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Jure Derganc

Assoc. Prof. in Biophysics at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana


Institute of biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana
Vrazov trg 2, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia
tel.: +386 1 5437615
e-mail: jure.derganc at
You Tube channel: CellBiophysics

Short CV

  • B.S. in physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana (1997)
  • Ph.D. in physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana (2003)
  • Training: Boston University (16 months); Institut Curie, Paris (3 months)
  • Employment: teaching position at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana (2003-present)
  • Awards: Lavrič award for outstanding pedagogical work at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana (2012)


Biophysics of lipid membranes and cells

The function of living cells depends crucially on the biophysical properties of their membranes and cellular structures. To study cellular biophysics, we combine advanced theoretical modeling with state-of-the-art experimental methods such as optical tweezers, micropipette manipulation, confocal microscopy and microfluidics. The topics we study include bottom-up synthetic biology, membrane remodeling in cellular processes, interaction of pore-forming proteins and peptides with membranes and the role of cytoskeleton in cellular mechanics.  The examples below show thin membrane nano-tubes pulled from a synthetic lipid vesicle using optical tweezers, and a cartoon showing how we use optical tweezers to probe cell elasticity.

Biomedical applications of microfluidics

Microfluidic systems provide a versatile platform for biomedical experiments which cannot be performed in a standard test tube or Petri dish. The channels in such systems are typically narrower than a human hair! We focus on development of new microfluidic systems for high-throughput single-cell analysis. One example of our research is a flow-free microfluidic diffusion chamber, which allows for accurate analysis of floating cells during changes of their chemical environment.

The example below shows a schematic design of the diffusion chamber, the flow past the chamber, and a burst of a white blood cell in a chamber exposed to water.

The example below shows high-throughput phenotyping of single model lymphocytes with Deformability Cytometry. In this method, the cells are pushed one-by-one at high speed through a narrow microchannel and deform due to high shear forces. We can analyze 500 cells per second and measure their size, deformability and morphology.

Selected publications

  • Pirc, Katja, et al., 2022. An oomycete NLP cytolysin forms transient small pores in lipid membranes. Science advances, eabj9406.
  • Zemljič-Jokhadar, Š., Kokot, G., Pavlin, M. and Derganc, J., 2021. Adhesion and Stiffness of Detached Breast Cancer Cells In Vitro: Co-Treatment with Metformin and 2-Deoxy-d-glucose Induces Changes Related to Increased Metastatic Potential. Biology, 10(9), p.873.
  • Gimenez-Andres, M., Emeršič, T., Antoine-Bally, S., D’Ambrosio, J.M., Antonny, B., Derganc, J. and Čopič, A., 2021. Exceptional stability of a perilipin on lipid droplets depends on its polar residues, suggesting multimeric assembly. Elife10, p.e61401.
  • Jokhadar, S.Z., Iturri, J., Toca-Herrera, J.L. and Derganc, J., 2020. Cell Stiffness under Small and Large Deformations Measured by Optical Tweezers and Atomic Force Microscopy: Effects of Actin Disruptors CK-869 and Jasplakinolide. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.
  • Hartman, S.V., Božič, B. and Derganc, J., 2018. Migration of blood cells and phospholipid vesicles induced by concentration gradients in microcavities. New biotechnology47, pp.60-66.
  • Mally, M., Božič, B., Hartman, S.V., Klančnik, U., Mur, M., Svetina, S. and Derganc, J., 2017. Controlled shaping of lipid vesicles in a microfluidic diffusion chamber. RSC advances7(58), pp.36506-36515.
  • Marvin, T., Derganc, J. and Battelino, S., 2017. Adapting the Freiburg monosyllabic word test for Slovenian. Linguistica57(1), pp.197-210.
  • Derganc, J. and Čopič, A., 2016. Membrane bending by protein crowding is affected by protein lateral confinement. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Biomembranes1858(6), pp.1152-1159.
  • Osterman, N., Derganc, J. and Svenšek, D., 2016. Formation of vortices in long microcavities at low Reynolds number. Microfluidics and Nanofluidics20(2), p.33.
  • Derganc, J., Antonny, B. and Čopič, A., 2013. Membrane bending: the power of protein imbalance. Trends in biochemical sciences38(11), pp.576-584.
  • Vrhovec, S., Mally, M., Kavčič, B. and Derganc, J., 2011. A microfluidic diffusion chamber for reversible environmental changes around flaccid lipid vesicles. Lab on a Chip11(24), pp.4200-4206.
  • Derganc, J., 2007. Curvature-driven lateral segregation of membrane constituents in Golgi cisternae. Physical Biology4(4), p.317.
  • Derganc, J., Mironov, A.A. and Svetina, S., 2006. Physical factors that affect the number and size of Golgi cisternae. Traffic7(1), pp.85-96.