LEAPSyn-SCI website

LEAPSynSCI project

circle vectors

project idea

Late Embryogenesis Abundant Proteins: Structural Characterization and Interaction with α-Synuclein is a project idea to develope a new strategy against amyloid aggregation by employing the constituents of molecular mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of desiccation tolerance: Late Embryogenesis Abundant Proteins which may have role in stabilisation of the correct structure of proteins and cell membranes.

project aims

Producing new recombinant LEAPs

discovering potential of LEAPs originated from the serbian phoenix flower - Ramonda serbica


Conditioning aggregation

of aggregation-prone alpha synuclein and conditioning of the aggregation pathway


Ameliorating the effect

of dehydration-induced damage in liposomes simulating biological membranes


Delivering application

from biotechnology to agriculture (new strategies for crops adaptation to arid climate)


Promising Drug Discovery strategies:

From the ancient resurrection endemic plant to a better medicine

The most common neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's diseases are tightly associated with the aggregation of alpha-synuclein into insoluble, amyloid fibrils. Despite numerous contemporary studies focused either on identifying small molecules that could interfere with the alpha-synuclein aggregation or on immunotherapies towards amyloid fibrils, the cure for these diseases has not been found yet. A key objective for discovering the effective treatment is to understand the aggregation pathway of alpha-synuclein and its normal and abnormal functions.

Reduction of the aggregation of α-Synuclein by desiccation-related LEA proteins would promote development of the novel strategies to treat neurodegenerative disorders.

LEAPSyn-Sci is financed by the Science Fund, Republic of Serbia 2019.
Find out more about PROMIS initiative.

project team

profile - marija
Dr. Marija Vidović
Assistant Research Professor
biochemist and plant physiologist
  • Proteomics - metabolomics - MALDI MS imaging and UPLC-ESI-Q/TOF ( method development )
  • Plant abiotic stress
  • Metabolic fluxes
  • UVB induced polyphenols
  • Protein structure / function relationships
profile - jelena
Dr. Jelena Radosavljević
Assistant Professor
  • Protein characterization - recombinant protein production - site-directed mutagenesis - proteomics
  • Food protein allergenicity
  • Modifications of food proteins
  • Protein structure / function relationship
profile - sonja
Dr. Sonja Milić Komić
Assistant Research Professor
  • Antioxidant capacity - EPR - metabolomics
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Abiotic plant stress
  • Antioxidative activity of amino acids
profile - milena
Dr. Milena G. Rikalović
Assistant Professor - Research Associate
biochemist and microbiologist
  • Applied microbiology - environmental isolates characterisation - fermentations - biotechnology
  • Production of secondary microbial metabolites
  • Microbe – environment interactions
  • Biomarkers
profile - natasa
Dr. Nataša Kilibarda
Assistant Professor
food microbiologist
  • Determination of various microbial species
  • Biotechnology
  • Applied microbiology
  • Fermentations
profile - strahinja
Msc. Strahinja Stevanović
Junior researcher
  • Proteomics - chemoinformatics - bioinformatics
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins
  • LEA proteins
  • Protein structure / function relationship
profile - sonjav
Dr. Sonja Veljović Jovanović
Research Professor
plant biologist
  • Photosyntesis - antioxidative enzymes - EPR measurements
  • Antioxidant metabolism – effect of biotic and abiotic stresses
  • ROS signalling
  • Resurrection plants
14. 07. 2021.
The first year of our LEAPSyn-SCI

Promis project is successfully finished. Despite all restriction measures due to Covid19 pandemic, we fulfilled all Tasks and got richer for new knowledge, experience and team members! We are grateful to our students, Ana and Nemanja who joined us!🎉🍻⚗️🧫🧪🎊 #leaproteins #leapsynsci #fondzanauku #PROMIS #IMGGI #imsi #hemijskifakultet #singidunumuniversity

11. 04. 2021.
Parkinson's disease

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. Parkinson’s disease is, is the second most common chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. According to the latest data from Serbia’s Institute of public health, the total number of registered patients in Serbia was almost 14 thousand. The etiology and pathogenic mechanisms of Parkinson's disease remain incompletely understood. It has been presumed that the prevalence and incidence of Parkinson’s disease are influenced by both, environmental and genetic factors. The socioeconomic impact of Parkinson’s is enormous especially given the aging worldwide population and since the treatment of this disease requires a multidisciplinary approach and continuous health care, which implies huge direct and indirect expenditures. Also, considering the symptoms associated with this disease, support from caregivers (e.g., family members) is very important.

One of the main characteristics of Parkinson’s disease is the decrease of brain neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of fine movements which lead to tremors, reduced body movements and maintaining balance. The number of these neurons is reduced due to the toxic effect of the accumulated Lewy’s bodies, structures comprised of aggregated proteins, α-synuclein. Despite enormous research, the mechanism that initiates and affects α-synuclein’s aggregation is not yet revealed.

Although Parkinson’s disease was originally described in 1807, the cure for this disorder has not yet been discovered. The underlying mechanisms for Parkinson’s disease remain unclear, and current treatments should relieve symptoms and cannot halt the disease progression. Most drugs for this condition aim to either replenish dopamine levels or mimic its action in order to improve the quality of a patient’s life and to prolong life expectancy. Nowadays the most widely prescribed medication for the treatment of Parkinson’s is dopamine precursor levodopa (L-dihydroxyphenylalanine). With the same aim to compensate for the decreased dopamine level, new approaches based on gene therapy and stem cell therapy (e.g., fetal dopaminergic neurons) are developing. On the other hand, regarding drug discovery strategies against the cause of Parkinson’s disease, at the moment most of them are focused on identifying small molecules that could interfere with the aggregation of α-synuclein, or they are based on immunotherapy (the usage of anti-α-synuclein antibodies - passive immunization) and autophagy of amyloid fibrils. Therefore, the LEAPSyn-SCI approach is innovative. The main goal of the project is the reduction of the aggregation of α-synuclein by desiccation-related Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA) proteins in order to promote the development of the novel strategies to treat Parkinson’s disease.

The α-synuclein anti aggregating potential of LEA proteins is completely unexploited and the idea was proposed for the first time by the LEAPSyn-SCI team. Therefore, we have to carefully investigate the interactions of these two proteins under different experimental conditions. Upon finishing this phase, which at the same time presents the main goal of our project, the new possibilities for testing LEA proteins on artificial model systems and cell cultures will be open up. As soon as we confirm the success of the previous step, in collaboration with neurophysiologists and other specialty driven doctors to propose a new strategy for developing treatments against Parkinson’s disease.

Checkout all LEAPSyn-SCI Activities
partner logo 0partner logo 1partner logo 2partner logo 3