Team of Experts -> Petar Brlek, M.D., Ph.D. Candidate

Petar Brlek, M.D., Ph.D. Candidate

Clinical Medical Genetics Resident

Dr. Petar Brlek is the first clinical medical genetics resident in the history of the Republic of Croatia and serves as the President of the Youth Section of the Croatian Society for Human Genetics (HDHG). He is the winner of the esteemed Rector’s Award for the best individual scientific paper, and the recipient of the Croatian national prize “Oscar of Knowledge”, given by the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sport for extraordinary achievements on a national and international level.

During his education, he actively promoted the popularization of science and participated in the work of several centers of excellence. He competed in a total of 26 regional and 12 national and international competitions, where he won 11 first places, 2 second, and 6 third places. By achieving the best score of his generation on the state Matura Biology exam, he gained the right of direct admission to the Molecular Biology graduate program at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, but he ultimately decided to enroll at the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb.

He was a student demonstrator at the Medical Biology and Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry departments, and in 2016 he joined the research team at the Neuro-oncology laboratory of the Croatian Institute for Brain Research. During his education at medical school, he simultaneously enrolled in the Molecular Biology graduate program at the Faculty of Science in Zagreb, where he deepened his knowledge of molecular medicine, i.e., molecular pathology, oncology, mutagenesis and carcinogenesis, bioinformatics, and medical genetics. While studying at the Faculty of Science, Dr. Brlek specialized in performing numerous DNA, RNA, and protein analysis techniques, which are necessary for modern molecular diagnostics and genetics. In 2020, Dr. Brlek was awarded the Rector’s Award for his paper entitled: “In silico analysis of genetic, transcriptional, epigenetic and protein changes in the EGFR-PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling pathway participants in diffuse gliomas of the brain”. After successfully defending his graduate thesis in the field of genetics, he graduated from the School of Medicine Zagreb in 2021 with excellent grades. In September of the same year, he joined the Centre of Excellence for Integrative and Preventive Medicine of St. Catherine Specialty Hospital. In 2022, Dr. Brlek started a PhD program in Human Genetics, Genomics, and Proteomics. He secured the top position in his class by defending his dissertation proposal titled "Whole Genome Sequencing, Integrative Bioinformatic Analysis, and Development of a Statistical Model for Assessing the Risk of Malignant Diseases in the Healthy Population."

During 2022 and 2023, Dr. Brlek honed his skills at several prestigious international genetic laboratories specializing in Whole Genome Sequencing, under the guidance of world-renowned experts in the field. Invited by the Centers of Excellence, the Croatian Pediatric Society, and the Croatian Academy of Medical Sciences, he delivered several invited lectures on Whole Genome Sequencing and its applications in oncology, pediatrics, and personalized medicine. In July 2023, the Assembly of the Croatian Society for Human Genetics (HDHG) elected Petar Brlek, M.D. as the President of the Youth Section. On November 6, 2023, he made history by becoming the first clinical genetics resident in the Republic of Croatia.

Dr. Brlek has actively participated in a large number of domestic and international congresses, where he has been awarded multiple times for his scientific activity. To this date, he has published over 50 scientific papers, conference abstracts, and textbooks in the fields of molecular oncology, metabolic bone and cartilage disorders, neurometabolic diseases, personalized and regenerative medicine, and immunology. He has actively participated in several scientific projects funded by the European Union and the Croatian Science Foundation. Currently, Dr. Brlek serves as the head of a scientific team at the St. Catherine Specialty Hospital, working on a scientific project utilizing whole-genome sequencing for nutrigenetic analysis and obesity prevention in children and adults. In addition to his clinical work, in 2023 Dr. Brlek was appointed as a clinical instructor at the School of Medicine and the Faculty of Science.

His areas of interest include medical genetics, genomics, molecular oncology, personalized medicine, and cellular and gene therapy. As a member of the International Society for Applied Biological Sciences, he is part of the organizing committee for the "13th ISABS Conference on Applied Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Translational Medicine", bringing together Nobel Laureates and over 500 globally recognized experts in the fields of genetics, forensics, and personalized medicine.

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