Maja Osmak

Maja Osmak

Ph. D.

+385 1 456 0939

Senior Scientist

Krilo 5/9

Laboratory for Genotoxic Agents
Division of Molecular Biology
Ruder Boskovic Institute
Bijenicka cesta 54
HR-10000 Zagreb


1974: Biological Deparetment, Faculty of Natural Science, University of Zagreb, dipl. ing.
1978: Faculty of Natural Science, University of Zagreb, master of biological science
1982: Faculty of Natural Science, University of Zagreb, Ph. D. in biological science

Employment (all at Ruđer Bošković Institute)  
1975:  Research assistant
1984:  Research associate
1990:  Senior research associate
1993 -  :  Senior scientist   (reelected 1998)

Postdoctoral study
1984-1985: University of Southern California, USC Medical School, Department of Radiation Oncology, Los Angeles, USA


Project leader:


Cell response to cytotoxic compounds and resistance development (2007- 2013),

Ministry of Science and Technology of Republic of Croatia (MSES)

Biological response to damage – collaborative project  (2003-2005), MSES

Cell response to physical, chemical and biological noxa ( 2002-2006), MSES

Cell response to genotoxic agents (1996 -2002), MSES

Mechanisms involved in cell resistance to genotoxic agents  (1993-1996), MSES

Novel ruthenium complexes with potential anti-cancer activity (2014-2015), with Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia  

Compound with platinum: Cell response and mechanisms involved in resistance (2012-2013) with Institute of Toxicology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf,

ZD0473 as a possible agent to overcome resistance of tumor cells to cisplatin (2010-2011) with Institute of Toxicology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany

Diaryltriazenes - a new group of potential anti-cancer drugs (2009-2010), with Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Molecular mechanisms determining cellular susceptibility to platinum drugs (2008-2009), with Institute of Toxicology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany

Rho GTPases and adhesion-mediated tumor cell resistance to cisplatin (2006-2007), with Institute of Toxicology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany

Synthesis and evaluation of new potential cytostatics from diazene family (2006-2007), with Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Increase in efficacy of anticancer drugs by silencing of target genes in tumor cells (2006-2007), with Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University "St. Cyril & Methodius", Republic of Macedonia

New potential anti-cancer drugs: diazenes and their derivatives (2004-2005), with Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Diazenes as potential anti-cancer drugs (2001-2003), with Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia  

Awards and Achievements

Ruđer Bošković award for international patent (2012)
State award for science (2003)
Krka’s award for magisterium (1979)


Course leader on doctoral study:

Cell response to genotoxic agents, Molecular and cellular biology, Faculty of Natural Science, University of Zagreb

Neuronal cells: from cell damage to cell death, Neuroscinece, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb

Resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy, Molecular bioscience, University Josip Juraj Strossmayer in Osijek, University of Dubrovnik and Ruđer Bošković Institute

Resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy – new strategies of treatment, Pharmaceutical-Biochemical Science, Faculty for Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb

Radiobiology of tumor cells, Clinical Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb

Featured Publications

Krüger K., Thomale J., Stojanović N., Osmak M., Henninger C., Bormann S., Fritz G.: Platinum   induced kidney damage: Unraveling the DNA damage response  (DDR) of renal tubular epithelial and glomerular endothelial cells following platinum injury.  Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1854:685-98, 2015.

Sommer M.G., Kureljak P., Urankar D., Schweinfurth D., Stojanović N, Bubrin M., Gazvoda M.,  Osmak M., Sarkar B., Košmrlj J. : Combining [Arene–Ru] with azocarboxamide to generate a  complex  with cytotoxic properties. Chem. Eur. J., 20:17296 – 17299, 2014.

Rak S., De Zan T., Stefulj J., Kosović M., Gamulin O., Osmak M.: FTIR spectroscopy reveals lipid  droplets in drug resistant laryngeal carcinoma cells through detection of increased ester vibrational  bands intensity. Analyst, 139:3407-15, 2014.

Brozovic A., Vuković L., Stupin Polančac D., Arany I., Köberle B., Fritz G., Fiket Ž., Majhen D., Ambriović-Ristov A., Osmak M.: Endoplasmic reticulum stress is involved in the response of human laryngeal carcinoma cells to carboplatin but is absent in carboplatin-resistant  cells. PLOS One 8: e76397, 2013.

