Heritage Science Laboratory Ljubljana

The Team

The Team

Professor Dr Matija Strlič FIIC FRSC

Matija Strlič is Professor of Analytical Chemistry at University of Ljubljana and Professor of Heritage Science at University College London, and the Lab lead. His main research interests are the development of heritage science infrastructure, including instrumentation and methodology, as well as modelling of heritage materials, environments, values and decision making. He has published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and is Editorial Board Member of Heritage Science, Polymer Degradation and Stability and Studies in Conservation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the International Institute for Conservation. His track record includes more than 50 national (Slovenia and UK) and international (EU and bilateral) projects, with total funding of more that €63M for heritage science. He regularly reviews proposals for the EU and 15+ national funding bodies and has worked on the development of Strategic Research Agendas for several national and international funding and policy making bodies. In 2015, he received the Ambassador of Science of the Republic of Slovenia Award for the outstanding achievements in science and international collaboration. In his free time you will find him in his garden.

Matija Strlič Bibliography, Matija’s CV

Professor Dr Irena Kralj Cigić

Irena Kralj Cigić is Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, where she also obtained her PhD in Chemistry. She lectures on classical and instrumental analytical chemistry, food analysis, and characterisation and stabilisation of cultural heritage materials. She is also involved in teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University, where she teaches natural sciences in the frame of the conservation/restoration programme. Her main research interest is analytical chemistry, where she focuses on separation techniques, mainly gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. She is interested in diverse topics related to cultural heritage materials, representing complex matrices, where sample preparation is a crucial segment of analysis. She is currently a Co-I on the EU H2020 “Active & intelligent PAckaging materials and display cases as a tool for preventive conservation of Cultural HEritage” and member of the Editorial Board of the journal Heritage Science.

Irena Kralj Cigić Bibliography

Dr Mitja Kolar, Associate Professor

Mitja Kolar is an Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Head of the Analytical Chemistry Department at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology. He graduated from the University of Ljubljana in 1996 and received his doctorate from the University of Maribor in 2000. He currently teaches courses on analytical chemistry and instrumental analysis, and other mandatory or elective courses for various study programmes (Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Technology, Technical Safety and Chemical Education). His main research areas are the development and application of analytical methods, especially sensors based on novel materials. Throgh the application of contemporary sensor metodologies and new analytical concepts, he takes part in the Heritage Science Laboratory team with more than 25 years of analytical experience.

Mitja Kolar Bibliography

Lana Nastja Anžur, Doctoral Researcher

Lana Nastja Anžur is a PhD student at the University of Ljubljana. Her doctoral work is focused on economic evaluation methods and sustainability assessment of investments in cultural heritage. More broadly, her research interests include cultural heritage management, documentation and valorization, analysis of cultural and natural heritage interrelation for sustainable development goals and development of cultural heritage policies. She has worked in projects covering sustainable management of cultural heritage; public archeology; documentation and management of archaeological sites. Currently she is working on projects E-RIHS, Iperion; focusing on the development of European research infrastructure for heritage science and ARCHE; alliance for research on cultural heritage in Europe. She is aiming to connect her heritage research with global scale transfer of knowledge (especially in relation to developing countries); citizen science and monitoring of cultural heritage sites.

Lana Nastja Anžur Bibliography

Dr Romana Cerc Korošec

Dr Floriana Coppola, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

Floriana Coppola is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Heritage Science Laboratory at University of Ljubljana with the project UNCERTIR. Her research focusses on uncertainty associated with lifetime modelling based on IR spectroscopy-based quantitative material characterisation data. She received her PhD in Chemistry (2019) and her MSc in Environmental Assessment and Management (2014) from the University of Bologna. Since her Master thesis her research has been focussed on heritage science. In her PhD thesis, she investigated the degradation of both historical and contemporary papers through destructive and non-destructive analytical techniques.

Floriana Coppola Bibliography

Randa Deraz, Doctoral Researcher

Randa Deraz is the first habilitated PhD researcher from heritage science background at Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Her research work is in the scope of the EU Horizon Europe GreenArt project focusing on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of packing boxes of paper-based collections in order to promote a green approach to preventive conservation of cultural heritage. Randa obtained a master’s degree in heritage science in conservation science (2021) from Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (Egypt). Her master’s research interest was graphene oxide -coated glazing for display of papyrus in museums. Randa worked as a conservation scientist for rare books at Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt) as well as a researcher at the Rock Engineering Lab, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University (Egypt).

