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ASEF Research Fellows

Meet the 2016 Fellows

Aleksandar Dimitriev

Aleksandar Dimitriev is a MSc student in Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana, where he also obtained his BSc. He has always had a passion for math, and his research interests cover the broad area of applied machine learning, focusing on the application of Bayesian methods to real-world data, such as computer vision, bioinformatics, and social network analysis. He is very excited for the opportunity to work with Professor Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. In his free time, he likes to compose and play the violin.

Veronika Cencen

Veronika Cencen is a 22-year-old graduate student in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ottawa, set to work with prof. Kosmrlj of Princeton University through the ASEF Fellowship program. She completed her BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Ljubljana in 2014. Her research interests are interdisciplinary; her current projects are focused on development and use of microfluidics in nanotechnology and biophysics, in the hope of developing novel methods for diagnostics and treatment of diseases for which current approaches are inadequate and poorly accessible.

As a member of a diplomatic family, she has lived in several countries and speaks six languages (English, Slovene, French, Chinese, Russian and Lithuanian). When she is not teaching or researching in the lab (or attending a conference or society meeting), she enjoys training and competing in rhythmic gymnastics as an international athlete recognized Olympic Committee of Slovenia, volunteering for the science outreach group Let's Talk Science and Aboriginal Mentorship Program (where her high level of commitment, enthusiasm, and innovative approach helped raise $22,500 to help the spread of the program to remote indigenous communities), writing for local and University magazines and newspapers, dancing, running, playing piano, and raising her pet poodle and hamster.

Vid Kocijan

Vid Kocijan is currently finishing 2nd year of undergraduate study of computer science and mathematics on University of Ljubljana. This summer, he will work with prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. Vid's research interests are algorithms, data structures and discrete mathematics. He's trying to keep his list of interests wide, and will probably choose more specific field of interest in few years. In free time Vid likes climbing and mountain hiking. He also spends time voluntary teaching and has been preparing few members of Slovenia IOI team this year.

Neven Polajnar

Neven Polajnar is a second year PhD student in Political Science at the University of Ljubljana. He received his first BSc degree in Economics at the Faculty of Economics and his second BSc degree in Defense Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at University of Ljubljana, where he also accomplished his master studies in Political Theories. At University of Harvard Neven will cooperate with prof. dr Peter J. Verovsek and he is strongly convinced that this experience will bring important aspects and elements to the final findings and conclusions of his PhD thesis, which is focused on recognition of authoritarian elements in modern representative democracies and their different dimensions.

Neven is also researching issues of different antagonisms inside political and social models, social and political structures, issue of politization and depolitization, political culture and collective identities, democratization issues and its limits, etc. Except political theories his research is focused on geo-strategic issues, political economy, defense and security issues, diplomacy and international relations, state and political institutions, etc.

In geo-strategical sense, Neven's special focus is on the region of the Balkans, South-Eastern Europe and Russian Federation, by analyzing and researching social and political transition, as well as the issue of democratic transformation of above mentioned ex-socialist regions.

Beside activities related to the scientific researches, Neven is a martial arts instructor and competitor, which demands a lot of focus, hard work, discipline and devotion, skills that are very helpful on all spheres of life, including the academic ones.

Jože Rožanec

Jože Rožanec is a software engineer pursuing his Msc degree in Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery at University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This summer, he will visit prof. Dawn Song at UC Berkeley. Jože received his Bsc degree in software engineering at Universidad Austral in 2011. He worked for several companies, starting as pre-sales intern at Microstrategy and then switching to software engineering roles. His last jobs were as a member of the R&D team at Navent, a leading South American company for real estate and job portals, where he developed recommender systems. Nowadays, he is a part of the core data team at Mercadolibre, the leading Latin American e-commerce company. His research interest are in time series analysis, deep learning and recommender systems. In his spare time, Jože enjoys reading, going to concerts as well as contributing to open source projects.

Jan Rozman

Jan Rozman is presently a third year undergraduate physics student at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana. This summer, he will be working with Professor Andrej Kosmrlj at Princeton University. Jan's studies have been focused mostly on theoretical and mathematical physics. His primary research interest is biophysics, in particular the mechanics of cellular movement during embryonic development. His previous research work was on the mechanics of buckled epithelium and was conducted at the Jozef Stefan Institute at the Department of Theoretical Physics. In his free time, Jan likes hiking and reading.

Matej Srebre

Matej comes from Sostanj, northern Slovenia. At first, he was planning to become a programmer and went to Computer Engineering high school in Velenje, then continued as a Computer Science student at University of Ljubljana; after one year of Computer Science he switched to Physics and finished his bachelor's degree last June. Now, Matej is a master's student in theoretical physics at University of Munich, Germany.

