Sanja Ćavar Zeljković: Being a scientist makes me happy

It started more than eight years ago with plant hormones strigolactones and continues to this day. Sanja Cavar Zeljkovic came to Olomouc for the opportunity to study the youngest group of phytohormones, which, for example, regulate the growth and branching of shoots and roots, as well as seed germination. As a graduate of doctoral studies at the University of Ljubljana who already worked at the University of Sarajevo in the field of organic chemistry, she longed for more scientific work than teaching. She now devotes all her time to research at CATRIN in the Phytochemistry group.

“I managed to combine organic chemistry and phytochemistry while working on strigolactones, and I gradually expanded my research to include other plant metabolites. I mostly work on the development and optimization of liquid and gas chromatography methods with mass spectrometry for the identification of monitored molecules. Currently, I work closely with colleagues from the Phenotyping group, ” said Sanja, who can be proud of the number of articles she already has in high-impact journals and the publication success of her students. “I enjoy working with students, but I prefer being in the laboratory with my colleagues developing or optimizing methods used in plant biochemistry. I found out that being a scientist makes me the happiest.” In addition to ongoing cooperation with her home universities in Sarajevo and Ljubljana, she has established collaborations with colleagues in Poland and the Netherlands during her research internships. “In 2014, I spent four months at Radboud University, Nijmegen as part of the POST-UP project. I worked in the group of Professor Zwanenburg, one of the leading experts in strigolactone research, and our cooperation produced several highly cited articles,” she added.

Sanja has found everything she needs in Olomouc. However, she misses her extended family. “I don’t know how long I’ll stay here, but I like living here. I consider Olomouc a safe and child-friendly city. My husband and I have permanent jobs here, and I can work on very interesting topics,” she said. Sanja also works at the Olomouc branch of the Crop Research Institute.

Author
Martina Šaradínová
July 13, 2021