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Department of Earth Sciences


My research is focus on biomineralisation. Biomineralization is the formation of minerals, such as calcium carbonate, in living organisms. Through it the trace element and isotopic composition is imprinted as a record for the chemical and physical conditions during the biomineralization. These geochemical ‘tracers’ have been used to uncover million-year archives of Earth climate, study the rock weathering through time, and development of carbon capture and storage (CCS). Even though biomineralization is a small piece of Global Carbon cycle, it is crucial and not yet uncovered. For further understanding what was going on and to predict what could happen we need a good translation book to know how to read the collected data. Thus, the fundamental knowledge of precipitation of calcium carbonate is essential and that is my filed of research. I am focus on revealing reason for numerous geochemical discrepancies between synthetic precipitates and natural carbonate minerals. Most of the scientists explain it as biological but my research idea is that biomineralization can go through crystallization pathway through metastable polymorph vaterite. The collected samples are the end product of biomineralization, so it could be that the vaterite was intermediate phase which we did not catch due to its transformation. Could that be the key that we are missing in the translation book?

Calcium carbonate precipitation
Physical characterisation (XRD, SEM, pH potentiometry)
Solution chemistry (ICP-AES & ICP-MS)


Jun 2021 – present: Research Associate at Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK. Investigation of vaterite (metastable polymorph of calcium carbonate) precipitations for application in biomineralization

Sep 2019 – Sep 2021: Postdoctoral teaching fellow at Department of Natural and Health Studies, Juraj Dobrila University of Pula, Croatia. Teaching classes in the subjects: (i) General & Inorganic Chemistry; (ii) Analytical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods of Analysis.

Jul 2019 – Jun 2021: Postdoctoral research fellow in Laboratory for Marine Nanotechnology and Biotechnology, Center for Marine Research, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Rovinj, Croatia. Postdoctoral researcher on the Croatian Science Foundation project “Understanding the physico-chemical behaviour and toxicity of silver, copper and plastic nanoparticles as emerging materials of concern in coastal waters“.

Nov 2018 – Jun 2019:  Senior Physical Researcher in Physical characterization R&D, TAPI, Pliva Hrvatska, TEVA, Zagreb,Croatia. Leading and implementation of 3 projects based on crystallization and physical characterization of different active pharmaceutical component polymorphs (API).

Jan 2015 – Nov 2018:  PhD Student in Laboratory for Precipitation Processes, Division of Materials Chemistry, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. Researcher on the Croatian Science Foundation project “Bioinspired materials – Formation Mechanisms and Interaction“ and the Croatian-French Cogito – Partnership Hubert Curien project “Micro-Raman spectroscopy study of bio-ceramic surface composition changes”.

Sep 2014 – Oct 2017: Postgraduate teaching assistant at Physical Chemistry Division, Department of Chemistry, University of Zagreb, Croatia. Tutor and examiner in the subject: Physical Chemistry Laboratory I & II.

2014 - 2018: PhD in Physical Chemistry at Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia with a thesis title: Formation mechanisms of biocomposites based on calcium carbonates and biologically relevant molecules

Sep 2013 – Dec 2014: Guest researcher in Laboratory for Precipitation Processes, Division of Materials Chemistry, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. Responsible for the maintenance of all laboratory instrumentation and supporting staff through provision of expertise in physical chemistry measurements and analysis.

Jan 2013 – Aug 2013: Expert Associate in Laboratory for Biomineralization, Nanostructures and Radioecology, Center for Marine Research, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Rovinj, Croatia. Researcher on the Croatian Science Foundation project “Development of a nanotechnology-based targeted recognition system for biomacromolecules“ and the EU FP7 project SMART-NANO - Sensitive measurement, detection, and identification of engineered nanoparticles in complex biological and environmental matrices.

