Professor Jure Piskur tragically passed away on May 18, 2014.

For urgent matters concerning Jure Piskur´s research group at the Department of Biology, Lund University, contact Professor Lars Hederstedt (, head of the Molecular Cell Biology unit. For other immediate matters contact Professor Christer Löfstedt (, head of the Department of Biology.

Jure Piskur, Professor


I was born Slovenian and did my undergraduate studies in biology and biophysical chemistry in Ljubljana and Stockholm. My first visits to Sweden focused on August Strindberg and other Nordic fine artists but I soon realized that my talent in this field is relatively limited. In 1988 I obtained a Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics from the Australian National University. It was actually in Canberra that I learnt how to work with yeasts and recombinant DNA tools. My postdoc research was on yeast molecular biology at Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen. During this time I also served my first home country to obtain its independence. In 1991 I started my first independent lab as an Assistant Professor of Genetics at the University of Copenhagen. I focused on the fruit fly genes and enzymes involved in the metabolism of nucleic acid precursors, and on yeast biodiversity and mitochondrial genetics. In 1996 I became tenured as Associate Professor of Molecular Eukaryote Microbiology at the Technical University of Denmark. At that time my long-term and deep relationship with the fruit fly deoxyribonucleoside kinase and non-conventional yeasts started. In late nineties I filled my first patent application and started the first spin-off company. In 2004 I moved to Lund as Professor of Molecular Genetics. At that time I expected to be given an opportunity to run a larger academic consortium within the field of genetics. From 2010 I am also a part-time Professor of Molecular Genetics at University of Nova Gorica.

Recent activities

My recent research focuses on genes/enzymes involved in metabolism of nucleic acid precursors and the genetics potential of various yeasts species. I am especially interested to understand the evolution and molecular mechanisms which reshaped the modern enzymes and yeast genomes.

The basic approach driving my research is, what genes and what molecular mechanisms are behind different traits/phenotypes, and how these genes/enzymes/mechanisms are regulated at the molecular level.

I am also interested to apply my academic research projects to develop new anti-cancer drugs based on gene therapy and to improve the quality of wine, beer and other foods. I run a research group of 15 – 20 people, consisting of at least ten different nationals. I consider my research group to be my extended family. At our Department I also participate in the work of the Geneco Ph.D. school and in the start up of the Protein production platform facing the future needs of the MAX IV and ESS facilities in Lund. I am the head of an EU-funded research consortium Cornucopia (2009 – 2015), consisting of eleven academic and industry partners. We would like to determine which genes are responsible for food quality. I teach undergraduate courses on eukaryote molecular genetics and molecular biotechnology, and sometimes I run Ph.D. courses in yeast fermentation, patents and innovations. I think that teaching is very important but I actually never find enough time to improve my courses.

Beyond the job

I still do judo once per week, and also run in the forest or along the beach, and join gym classes. I like to play football and wrestle with my sons. I try to be an updated cineaste, like to experiment in the kitchen, and spend an evening in a bizarre bar any place in the world. My hobby is to follow international politics, unfortunately I do not have time to read non-science books. I like to spend a day or two at enchanting and/or enigmatic places, like Piran, Lviv, Copenhagen, Milan, Paris, etc.

Selected publicatons

Rozpędowska E, Hellborg L, Ishchuk OP, Orhan F, Galafassi S, Merico A, Woolfit M, Compagno C, Piskur J. 2011. Parallel evolution of the make-accumulate-consume strategy in Saccharomyces and Dekkera yeasts. Nat Commun. 22:302.

Khan Z, Knecht W, Willer M, Rozpedowska E, Kristoffersen P, Clausen AR, Munch-Petersen B, Almqvist PM, Gojkovic Z, Piskur J, Ekström TJ. 2010. Plant thymidine kinase 1: a novel efficient suicide gene for malignant glioma therapy. Neuro Oncol. Jun;12(6):549-58.

Poláková S, Blume C, Zárate JA, Mentel M, Jørck-Ramberg D, Stenderup J, Piskur J. 2009. Formation of new chromosomes as a virulence mechanism in yeast Candida glabrata. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 24;106(8):2688-93.

PostDocs and PhD students


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Publisher: Department of Biology

Last modified 20 May 2014


Jure Piskur
Molecular Cell Biology


  • Duplicated genes
  • Virulence of pathogenic yeasts
  • Wine, beer and probiotic yeasts
  • Comparative genomics and evolution
  • Metabolism of nucleic acid precursors
  • Gene therapy
  • Enzyme evolution
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