Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - SYSTHER

Prof. Tamara Lah Turnsek, Ph.D.

NIB Representative

Contact: tamara.lah[at]
Please, replace [at] with @ before sending the message

National Institute of Biology
Vecna pot 111
1000 Ljubljana

+386 1 241 29 70
+386 1 241 29 80



Curriculum vitae


Tamara T. Lah, born 1947 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, holds a (BS in Organic Chemistry, an MS in Chemistry/Biochemistry, and) PhD in Biochemistry, all from the University of Ljubljana.
Prof. Tamara T. Lah has since 1995 to present been Director of National Institute of Biology, Ljubljana and until 2003 the Head of Department of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Biology, which she established at NIB.


Work experience
Since 1999 she is also Associate Professor at University of Ljubljana, teaching Tumor Biology. Previously to that she was Senior Research Associate at Josef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, where she started her scientific career. Her professional career outside Slovenia has mainly included the position of Assistant Professor at School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit MI, USA (1984-1987) and from 1991-1994 she was Visiting Professor and Director of Metastasis Research Laboratory, Albert Einstein Medical Centre, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Professional interests and experience
Principal Investigator of the Programmes on Ecotoxicology, Toxicogenomics and Cancer Biology since 2000 to present – expertise in:

A. Basic research

  • Exploring the general role of cathepsins and their inhibitors in physiological and pathological conditions and in particular in cancer. Studies of lysosomal enzymes, cathepsins, in human tumors and tumor cells in culture.
  • Cancer biology, particularly invasion, metastasis, apoptosis and angiogenesis, metastasis, stem cell biology and application.
  • Mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Mechanisms of DNA damage and repair, produced by heavy metals and natural toxins. Antimutagens of natural origin.

B. Application and clinical research

  • Prognostic application: Possible clinical application of cathepsins as tumor and/or metastasis markers in diagnosis, prognosis and/or as indicators of therapy (of breast carcinoma, lung cancer, brain tumors).
  • Therapeutic application: use of cathepsins inhibitors or other antagonistic molecules in preventing cell invasion and tumor metastasis.
  • Stem cell – therapy and drug delivery.
  • Neutraceutical – proteinase inhibitors from natural origin and their possible application in (cancer) therapy. Natural antimutagens – application in cancer prevention.

Teaching experiences:

  • Assistant Professor at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA - 1985
  • Full Professor, University of Ljubljana – since 2004
  • Biochemistry of Cancer (at graduate level Biochemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Faculty of Pharmacy, 2003 - present)
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Tumor Progression (graduate course Biomedicine at Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, 2002 - present)

Science Policy
As a Director of the third largest public institute for natural sciences for eight years, she is active in creating national and international science policy. In 1995 she was elected as a member of the Science and Technology Council of the Government of Slovenia. Previous to that, she was also appointed as a counselor for medical sciences at the Ministry of Science and technology of Slovenia in 1993-1994. From 1994-2000 she was member of Editorial board of the newspaper “The Researcher”, publication for science and science policy at the Ministry of Science and Technology. In 2000 she was appointed as the president of the “Committee for equal opportunity for women scientists”, after being two years a member of Helsinki group of EU “Women in science”.