the single beneficiary which highly facilitates the management of the Project. The management is based on developing an effective management structure based on delegated responsibilities and extensive use of democratic principles. In addition to top-down decisions necessary to implement the proposed working plan, the particular care will be given to foster bottom-up principle, and to share all available information to all participants and personnel involved in the Project. Therefore one of the most important tasks of unlocking the potential of the UZSM research entity, i.e. knowledge on management of EU/international projects and funds, will be shared among all participants in the project, and in particular provided to the young researchers in the team.

In order to have Partner Organizations involved in the overall progress of the Project, the Persons in Charge of each Partner Organization together with Project Coordinator form the Steering Committee (SC). These 8 Members (7 Partnering Organizations + Project Coordinator) have voting and decision power.


  • Lund Stem Cell Center (LSCC), Lund University, Sweden
    Person in charge: Prof. Zaal Kokaia, PhD
  • Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research (MPINR), Cologne, Germany
    Person in charge: Prof. Dr. Mathias Hoehn
  • Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg (PMU), Salzburg, Austria
    Person in charge: Prof. Ludwig Aigner, PhD
  • Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM), Ancona, Italy
    Person in charge: Dr. Alessandra Giuliani
  • Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry AS CR (PIMC), Prague, Czech Republic
    Person in charge: Dr. Daniel Horák, PhD
  • Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary (SEMU)
    Person in charge: Dr. Zsombor Lacza
  • University of Minho, Portugal (UMINHO)
    Person in charge: Prof. Rui L. Reis PhD (M)


GlowBrain Board (GBoard) is assembled from the senior researchers of Croatian Institute for Brain Research (CIBR), whose scientific activities relate to stem cell applications for brain repair.

GBoard meets on the monthly basis. In most cases the decisions are expected to be made by agreements of the members, and the democratic principle would be very important. GBoard meetings discuss the overall progress of the working plan, delegate tasks, discuss improvements, share ideas, and coordinate the efforts. These meetings are used to explain and train the involved personnel to follow the logic and the rationale of the proposed Project (top-down principle), but in addition the meetings will serve as an incubator of ideas necessary for inventive organization and efficient improvement of the platform (bottom-up principle). GBoard reports to the Steering Committee, submitting the reports at the SC meetings.

  • Q&A

  • Researchers

  • Collaborators

    Other UZSM employees who do research related to GlowBrain

  • Frontpage Articles

  • Sample Blog

  • News

  • Results

  • RegMed

    Regional Network for Stem Cell Therapies and Regenerative Medicine (abbreviation: RegMed) is an EU FP7 project GlowBrain initiative with the goal of connecting experts from different areas with a long-term goal of setting up requirements for future stem cell therapies in Croatia. At the founding meeting held on Wednesday, November 06th, 2013, from 15:00 till 17:00 at the premises of Croatian Institute for Brain Research (CIBR), University of Zagreb School of Medicine the representatives from various areas: clinical researchers (orthopedics, dentistry, neurosurgery, transfusion medicine), basic researchers (regenerative medicine, functional genomics, molecular biology), bioethics, business sector and pharmaceutical industry, translational medicine and technology transfer agreed to be members of the Network with the following mission statement: Croatia should be among the first to establish regenerative medicine technologies, especially application of stem cells for the benefit of its citizens and economy". RegMed will set the framework of activities and support further collaborations in order to facilitate the development of regenerative medicine in Croatia. Members of the Network agreed to meet every two months. The meetings would consist of thematic lectures and formal and informal discussions.

    The Network will support and act as an intermediary for new activities. This will include applications for scientific and infrastructural projects and organization of training network. It is expected that the Network could generate new economic activities therefore it should gather the expertise to create new business models, contacts with industries and partnership and generation of SMEs with interest in regenerative medicine.

  • Final Conference

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Latest News

GlowBrain project coordinator recently particepated at a TEDx event organized in Osijek with a talk "Why our brains glow?". The video footage of his presentation is now available on our GlowBrain TV page and on our Facebook thread.


IPR workshop; 21.-22.12.2015.

How can research results create value and benefit scientists? Practical
issues of commercialization and protection of IP

Within the frame of EU FP7 Glowbrain project we are organizing an IPR workshop on 21.-22.December 2015.

at the Croatian Institute for Brain Research, lecture room ground floor.

Workshop is free of charge and you can submit your application by 17 December 2015 on following e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Within the EU FP7 GlowBrain project, 7. Work package - Ex-post Evaluation of UniZAG research potential, it is envisaged the engagement of Evaluators by the European Commission. Evaluators will visit Zagreb twice, the first time in order to gain insight into the activities that were going on in the project, and the second time to present their report.


Within the EU FP7 GlowBrain project a Regional Meeting on Optical Imaging will be held on November 5 2015 at University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Department for Histology and Embriology. Within the frame of GlowBrain project IVIS Spectrum was acquired and the idea of the meeting is bringing together users of IVIS or similar devices in vicinity in order to excange knowledge and experience in bioluminescence and fluorescence in vivo imaging.


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