Rak S., Čimbora-Zovko T., Gajski G., Dubravčić K., Domijan A., Delaš I., Garaj-Vrhovac V., Batinić D.,  Sorić J., Osmak M.: Carboplatin resistant human laryngeal carcinoma cells are cross resistant to curcumin due to reduced curcumin accumulation.  Toxicology in Vitro, 27: 523-532, 2013.

Osmak, M.: Statins and cancer: Current and future prospects. Cancer  Lett., 324:1-12,  2012.

Helbig L., Damrot J.,  Huelsenbeck J.,  Koeberle B.,  Brozovic A., Osmak M., Fiket Z.,  Kaina  B., Fritz G.: Late activation of stress-activated protein kinases/C-JUN-N-terminal kinases triggered by cisplatin-induced DNA damage in repair defective cells. J. Biol. Chem., 286:12991-3001, 2011.

Čimbora-Zovko T., Brozovic A., Piantanida I.,  Fritz G., Virag A., Alič B., Majce V., Kočevar  M., Polanc S., Osmak M.: Synthesis and biological evaluation of 4-nitro-substituted 1,3,-diaryltriazenes as a novel class of potent antitumor agents. Eur. J. Med. Chem., 46: 2971-2983, 2011.

Čimbora-Zovko T., Fritz G., Mikac N., Osmak M.: Downregulation of RhoB GTPase  confers resistance to cisplatin. Cancer Lett., 295: 182-190, 2010.

Burja B., Čimbora-Zovko T., Tomić S., Jelušić T.,  Kočevar M., Polanc S., Osmak M.: Pyrazolone-  fused combretastatins and their precursors: synthesis, cytotoxicity, antitubulin activity and molecular modeling studies. Bioorg. Med. Chem., 18: 2375-2387, 2010.

Brozovic A., Ambriović-Ristov A., Osmak M.: The relationship between cisplatin-induced oxygen species, glutatione and BCL-2, and resistance to cisplatin. Critical Rev. Toxicol., 40: 347-359, 2010.

Brozovic A., Damrot J., Tsaryk R., Helbig L., Nikolova T., Hartig C., Osmak M., Roos W.P., Kaina B., Fritz G.: Cisplatin sensitivity is related to late DNA damage processing and checkpoint control rather than to the early DNA damage response. Mutat Res., 670: 32-41, 2009.

Brozović A., Majhen D., Roje V., Mikac N., Jakopec S., Fritz G., Osmak M., Ambriovic-Ristov, A.: αVβ3 integrin mediated drug resistance in human laryngeal carcinoma cells is caused by glutathione dependent elimination of drug induced reactive oxidative species. Mol. Pharmacol. 74: 1-9, 2008.

Čimbora-Zovko T.,  Ambriović-Ristov A., Lončarek  J., Osmak M.: Altered cell-cell adhesion in cisplatin-resistant human carcinoma cells: A link between b-catenin/plakoglobin ratio and cisplatin resistance. Eur. J. Pharmacol., 558: 27-36, 2007.

Brozović A., Osmak M.: Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases by cisplatin and their  role in cisplatin-resistance. Cancer Lett., 251: 1-16, 2007.

Brozović A., Fritz G., Christmann M., Zisowsky J., Jaehde U., Osmak M., Kaina B.: Long-term activation of SAPK/JNK, p38 kinase and fas-L expression by cisplatin is attenuated in human carcinoma cells that aquired drug resistance.  Int. J. Cancer, 112: 974-985, 2004.

Ambriović-Ristov A., Gabrilovac J., Čimbora-Zovko T., Osmak M.: Increased adenoviral transduction efficacy in human laryngeal carcioma cells resistant to cisplatin is associated with increased expression of integrin avb3 and Coxsackie adenovirus receptor. Int. J. Cancer, 110: 660-667, 2004.

Osmak M., Svetić B., Gabrijelčič-Geiger D., Škrk J.: Drug-resistant human laryngeal carcinoma cells have increased levels of cathepsin B. Anticancer Res., 21: 481-484, 2001.