Randa Deraz Bibliography

Dr Fabiana Di Gianvincenzo, Post-doctoral Researcher

Fabiana Di Gianvincenzo is a Postdoctoral researcher, joining the HSLL team to work on the ODOTHEKA project for the characterisation, archiving and reproduction of the smells of cultural heritage. She has obtained her BSc and MSc at University of Pisa, working on tannin dyes and modern oils paints. She has then received her PhD from University of Copenhagen using mass spectrometry-based proteomics for the characterisation of binders in European paintings from the 14th and the 19th century, as part of the TEMPERA ETN project. Her main research interests are the applications of chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques to the study of artworks and cultural heritage materials.

Fabiana Di Gianvincenzo Bibliography

Dr Abdelrazek Elnaggar, Senior Scientific Counsellor

Abdelrazek Elnaggar is Senior Scientific Counsellor at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and professor of Heritage Science at the Faculty of Archaeology of Ain Shams University (Egypt). His main research interests are the conservation material/process development, environmental assessment, conservation risk assessment, and management of heritage collections. He conducted research fellowships in different international heritage institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA), Politecnico di Milano (Italy), Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser at the Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas (IESL- FORTH, Greece), and the Natural History Museum (London, UK). He worked within ICOM as a member of ICOM International Committee for Disaster Risk Management (DRMC), Secretary General of Egypt National Committee and Assistant Coordinator of ICOM-CC Leather Group. He has a track record of international bilateral projects with Italy, Germany, and France, and coordinated many international capacity building programs with UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, ICESCO and IFLA

Abdelrazek Elnaggar Bibliography

Ibrahim Elrefaey, Researcher

Ibrahim Elrefaey, a researcher at the University of Ljubljana’s Department of Analytical Chemistry, focuses on his PhD research using cutting-edge spectroscopic techniques such as XPS and SIMS to study the degradation of historical silk. With a background in cultural heritage documentation, he has contributed to various digitisation projects, including historical buildings, pharaonic sarcophagi, photographs and manuscripts. His expertise includes 3D laser scanning, photogrammetry, imaging, spectral imaging and colorimetry. Ibrahim’s passion lies in the study of the degradation of fibrous materials, multidisciplinary investigations and the application of advanced analytical methods to the study of dyes, binders, contaminants, and specialized digitisation projects in both 2D and 3D environments.

Ibrahim Elrefaey Bibliography

Dr Miha Lukšič

Dr Hend Mahgoub, Post-doctoral Researcher

Hend Mahgoub is a post-doctoral researcher at UL’s Heritage Science Laboratory. She is involved in the Ancient Book Crafts – ABC project where her role revolves around exploring, validating, and evaluating the robustness of dating methods and its transferability on the basis of Infrared spectroscopic techniques and modelling methods. Hend has a computer science background and completed her Master’s and PhD degrees in Heritage Science at UCL. Currently, her primary focus is on the utilization of spectroscopic techniques and modelling approaches with the help of machine learning approaches to the study of heritage materials. Her main research interests encompass various aspects of heritage science including materials characterization, degradation and dating particularly with a focus on cellulose-based materials, in addition to her interest and experience in spectral imaging techniques. Moreover, she possesses a passion for programming and developing applications that cater to the needs of heritage users. These applications serve purposes such as data collection, analysis, and dissemination. She finds great joy in interdisciplinary collaborations and actively participates in international projects, continuously expanding her knowledge base and acquiring new skills.

Hend Mahgoub Bibliography

Dr Jernej Markelj, Faculty Assistant

Jernej Markelj is Faculty Assistant in Analytical Chemistry at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Tehnology, University of Ljubljana. He teaches analytical laboratory courses for students in the first and the second cycle study programmes. In his PhD, he studied secondary organic aerosol formation mechanisms through practical and theoretical studies. He used liquid and gas chromatography (GC-MS and LC-MS/MS) extensively, analysing organic compounds in atmospheric particles, as well as on the development of QSAR/QSPR models for physico-chemical properties of interest, e.g. OH radical reaction rates and hygroscopicity. He is interested in data analysis in heritage science, using various unsupervised and supervised methods, e.g. PCA, cluster analysis, factor analysis, SVMs, PLS etc. I addition to research, he works with talented secondary school students interested in chemistry, in the frame of diverse projects (Analytical chemistry workshop at the Summer school of Chemical Science, Scientific Committee of EUSO 2018, International Chemical Olympiad).​

Jernej Markelj Bibliography

Emma Paolin, Doctoral Researcher

Emma Paolin is a researcher at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. She received her Masters Degree in Science for the conservation-restoration of cultural heritage at the University of Bologna, with a thesis project focused on Raman spectroscopy of synthetic pigments.

