Lipid-Protein Interactions

Head of Department

Prof. Albena Momchilova, DSc.

  • E-mail: albena_momchilovaabv.bg
  • Phone: (359 2) 9792686
  • Fax: (359 2) 9712493
  • Address: “Acad. G. Bonchev” Str., Block 21, Room 310
    Sofia 1113, Bulgaria

Staff

Main research topics

The research interest is focused on the structural organization and functional activity of biological membranes under normal and pathological conditions. Investigations are carried out on the role of lipid molecules and their functionally active metabolites in the genesis and development of various pathological cellular processes. Studies are performed on the lateral organization of membrane lipids, transmembrane signal transduction and phospholipid asymmetry. The role of fatty acid and phospholipid molecules in the processes of carcinogenesis is also investigated.

The experimental approaches involve modulation of the level of cholesterol and polyunsaturated fatty acids, oncogene-induced transformation, lipid peroxidation, cell cultivation in three-dimensional conditions etc. Studies are performed on the phase behavior of lipids, isolated from membranes of cells with modified lipid molecules or from cells related to definite pathological processes.

Giant unilamellar vesicles are used as biomimetic systems to visualize the lipid phase separation by means of fluorescence microscopy. Local microinjection is used to examine the interaction of active macromolecules (enzymes, DNA, etc.) with lipid bilayer. This offers the possibility of monitoring the changes in lipid phase behavior and the morphological transformations of giant vesicles.

Research projects

Current projects

  1. Investigating the mechanism of action of xylooligosacharides and B-glucanes with respect of raising their prebiotic potential
    Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DFNI-B01/7, 2012-2014
    Coordinator: Prof. Albena Momchilova
  2. Molecular mechanisms of biological membranes aging. Assessment of the efficiency of the antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol in delaying the processes of aging
    Bulgarian National Science Fund,№ DFNI-B01/5, 2012-2014
    Coordinator: Acad. Kamen Koumanov
  3. Phospholipase A2 and lipid peroxidation in neurodegenerative pathologies. How model membranes could contribute for elucidation of the mechanisms of lipid peroxidation on membrane organization?
    Bulgarian National Science Fund, № DTK-02/5, 2010-2013

Past projects

International collaboration

  • Prof. C. Wolf, Laboratoire commun de spectrométrie, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6
  • Prof. P. Quinn, King’s College London
  • Prof. M. Angelova, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Matière et Systèmes Complexes (MSC)

Awards

  • 2005 – Albena Momchilova – Award of the Union of Bulgarian Scientists
  • 2006 – Galya Staneva – Award of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for young scientists

Lecture courses

  • Cellular border complex – Sofia University
  • Biological membranes – Sofia University

Selected publications

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