2010 - 2012: MSc in Chemistry at Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia

2007 - 2010: BSc in Chemistry at Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia


Key publications: 
  1. I. Hazdovac, L. Jurković, D. Pavičić-Hamer, B. Hamer, D. M. Lyons. Simultaneous Influence of Gradients in Natural Organic Matter and Abiotic Parameters on the Behavior of Silver Nanoparticles in the Transition Zone from Freshwater to Saltwater Environments, Nanomaterials 12 (2022) 296 doi: 10.3390/nano12020296
  2. P. Paliaga, A. Budiša, J. Dautović, T. Djakovac, M. A. Dutour-Sikirić, H. Mihanović, N. Supić, I. Celić, N. Iveša, M. Buršić, I. Balković, L. Jurković, I. Ciglenečki, Microbial response to the presence of invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi in the coastal waters of the Northeastern Adriatic, Estuar. Coast.Shelf Sci., 259 (2021) 107459, 12 doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107459
  3. P. Peharec Štefanić, K. Košpić, D. M. Lyons, L. Jurković, B. Balen and M. Tkalec, Phytotoxicity of Silver Nanoparticles on Tobacco Plants:Evaluation of Coating Effects on Photosynthetic Performanceand Chloroplast Ultrastructure, Nanomaterials 11 (2021) 3; 744-764 doi: 10.3390/nano11030744
  4. WO 2020/185812 A1 “Solid state forms of Ripretinib”, publication date 17 September 2020
  5. T. Grego, L. Jurković, D. M. Lyons, D. Kralj, N. Maltar-Strmečki. The influence of the saline and artificial saliva on gamma induced radical concentration in dental bone graft materials based on calcium sulfate studied by EPR spectroscopy, Radiat. Phys. Chem 177 (2020) 109138 doi: 10.1016/j.radphyschem.2020.109138
  6. R. Stepić, L. Jurković, K. Klementyeva, M. Ukrainczyk, M. Gredičak, D. M. Smith, D. Kralj, A.-S. Smith. Adsorption of Aspartate Derivatives to Calcite Surfaces in Aqueous Environment, Crystal Growth & Design 20 (2020) 5; 2853-2859 doi:10.1021/acs.cgd.0c00061 (These authors contributed equally.)
  7. D. Giuri, L. Jurković, S. Fermani, D. Kralj, G. Falini, C. Tomasini. Supramolecular Hydrogels with Properties Tunable by Calcium Ions: A Bio-Inspired Chemical System, ACS Applied Bio Materials 2 (2019) 5819-5828 doi:10.1021/acsabm.9b00828
  8. L. Štajner, J. Kontrec, B. Njegić Džakula, N. Maltar-Strmečki, M. Plodinec, D. M. Lyons, D. Kralj. The effect of different amino acids on spontaneous precipitation of calcium carbonate polymorphs, Journal of Crystal Growth 486 (2018) 71-81 doi:10.1016/j.jcrysgro.2018.01.023
  9. I. Buljan Meić, J. Kontrec, D. Domazet Jurašin, B. Njegić Džakula, L. Štajner, D. M. Lyons, M. Dutour Sikirić, D. Kralj. Comparative study of calcium carbonates and calcium phosphates precipitation in model systems mimicking the inorganic environment for biomineralization, Crystal Growth & Design 17 (2017) 1103-1117 doi:10.1021/acs.cgd.6b01501
  10. L. Štajner, J. Požar and D. Kovačević. Complexation between lysozyme and sodium poly(styrenesulfonate): the effect of pH, reactant concentration and titration direction, Colloids and Surfaces A 483 (2015) 171-180 doi:10.1016/j.colsurfa.2015.03.034
  11. P. Burić, Ž. Jakšić, L. Štajner, M. Dutour Sikirić, D. Jurašin, C. Cascio, L. Calzolai, D. M. Lyons. Effect of silver nanoparticles on Mediterranean sea urchin embryonal development is species specific and depends on moment of first exposure, Marine Environmental Research 111 (2015) 50-59 doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.06.015
Research Associate

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