Emma Paolin Bibliography

Špela Pok, Doctoral Researcher

Špela Pok is a researcher at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (University of Ljubljana). She obtained her Masters Degree in Chemistry, where she worked in the field of environmental analytics.

Špela Pok Bibliography

Professor Dr Mojca Ramšak

Mojca Ramšak is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology) and Professor of Anthropology (AMEU – Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis, Postgraduate School of Humanities, Ljubljana). She is a researcher, postgraduate professor and writer in the field of ethnology, cultural and social anthropology, folklore, medical humanities and history of medicine. She is transcending the disciplinary boundaries and her wide research interest lead her to cooperate with three faculties at University of Ljubljana (Faculty of Arts, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology; Faculty of Medicine, Institute for the History of Medicine; Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Heritage Science Laboratory). She is an author of eight scholarly monographs – all of which have been published in Slovene, English, and Slovak, seventy-two scientific articles and several book chapters. She was the project leader for the Lexicon of Slovene Ethnology, which was reprinted three times. In her spare time, she is reviving the former autarkic forms of food self-sufficiency by changing one of Pohorje’s steep slopes into terraces with plentiful plant life.

Mojca Ramšak Bibliography

Dr Tjaša Rijavec, Faculty Assistant

Tjaša Rijavec is a PhD student of Chemical Sciences and is interested in modern material degradation to support the conservation of modern plastics. She focuses PVC degradation using non-invasive analytical techniques, such as determination of PVC dehydrochlorination by HCl trapping and emission of VOCs by TD-GC-MS. She will develop a damage function for PVC to model the state of degradation of museum objects and to help prevent further damage. Her Master Thesis in Analytical Chemistry focused on the determination of biogenic amines and investigation of their oxidative degradation. She participated in two student research projects in cooperation with industry. Her research was presented in oral and poster presentations at YISAC, Slovenian Chemistry Days and Cutting Edge. She is currently Student Representative in the Doctoral Studies Committee at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology.

Tjaša Rijavec Bibliography

Associated Members

Dr Jasna Malešič

Jasna Malešič is a heritage science researcher at the National and university library and partly at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. Her research focusses on the studies of paper degradation and its stabilization by chemical treatments. She obtained her PhD from the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in 2005. From 2005 until 2017, she was the head of Conservation and Preservation Department of the Library and in 2017, she has joined the Research department of the Library. She is the author of several publications on the subject of preservation/conservation of library materials.

Jasna Malešič Bibliography

Dr Klara Retko

Klara Retko, BSc. in Chemistry, obtained PhD in 2018 at Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana. Her research focuses on the optimisation of the Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy for the characterisation of organic colourants present on cultural heritage objects. She started to work at Research Institute of ZVKDS (IPCHS) in 2013 and gained her expertise in the field of heritage science for the study of different cultural heritage materials (inorganic, organic) and their degradation products using different spectroscopic methods such as SERS, infrared and conventional Raman spectroscopy. Her knowledge on vibrational spectroscopy was also expanded during research at foreign institutions (CNR-ISTM, CSIC).

Klara Retko Bibliography

Dr Polonca Ropret

Dr. Polonca Ropret received her PhD in chemistry at the Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana, where she is employed part-time. She is the expert Head of the Research Institute at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (IPCHS) and Research Collaborator at the Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Institution. She also developed strong collaboration with the department of Scientific Research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She led or collaborated in 9 national and 6 EU funded projects related to heritage science research, with the total funding of more than €75M. Her main research interest is in the application of Raman spectroscopy in heritage science, and she is a member of the Scientific Committee of RAA (Raman Spectroscopy in Art and Archaeology) Conference Series. She is also the National Coordinator of E-RIHS Slovenia (European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science Slovenia).

Polona Ropret Bibliography

Martina Vuga

Martina Vuga obtained her BA and MA degrees in Conservation Restoration from University of Ljubljana. She worked as a Sculpture Conservator-Restorer and a Head of the Conservation-Restoration Department at the National Gallery of Slovenia from 2005 to 2020. Since then she has been Assistant Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design Ljubljana. She teaches Conservation of Polychrome Sculpture and Materials for Conservation.

Martina Vuga Bibliography