About the WRC group members
Assistant Professor Dr. Melita Sternad Lemut Head of Wine Research Centre
Biography: Dr Melita Sternad Lemut got her B.Sc. in Food Technology (Enology) at the Biotechnical Faculty of Ljubljana in 1992. After graduating she was practically trained in the wine estates (USA, Switzerland) and has worked in industrial research (R&D; Nestle, Switzerland) abroad. Returning home she and her husband created their own wine estate with brand name Tilia. In 2006 she joint the University of Nova Gorica as a Lecturer at the School of Viticulture & Enology and has enroled her PhD studies at the Postgraduate Study Programme of Environmental Sciences at the same University in 2009 and finished in 2014. She is one of the initiators of the Wine Research Centre establishment at University of Nova Gorica.
Role: Melita is involved in research and teaching and was working as a Programme director of Bachelor’s programme in Viticulture and Enology from 2009 -2011. In 2014 she was appointed as a Head of Wine Research Centre.
Research interests: Grape & wine polyphenols / Secondary metabolism in the interaction between vine and environment / Aplications of metabolomics / Co-pigmentation reactions during vinification procedures.
Associate Professor Dr. Maja Ravnikar associate professor
Biography: Dr Maja Ravnikar finished her BSc in 1984 at the Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, where she also obtained her master (1988) and PhD degree (1991). She was elected to the position of associate professor for the field of Biotechnology by the University of Ljubljana.
Role: Maja is employed at the National Institute of Biology where she is the head of Department of Biotechnology and Systems Biology since 2001 and scientific leader of the Instrumental Centre Planta since 1994. From 1999 she is leading the research programme “Biotechnology and Plant Systems Biology”. The programme was evaluated by the Slovenian Research Agency and considered as one of the top 19 research programmes in 2004 and got the longest prolongation period in 2009. She also leads authorized diagnostic laboratory for determination of micro-organisms for the Phytosanitary Administration (MAFF), phytosanitary inspection and is closely involved with the business companies. From 2009 she is also the member of Wine Research Centre.
Research interests: Plant biotechnology and pathology research / Grape vine phytoplamsa interactions / Development of new molecular diagnostic and systems biology tools / Biological diversity of pathogenic viruses, bacteria and phytoplasmas.
Associate Professor Dr. Branka Mozetič Vodopivec associate professor
Biography: Dr Branka Mozetič Vodopivec got her BSc degree at Food Science Department, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana in 1998. From 1998-2000 she has worked in Fruit Processing Industry Fructal d.d. (Ajdovščina, Slovenia). In 2000 she became a PhD student and young researcher at University of Nova Gorica (Laboratory for Environmental Research). In 2004 she obtained her PhD degree in Food Sciences at Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and has joined Laboratory for Environmental Research at the University of Nova Gorica as postdoctoral associate till 2008, when she became a member of Wine Research Centre. Between 2004 and 2012 she often visited Department for Chemistry and Biology at Roskilde University Center (Denmark) and in 2010 she spent half a year in Norway, at Bioforsk Vest Ullensvang as postdoctoral associate.
Role: Branka is a member of Wine Research Centre and an associate professor in the field of Food Technology. From September 2011 she has been appointed as a Dean of School for Viticulture and Enology at University of Nova Gorica.
Research interests: Plant polyphenols in cherries, plums, olives, apples and grapes / The impact of different growing and storage techniques on polyphenol accumulation in fruits and grapes / Polyphenols, antioxidant potential of olive oil and wine making by products / Apple juice origin and frauds determination.
Associate Professor Dr. Maruša Pompe Novak associate professor
Biography: Dr Maruša Pompe Novak finished her BSc in 1996 at the Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, and Biology Teacher Program in 1997. She obtained her MSc in 1999 at Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana where she also obtained her PhD in 2002. She was elected to the position of assistant professor for the field of Biotechnology by the University of Ljubljana.
Role: Maruša is employed at the National Institute of Biology where she is the Head of the Infrastructural Centre Planta since 2004. She is additionally employed at University of Nova Gorica, where she is the Head of research group of Wine Research Centre since 2009 and where she is teaching at the School for Viticulture and Enology and at the Graduate School.
Research interests: Plant biotechnology and pathology research / Potato and grapevine – virus interactions / Development of new molecular diagnostic and systems biology tools / Biological diversity of plant viruses / Electron microscopy.
