SAVICA 2021, an international scientific symposium took place at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington, DC, USA on October 29, 2021. It was co-organized by the Embassy and National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana. Presenters and other participants expressed gratitude to the ambassador Mr. Tone Kajzer for his support in organization of SAVICA 2021.

Symposium program followed the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Lecturers were affiliated to the most respected US universities and shared their original approaches in the fight against COVID-19. Strive by researchers worldwide to develop vaccines and therapeutic candidates against COVID-19 disease offers great promises with several potential drugs in the late clinical trials.

For decades, research efforts and cooperation of Slovenian and American researchers have contributed to the exchange of experience and results, promotion of education and scientific excellence. The current pandemic teaches us about the importance of basic research and results of scientific work that could not be predicted in advance. Such unanticipated benefits of basic research can and have led to disease control with completely new approaches.

An important element of this eminent scientific event was networking and strengthening of cooperation between researchers on both sides of the Atlantic. Symposium SAVICA 2021 can also be considered as a benchmarking exercise of activities of Slovenian NMR centre at a global level. Slovenian NMR centre offers access to equipment as well as expertise for its use through international consortium called CERIC ERIC. Since the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slovenian NMR centre has been attempting to upgrade equipment of at its facility by purchasing a 1 GHz NMR spectrometer. Research equipment comparable to modern infrastructure centres around the world would, inter alia, enable insights into the modes of action of a given antiviral compound, thus leading to more effective medicines and with fewer off-target effects.


Symposium was co-organized and chaired by Dr. Janez Plavec


Dr. Stanislav Raščan, State Secretary, Ministry of foreign affairs
Welcome address

15:15 – 15:45

Dr. Kathie Seley-Radtke, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), MD
Antiviral drug development – good things DO come in small packages!

15:45 – 16:15

Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Where do we go from here? The future of treating infections

16:15 – 16:45

Dr. Steven Rokita, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
The Joys, Surprises and Unexpected Benefits of Basic Research at the Intersection of Chemistry and Biology



17:00 – 17:30

Dr. Jasna Brčić, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Bacterial cell wall composition and new antibiotic strategies

17:30 – 18:00

Dr. Liliya A. Yatsunyk, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
Biophysical and structural investigations of non-canonical DNA implicated in replication stress and cancer

18:00 – 18:30

Dr. Sarah Woodson, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
How non-coding RNA takes shape in health and disease


Ambassador Tone Kajzer
Concluding remarks



View symposium poster: here
View a stream of SAVICA 2021 on YouTube: here
Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington Facebook at: link
Address by Dr. Stanislav Raščan, State Secretary of Foreign Affairs: link