Team of Experts -> Prof. Dragan Primorac, M.D., Ph.D.

Prof. Dragan Primorac, M.D., Ph.D.

pediatrician, forensic expert and geneticist

Prof. Dragan Primorac, M.D., Ph.D. is a pediatrician, forensic expert, geneticist and scientist. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of St. Catherine Specialty Hospital (Zagreb/Zabok, Republic of Croatia).

By decision of the Senate of Penn State, one of the biggest US universities, professor Primorac is the first recipient of the title “Global Penn State University Ambassador” in the history of the university founded in 1855. Currently he serves as the Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and as professor at Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University and Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven, in the United States and as professor at Medical Schools in Split, Rijeka and Osijek as well as at Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, in Croatia. In October of 2016. he was appointed as a visiting professor at the College of Medicine and Forensics, Xi’an Jiaotong University, People’s Republic of China.

He authored close to two hundred scientific papers and abstracts in the fields of personal and regenerative medicine, genetics, metabolic bone and cartilage disorders, pediatrics and population genetics. Prof. Primorac was invited speaker at more than 100 conferences all around the world. His work was published in most cited journals including Science and Nature and his papers have been cited 5060 times (Google Scholar) while h-index is 30. He was mentoring 11 PhD students and 2 students during their master’s degree process. Currently he is pioneering application of the personalized medicine paradigm in clinical practice.  His interests are in the field of personalized medicine, genetics, metabolic bone and cartilage disorders, regenerative medicine, population genetics, etc. He led many scientific projects including EU FP7 project entitled “Multi-dimensional OMICS approach to stratification of patients with low back pain”, worth 7.6 million euros (a team leader of the Croatian partner in the international consortium). In addition, he was one of the pioneers in DNA identification of skeletal human remains found in mass graves.

Prof. Primorac is co-founder and the President of The International Society of Applied Biological Sciences where 5 Nobel Laureates sit its Scientific Committee. In addition, he co-founded the Department of Forensic Sciences at the University of Split, Croatia and he was instrumental in establishing Regiomed Medical School in Bavaria, Germany. He is the Executive Committee member of the International Consortium for Personalized Medicine (IC PerMEd) established by The European Commission and represents the key body for developing personalized medicine in EU member countries; the president of State competitiveness cluster in personalized medicine, The Croatian Society for Human Genetics and The Croatian Society for (Precision) Personalized medicine and of the Croatian Thematic Innovative Council for Health and Life Quality. He is also Head of the Department of Forensic Sciences at the University of Split, as well as the Head of the Department for Safety and National Security of the Department of Forensic Sciences at the University of Split. In 2019. he was appointed as member of the Philips High-Level Advisory Board.

During his career he gained his knowledge and experience working at The University of Connecticut, Health Center, Department of Pediatrics, Farmington, Connecticut; The University Hospital St. Christopher's, Allegheny University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), Rockville, Maryland; The Analytical Genetic Testing Center, Inc., Denver, Colorado; Roche Molecular Systems, Alameda, California and Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, Meriden, Connecticut, all in the United States.

Prof. Primorac received 21 domestic and international awards which include: The Young Investigator Award from The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, The Michael Geisman Fellowship Award from The Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, The Life Time Achievement Award from Henry C. Lee’s Institute of Forensic Science, The University of New Haven’s International Award for Excellence, Presidential Award from the President of The International Association of Forensic Sciences, State Science Prize, Mary E. Cowan Outstanding Service Award from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, as well as decorations: The Order of Croatian Star with the Effigy of Ruđer Bošković“ and “State decoration of the Order of Ante Starčević”. 

During his work in the U.S., he and his team explained one of the mechanisms for the development of Osteogenesis Imperfecta type I and because of that, they won the most prestigious American prize for young researchers from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Shortly after that, they explain the mechanism of transport of mRNA with early terminal codon (Nanomelia model) and for that he is awarded Outstanding Platform Presentation Award from the East Coast Connective Tissue Society at the Thomas Jefferson University. He is the author on the paper about genetic origin of European males thanks to analysis of the Y chromosome which was published in the journal Science. He is also an author on the paper about the genetic aspect of understanding one of the most important migrations of the anatomically modern human which happened 75 000 years ago, and this work was published in Nature. Prof. Primorac’s special interest is the implementation of personalized medicine in clinical practice the treatment of osteoarthritis with new methods that include the use od microfragmented adipose tissue which contains mesenchymal stem cells. He and his team showed for the first time the effect of stromal vascular fraction (SVF) on cartilage tissue in people suffering from osteoarthritis. Especially important results are achieved in the integration of pharmacogenomics in clinical practice.

He is currently honorary citizen of five cities in and outside of Croatia. Several renowned scientific journals like Science, JAMA, The Lancet and media outlets, both electronic and print, have reported on the results of his work, such as The New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, Wall Street International, Fair Observer, JAMA, Lancet, Science, NBC, Channel 8 (Connecticut TV Station), Večer (Slovenia), Kleine Zeitung (Austria), Haaretz (Israel), Die Presse (Austria) and almost all local and regional press.

In early young, he was the vice champion in taekwondo of the former country and played for the youth team of Hajduk Split and was also in athletics for a number of years. During the 33rd General assembly of the European Olympic Committee in Dubrovnik in 2004, he was awarded the Silver Plaque of the European Olympic Committee because of contribution to sports. Due to his contribution to taekwondo, in 2015 he became a member of the Taekwondo Hall of Fame which gathers the leading people of taekwondo of all the umbrella organizations of this sports including The World Taekwondo Federation, International Taekwondo Federation and World Taekwondo Alliance.

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