Institut Jožef Stefan (IJS)

Jozef Stefan Institute (IJS) is the leading Slovene research organization. It is responsible for a broad spectrum of basic and applied research in the fields of natural sciences and engineering. The staff of around 800 specializes in research in electronics and information science, physics, chemistry and biochemistry, nuclear technology, energy utilization, and environmental science. The department of Automation, Biocybernetics and Robotics combines basic research in applied human physiology (environmental physiology, kinesiology, ergonomics, biomechanics, and rehabilitation engineering). The research team at the Jozef Stefan Institute is a multidisciplinary team comprising research engineers, physiotherapists and sports scientists. This department consists of 25 researchers and is an integration of specialists in environmental physiology, and cybernetics. In 2001, JSI implemented a bed rest research programme at the Orthopaedic Hospital Valdoltra in Ankaran. Since 2006, the bed rest campaigns in the Orthopaedic Hopsital Valdoltra were organized in conjunction with most of the partners in the present proposal. The bed rest campaigns included 35-day horizontal, or 6°head-down tilt protocols.

Professor Igor B. Mekjavic: is a Scientific Counsellor, and Coordinator of the Research group "Automation, Robotics and Biocybernetics" at the Jozef Stefan Institute. During his 15 year tenure at Simon Fraser University in Canada, he held the posts of: Director, Environmental Physiology Unit; Director, School of Kinesiology at Simon Fraser Unviversity; Chairman, Graduate Programme, School of Kinesiology. The main focus of his basic research projects has been the effect of non-thermal factors on human temperature regulation. In addition, he is a co-investigator on joint projects with Prof. Eiken investigating the influence of gravitational loading (microgravity and hypergravity) on cardiovascular and thermoregulatory function. In 2001, Profs. Mekjavic and Eiken initiated the bed rest research programme in the Orthopaedic Hospital Valdoltra (Ankaran). Prof. Mekjavic also participates in clinical research projects investigating the etiology of non-freezing cold injury and the potential benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of freezing cold injury. He is a member of the European Space Agency’s Bed rest Steering Committee. In addition to editing several monographs (ie. Environmental Ergonomics published by Taylor and Francis) and undergraduate textbooks (ie. Introduction to Kinesiology, published by Blackwell Scientific), Prof. Mekjavic has over 300 research publications: international peer reviewed journals (>100), reports, conference contributions etc. Prof. Mekjavic is a member of the European Space Agency Bed Rest Steering Committee (since 2007), and a member of the ESA Topical Team on Lunar Habitat Simulations (established in 2009).

Members of the IJS group include Boris Rogelj Ph.D., who will be responsible for the muscle mRNA analysis. Polona Jaki Mekjavic M.D., Ph.D. and Leja Dolenc M.D., Ph.D., both also affiliated with the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, who will monitor for signs of altitude retinopathy, and assess sleep quality, respectively. Tadej Debevec Ph.D. and Shawnda Morrison Ph.D. are co-managers of PlanHab and are responsible for the nutrition and sleep/thermoregulation studies, respectively. Jan Babič Ph.D. will investigate muscle balance and stability.