Assistant Professor Dr. Lorena Butinar research associate
Biography: Dr Lorena Butinar commenced her research work in the field of fungal microbiology (B.Sc. in Biology) and continued with wine microbiology with focus on yeast biology. Lorena obtained a PhD (2007) in Microbiology from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana (SI). Her PhD research was performed at National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana. She was studying the fungal ecology of extremely saline and cold environments. During her Ph.D. she gained knowledge of fungal taxonomy and systematics, especially of yeasts and genera Aspergillus and Penicillium with associated teleomorphs. Currently, she is studying microbial ecology of grape of 'Rebula’ cultivar (Vitis vinifera L. cv. 'Rebula’) and spontaneous wine fermentations during maceration of the forementioned grape. She is also studying yeasts and yeast-like fungi with biocontrol potential against Botrytis cinerea.
Role: Lorena first joined the group at the Laboratory for Environmental Research of the University of Nova Gorica as a postdoctoral associate. Currently she is a assistant professor for the scientific field of Microbiology at the School of Environmental Sciences and the School for Viticulture and Enology. After establishment of Wine Research Centre in 2008 she become its member and until 2014 she was also a Head of this research group.
Research interests: Biology of microorganisms on grapes and in wine (the microbial ecology of grape of 'Rebula’ cultivar (Vitis vinifera L. cv. 'Rebula’) / Spontaneous fermentation vs. controlled fermentation / Biocontrol / Extremophilic fungi (ecology and taxonomy of halophilic (halotolerant) and psychrophilic (psychrotolerant) yeasts and filamentous fungi.
Assistant Professor Dr. Guillaume Antalick research associate
Biography: Dr Guillaume Antalick received his education in France (University of Bordeaux and University of Orléans) where he graduated with a BSc and a Masters’ in Analytical/Organic Chemistry. He began his PhD in 2007 at the Faculty of Oenology/Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (University of Bordeaux, France) investigating the impact of malolactic fermentation on fruity aroma of red wines. His research combined the development of analytical methods for the quantification of wine odorant compounds (HS/SPME, SBSE-GC/MS), the study of wine microorganisms’ metabolism (LAB, yeast), and sensory analysis. After completing his PhD in 2010, Guillaume spent 1.5 years at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology/University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) as a postdoctoral fellow where he studied the impact of vineyard treatments on yeast-derived compounds. During a second postdoc from August 2013 at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre/Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga, Australia), his research focused on grape aromatic maturity in relation to wine style, typicality and regionality.
Role: Guillaume joined the team as a researcher and Assistant Professor in the field of Enology in November 2016. He participates in research projects, implements internationals partnerships and teaches at the School of Viticulture and Enology.
Research interests: Oenology / Wine chemistry and Biochemistry / Analytical chemistry / Wine flavour research / Grapevine and wine metabolites / Sensory evaluation
Assistant Professor Dr. Katja Šuklje research associate
Biography: Dr Katja Šuklje finished her BSc studies of agronomy at Biotechnical Faculty of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She conducted her PhD studies between the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Biotechnical Faculty of Ljubljana and Department for Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. In 2014 she was awarded with PhD that was exploring the role of microclimate on Sauvignon blanc grape and wine secondary metabolites. In 2013 she started her post doc position at National Wine and Grape industry Centre (Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga) where she was researching the effect of environment and harvest date on grape vine functioning and grape and wine metabolites.
Role: Katja joined the team as a researcher and Assistant Professor in the field of Viticulture in November 2016. She participates in research projects, implements international partnerships and teaches at the School of Viticulture and Enology.
Research interests: Viticulture / Environment / Plant physiology / Grape and wine metabolites / Analytical chemistry
Mag. Marko Lesica assistant with a MSc
Biography: Mag Marko Lesica graduated in 2005 at the University of Ljubljana, Department of Food Science, and then continued masters studies at the same Faculty. During his studies he gained practical work experience in the wine cellar Goriska Brda, where he also carried out a survey for the masters studies. In 2007, he employed for a short period at the company MIP d.d. as head of the department, and in 2008 he got a regular job in the Wine Cellar Goriška Brda z.o.o. and worked there until 2010. During this period he also completed postgraduate studies in 2009. In 2011-2014 he continued to work at the company AEB d.o.o. Sežana, as a commercial-technologist in charge of the sale of oenological means, equipment for the beverage industry and cleaning agents for the food industry in Slovenia and former Yugoslavia. Since September 2015, Marko is a member of the Wine Research Centre at the University of Nova Gorica.
Role: Marko is a member of Wine Research Centre and an assistant with a Master’s degree at the School for Viticulture and Enology. He participates in research projects, assists in the organisation of work at University Wine Estate and in the practical training of students.
Research interests: Enology / Alternative winemaking technologies / Enological Additives.