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Dr. Barbara Milutinović

Project manager

Ruđer Bošković Institute
Bijenička 54
HR-10000 Zagreb

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action postdoctoral fellow

My research focuses on how animal groups overcome the problem of increased risk to disease. Living in groups is beneficial, but because of increased contacts among individuals, it also encourages the spread of disease in groups compared to those living solitarily. Social insects, such as ants, bees and termites show remarkable behavioral and physiological disease defenses that they perform collectively against pathogens, to protect the colony (social immunity). However, how do such behaviors evolve? We still lack good models to understand the evolutionary processes governing the emergence of group-level behaviors against pathogens. In my research, I use flower beetles that live in groups but do not form social colonies, and knowledge from the social evolution theory to address factors affecting disease-related behaviors in groups.


2014 - PhD in evolutionary biology, University of Münster, Germany

2009 - MSc, University of Zagreb, Croatia


Lo LK, Tewes LJ, Milutinović B, Müller C, Kurtz J (2022). Immune stimulation via wounding alters chemical profiles of adult Tribolium castaneum, J Chem Ecol,

Milutinović B, Armitage SAO (2022). Editorial overview: Evolutionary ecology of insect immunity, Curr Opin Insect Sci, doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2022.100948

Milutinović B, Schmitt T (2022). Chemical cues in disease recognition and their immunomodulatory role in insects, Curr Opin Insect Sci, doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2022.100884

Milutinović B, Stock M, Grasse AV, Naderlinger E, Hilbe C, Cremer S (2020). Social immunity modulates competition between coinfecting pathogens, Ecol Lett, doi: 10.1111/ele.13458., research featured as issue cover image.

Greenwood JM*, Milutinović B*, Peuß R, Behrens S, Esser D, Rosenstiel F, Schulenburg H, Kurtz J (2017).  Oral immune priming with Bacillus thuringiensis induces a shift in the gene expression of Tribolium castaneum larvae, BMC Genomics; 18:329, doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-3705-7

Milutinović B, Kurtz J (2016). Review article: Immune memory in invertebrates. Semin Immunol. 2016 Aug; 28(4):328-42

Milutinović B*, Peuβ R*, Ferro K, Kurtz J (2016). Review article: Immune priming in arthropods: an update focusing on the red flour beetle. Zoology Mar 24. pii: S0944-2006(16)30018-6

Peuß R, Wensing KU, Woestmann L, Eggert H, Milutinović B, Sroka MGU, Scharsack JP, Kurtz J, Armitage SAO (2016). Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule 1: testing for a role in insect immunity behaviour and reproduction. R Soc Open Sci. 2016 Apr 20;3(4):160138

Milutinović B, Höfling C, Futo M, Scharsack JP, Kurtz J (2015) Infection of Tribolium castaneum with Bacillus thuringiensis: Quantification of bacterial replication within cadavers, transmission via cannibalism, and inhibition of spore germination. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Dec; 81(23):8135-44

Milutinović B, Fritzlar S, Kurtz J (2014) Increased survival in the red flour beetle after oral priming with bacteria-conditioned media. J Innate Immun; 6 (3):306-314

Behrens S, Peuß R, Milutinović B, Eggert H, Esser D, Rosenstiel P, Schulenburg H, Bornberg-Bauer E, Kurtz J (2014): Infection routes matter in population-specific responses of the red flour beetle to the entomopathogen Bacillus thuringiensis, BMC Genomics; 15:445, doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-445

Milutinović B, Stolpe C, Peuβ R, Armitage SAO, Kurtz J (2013) The red flour beetle as a model for bacterial oral infections. PLoS ONE; 8(5), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064638

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