Laboratory for Nanomedicine and Nanotoxicology at the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health was founded in 2020 by linking Dr Ivana Vinković Vrček from the Analytical Toxicology and Mineral Metabolism Unit and Dr Ivan Pavičić from the Radiation Dosimetry and Radiobiology Unit. Synergy of expertise of Dr Vinković Vrček, biochemist and expert for toxicology of metals, analytical spectroscopy and chemical synthesis, and of Dr Pavičić, molecular biologist with experience in cellular toxicology experiments, created the conditions for the emergence of the first Croatian research group for the development and toxicological assessment of nanomaterials. The Laboratory, headed by Dr Vinković Vrček, is conducting two Croatian and two international projects from the field of nanomaterials science and employs five doctoral students.
Scientific areas of interest of this group are the development, characterisation and biological activity assessment of nanoparticles with the potential for human use, especially focusing on the noble metal particles, selenium particles and micro- and nano-plastics. Laboratory activities include chemical synthesis of nanomaterials, spectroscopic characterisation (fluorescence spectrometry, atom absorption spectroscopy), investigation of the interactions of nanomaterials and biomolecules, biological action and toxic effects of nanomaterials in vitro and in vivo, and computational simulations. The group established many collaborations with domestic and international institutions, including Ruđer Bošković Institute, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry in Zagreb, Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek and research groups from Austria, Germany, Spain and Estonia.