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Croatian Scientists in the U.S. and Croatia join forces to advance STEAM initiatives

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August 24, 2021 – As professional communities throughout the world were forced to embrace video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Croatian scientists in the United States and Croatia seized the opportunity to foster stronger collaborations in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).  Led by Dr. Mario Skarica of Yale University, the Association of Croatian-American Professionals’ Joint Committee for Research Collaborations (ACAP JCRC) began to formalize ways of supporting such efforts.

“We are excited to work with ACAP to mobilize the large network of Croatian scientists outside of Croatia in order to advance the Croatian research ecosystem and support American-Croatian research collaborations,” said Irena Martinovic Klaric, Executive Director of the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ).  This partnership between HRZZ and ACAP JCRC already resulted in several projects: 

The Peer Review Network Database is a constantly growing database that gathers 70+ prominent Croatian scientists (at some of the world’s leading academic and scientific institutions) who volunteer their expertise in reviewing competitive international projects funded by the Foundation. 

Similarly, the Career Path Seminars were created to support students and young professionals who are exploring different career opportunities in the STEAM fields.  In 2021, more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students in Croatia attended these virtual seminars led by accomplished scientists of Croatian heritage. These included Dr. Nenad Ban (Professor, ETH Zurich), Dr. Dea Slade (Group Leader, Max Perutz Labs Vienna), Dr. Domagoj Vucic (Principal Scientist, Genentech), among others.

“Our next exciting project is the creation of scholarship opportunities for five graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Financed by the Croatian Science Foundation and Croatia’s Ministry of Science and Education, these young professionals from Croatia will spend 3 to 12 months in host laboratories in the United States,” said Dr. Skarica. “Of course, we are also looking for additional partners who could help us create scholarship opportunities through ACAP Foundation.”

Members of the ACAP JCRC committee include:

  • Mario Skarica, MD (Yale School of Medicine), Associate Research Scientist, ACAP-JCRC Chair
  • Steven Zivko Pavletic, MD (CCR, NCI, NIH), Senior Clinician, Principal Investigator 
  • Zoran Kahric, BSEE, MSEE (NASA), Lead Test Engineer
  • Boris Vilic, BS, MBA (Albright College), Dean, School of Professional Studies
  • Marija Vrljic, Ph.D. (ScalmiBio), President & Founder
  • Sandra Vidak, Ph.D. (CCR, NCI, NIH), Research Fellow
  • Sinisa Cikic, MD (Tulane University School of Medicine), Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Ivana Brekalo, Ph.D. (Rudjer Boskovic Institute), Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Vanja Klepac-Ceraj, Ph.D. (Wellesley College), Associate Professor
  • Vladimir Ivkovic, Ph.D., ScD (hon c) (Harvard Medical School), Director, Neuroimaging & Integrative Physiology Lab
  • Jadranka Loncarek, Ph.D. (CCR, NCI, NIH), Senior Investigator, Head, Centrosome Biology Section

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