Jasminka Štefulj

Jasminka Štefulj


senior research associate
+385 1 457 1350


++385 (0)1 4561 177

++385 (0)95 866 4106

Krilo 5/231

Laboratory of Neurochemistry and Molecular Neurobiology
Division of Molecular Biology
Rudjer Boskovic Institute

CV_en.pdf 509.31 kB


  • 2006-2008: postdoctoral fellow, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 2005: PhD in biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2000: MSc in molecular biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • 1997: BSc in medical biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb, Croatia


Principal investigator

  • 2017:Association between maternal emotional state in pregnancy and placental DNA methylation of serotonin-related genes (Catholic University of Croatia, Zagreb)
  • 2016: Serotonin transporter gene regulation in the human placenta and establishment of a biobank for further research (Catholic University of Croatia, Zagreb)
  • 2013-2014: Epigenetics of serotonin signaling: DNA methylation analyses of serotonin transporter, monoamine oxidase B and serotonin receptor 2A genes (Croatian-German mobility grant; MZOS, RH and DAAD, Germany; co-PIs: J. Stefulj, P. Zill)
  • 2012-2013: Transport of maternal serotonin across human placenta: studies on primary endothelial cells of human placental barrier (Croatian-Austrian mobility grant; MZOS, RH and OeAD, Austria; co-PIs: J. Stefulj, U. Panzenboeck)
  • 2010-2013: Serotonergic neurotransmission: genes, proteins and behaviour (MZOS, RH)


  • 2015-2019: Serotonergic modulation of obesity: cross-talk between regulatory molecules and pathways (HrZZ; PI: L. Čičin-Šain)
  • 2012-2013: Identification of gene pathways involved in serotonergic modulation of body weight (TANITA Healthy Weight Community Trust, Japan)
  • 2010-2011: The mechanism of cholesterol action in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (MZOS, RH)
  • 2007-2010: Serotonergic neurotransmission: genes, proteins and behaviour (MZOS, RH)
  • 2006-2008: Nuclear receptors as lipid sensors at the blood-brain barrier (FWF, Austria)
  • 2002-2006: Molecular patophysiology of serotonergic transmission (MZOS, RH)
  • 1997-2001: Neurochemistry of synaptic transmission (MZOS, RH)

Awards and Achievements

  • 2010/2011: Visiting Scientists Program (BankAustria, Austria)
  • 1998/1999: Austrian Goverment Fellowship (Republic of Austria)
  • 1995: Rector's Award (University of Zagreb, Croatia)


  • Synapse - from genes to proteins (postgraduate course, University of Zagreb School of Medicine); course leader
  • Biological psychology I (undergraduate course, Catholic University of Croatia); course leader
  • Phundamentals in cell biology and genetics (undergraduate course, Catholic University of Croatia); course leader
  • Biological psychology II (undergraduate course, Catholic University of Croatia); co-lecturer

Featured Publications

(* corresopnding author)

  • Hranilovic D, Blazevic S, Stefulj J*, Zill P (2016) DNA methylation analysis of HTR2A regulatory region in leukocytes of autistic subjects. Autism Research 9, 204-209.
  • Chirackal Manavalan AP, Kober A, Metso J, Lang I, Becker T, Hasslitzer K, Zandl M, Fanaee-Danesh E, Pippal JB, Sachdev V, Kratky D, Stefulj J, Jauhiainen M, Panzenboeck U (2014)  Phospholipid transfer protein is expressed in cerebrovascular endothelial cells and involved in high density lipoprotein biogenesis and remodeling at the blood-brain barrier. J Biol Chem 289, 4683-4698.
  • Stefulj J*, Mokrovic G, Hranilovic D, Bordukalo-Niksic T, Bakula M, Kubat M, Jernej B (2011) Functional promoter polymorphism of the neuronal isoform of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) in suicide. Psychiat Res 186, 446-447.
  • Stefulj J, Panzenboeck U, Becker T, Hirschmugl B, Schweinzer C, Lang I, Marsche G, Sadjak A, Lang U, Desoye G, Wadsack C (2009) Human endothelial cells of the placental barrier efficiently deliver cholesterol to the fetal circulation via ABCA1 and ABCG1. Circ Res 104, 600-608.
  • Stefulj J, Kubat M, Balija M, Jernej B (2006) TPH gene polymorphism and ageing: indication of combined effect on the predisposition to violent suicide. Am J Med Genet B 141, 139-141.
  • Stefulj J, Büttner A, Kubat M, Zill P, Balija M, Eisenmenger W, Bondy B, Jernej B (2004) 5HT-2C receptor polymorphism in suicide victims: association studies in German and Slavic populations. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 254, 224-227.
  • Hranilovic D, Stefulj J, Schwab S, Borrmann-Hassenbach M, Albus M, Jernej B, Wildenauer D (2004) Serotonin transporter promoter and intron 2 polymorphisms: relationship between allelic variants and gene expression. Biol Psychiat 55, 1090-1094.
  • Stefulj J, Hoertner M, Meenakshi G, Schauenstein K, Rinner I, Woelfler A, Semmler J, Liebmann PM (2001) Gene expression of the key enzymes of melatonin synthesis in extrapineal tissues of the rat. J Pineal Res 30, 243-247.
  • Stefulj J, Cicin-Sain L, Schauenstein K, Jernej B (2001) Serotonin and immune response: effect of the amine on in vitro proliferation of rat lymphocytes. Neuroimmunomodulation 9, 103-108.
  • Stefulj J, Jernej B, Cicin-Sain L, Rinner I, Schauenstein K (2000) mRNA expression of serotonin receptors in cells of the immune tissues of the rat. Brain Behav Immun 14, 219-224.

Membership in professional associations / societies

  • Croatian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Croatian Genetic Society
  • Croatian Society for Neuroscience


  • Co-author of 29 scientific papers and about 30 conference reports; over 700 citations; h-index 14 (WoS, 06/2016)
  • Associate editor of Translational Neuroscience (since 2010.)
  • Ad-hoc reviewer for NeuroMolecular Medicine; Epigenomics; Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology; Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry; Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift; Journal of Neuroinflammation; Translational Neuroscience; Biochemia Medica