Osmak M., Nikšić D., Brozović A., Ambriović Ristov A., Vrhovec I., Škrk J.: Drug resistant tumor cells have increased levels of tumor markers for invasion and metastasis. Anticancer Res., 19: 3193-3198, 1999.

Osmak M., Kapitanović S., Miljanić S.:  Low doses of gamma rays can induce the expression of mdr  gene. Mutat., Res., 324: 35-41, 1994

Osmak M., Eljuga D.:  The characterization of two human cervical carcinoma HeLa sublines resistant to cisplatin. Res. Exp. Med., 193: 389-396, 1993.

Osmak M., Horvat Ð.: Chromosomal analysis of Chinese hamster V79  cells exposed to multiple gamma-ray fractions : induction of adaptive response to mitomycin C. Mutat. Res., 282: 259-263, 1992.

Osmak M., Užarević B. : Mechanisms involved in resistance of preirradiated Chinese hamster V79 cells to cytotoxic drugs are multifactoral. Res. Exp. Med., 191 : 413-421, 1991.

Osmak M., Perović S.: Multiple fractions of gamma rays induced resistance to cis-dichlorodiammi-neplatinum (II) and methotrexate in human HeLa cells. Int. J. Radiation Oncology Biol. Phys., 16 :1537-1541, 1989.

Osmak M., Korbelik M., Suhar A., Škrk J., Turk V.: The influence of  cathepsin B and leupeptin on potentially lethal damage repair in mammalian cells. Int. J. Radiation Oncology Biol. Phys., 16 : 707-714, 1989.

Osmak M. : Repeated doses of gamma rays induce resistance to N-methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine in Chinese hamster cells. Radiat. Res., 115 : 609-616, 1988.

Membership in professional associations / societies


National Commission for State Awards in Natural Sciences; member (2012- )
Executive Board of Ruđer Bošković Institute;  member (2012 -  )
National Scientific Board for Election in Scientific Position; member (2009-)
Croatian Society for Cancer Research –Executive Board;  member (2009-)
Scientific Board of Ruđer Bošković Institute, president  (1995-1997, 2005-2007)
Scientific Board of the Division of Biology, Ruđer Bošković Institute;  president (1993-1995, 1997 – 1999, 2001- 2003)
Commission of the Ministry of Science and Technology of  the  Republic of  Croatia for the projects from the field of biology (1996-1998)
Croatian Society for Radiation Protection, president  (1995-1997;  member of Executive Board (1991-2001)

Membership in  scientific societies
Croatian Genetic Society, Societas Biologorum Croatia, Croatian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Croatian Society for Cancer Research,  Croatian Society for Neuroscience, European Mutagen Society, European Association for Cancer Research


In several scientific journals such as: Current Cancer Drug Targets, Cancer Letters, Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Food and Chemical Toxicology,  Experimental Cell Research, Mutation Research, Investigational New Drugs, International Journal of  Radiation  Biology,  etc.,  as well as national and international scientific grants proposals

Editorial board (member)
Radiology and Oncology journal

Invited lectures
10 on international  and  5 on national scientific meetings or institutions  

8 doctoral thesis, 8 master of science thesis ( 3 as co-mentor), 13  diploma thesis; mentor of 2 student’s studies that got the Rector’s award and  1 reward for the best doctoral thesis

Organisation of scientific meetings
Member of scientific/organizing committees at several international and domestic conferences (once the president of scientific committee)

Main  field of interest
Cell response to genotoxic stress
Molecular mechanisms involved in resistance of mammalian cells to cytotoxic compounds
Over 160 papers, 115 of them in the journal citet in the  Current Contents base, 8 book chapters, 1 scripta

1310, 1021 without self-citations (accorsing to the  WOS base), h-index 18

M. Osmak, S. Polanc, T. Cimbora Zovko, A. Brozovic, Kocevar M., V. Majce, B. Alic: Analogues of 1, 3-bis(4-nitrophenyl)triazenes, their pharmaceutically acceptable salts and N-acyl derivatives for tumour treatment. Patent No.  US 8,217,022 B2.