Matej's research interests revolve around particle physics and exploring the fundamental properties of nature, mainly by combining theoretical calculations with experimental data. He was an intern at CMS, one of the two leading experiments at CERN (Switzerland) last summer, and researched W bosons. This year, he is looking forward to a new challenge with Professor Uros Seljak at UC Berkeley and experience a top US university. In his free time, Matej plays the accordion - "frajtonarca".

Kaja Travnik

Kaja Travnik is going to work with professor Peter Verovsek at Harvard University. She studied Law as a undergraduate at European Faculty of Law. She continued her studies and became a Master of Law at European Faculty of Law. Kaja was always interested in European Law, function of the European Union and Human Rights. She upgraded her studies with Jean Monnet Certificate, which gave her depeer understanding of how European Union functions, its history and knowledge about the most important cases from European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights. Kaja was a part of many summer schools and conferences abroad. She worked for European Commission in Brussels and for International Law Firm in Italy, where she strengthened her theoretical knowledge in practice. With her visit, she would like to intensify her current knowledge and bring contribution to the academic sphere. Kaja is very excited to work with professor Verovsek, who has so much knowledge and experiences in political theory and European Union.

One of Kaja's biggest life wishes was to be a part of Harvard University and she is so grateful to ASEF fellowship committee, which gave her this opportunity. For Kaja, that means to be a part of historic institution, which has an important contribution to the whole world.

Matej Vizovisek

Matej studied chemistry at University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Chemistry and Chemical Technology and finished his studies in 2009. Afterwards he did his PhD in prof. Boris Turk's lab at Jozef Stefan Institute and defended his PhD in 2014. Currently Matej is working as a research assistant, his main research field is proteomics which he often combines with classical biochemistry. During his PhD he has gained advanced technical knowledge in the field of high-resolution mass spectrometry-based proteomics and was leading the development of new proteomic approaches for chemical labelling of protease generated N-termini, that enabled the identification of protease substrates and corresponding cleavage sites. Matej was also working on development and validation of SMART fluorescent probes for cysteine proteases that they were developing in the LIVIMODE (FP7) project. This summer Matej will have the great opportunity to expand his knowledge and work with prof. Sali at UCSF, where he will concentrate especially on bioinformatic aproaches to explore and process large proteomic datasets to provide more integrative insights into different molecular players in health and disease.

Meet the 2015 Fellows

Aljaž Gaber

Aljaž Gaber is a PhD student of biochemistry at University of Ljubljana where he also works as an assistant, supervising young to-be biochemists during their lab courses. During his undergraduate study at the same university, Aljaž was also an active student representative. He spent his summer of 2015 with prof. Andrej Sali at UCSF, applying their state of the art computational structural biology algorithms to tackle self-assembly of a tumor marker Aljaž is researching as a part of his PhD. The idea behind this is to better understand how our organisms work on a molecular scale, which would enable us to better understand diseases and develop novel treatment strategies.

As a graduate student, Aljaž's life at this point mostly revolves around becoming a perspective young scientist, which means there is not too much time for pursuing other interests. Still, he will never say no to an invitation for a drink to catch up or to have an interesting discussion.

Andraz Hribernik

Andraz graduated from Computer Science and then joined London based start up Cytora as one of the first 5 engineering hires. He spent summer 2015 visiting prof. Jure Leskovec at Stanford University. The summer research project was about finding duplicates and anomalies in a huge collection of news articles. In his free time he likes to do various of different sports (skiing, climbing, kite surfing, etc), explore street food markets and visit different countries.

Filip Kozarski

Filip Kozarski finished his BSc of math and physics in Ljubljana and is currently pursuring a MSc degree in Theoretical and mathematical physics in Munich. He visited Prof Uros Seljak at the department of Cosmology, Berkeley, in the late summer of 2015. Filip's hobbies and things not being paid for include playing soccer in the team of Slovenians in Munich, and thinking or joking about life, physics and all other everyday stuff in between. All with the help of Kindle and YouTube. Filips is a human of habits. On the picture (right) together with Volt (left), the best dog ever.

Peter Us

Peter Us finished his BSc of Computer and Information Science at University of Ljubljana and is currently pursuing a MSc degree in Computer and Information Science at the same university. In the summer of 2015, Peter visited the laboratory of prof. Dawn Song, at University of Berkeley. There, Peter was working on projects from the field of cutting edge web technologies. In the summer of 2016, Peter started working as an data science intern at Evolven - an IT Operations analytics company.

In his free time, Peter likes to learn more about various fields of computer science such as machine learning, functional programing and new web development technologies. When he is not preoccupied with the things already mentioned, he could be playing basketball, watching series or exploring the world around him.

Meet the 2014 Fellows

Matej Cepin

Matej Cepin (the Santa Clara awardee) has already completed his project in May 2014. This is what he wrote. "The aim of my study visit was to deepen my knowledge about Social Entrepreneurship and Business Incubators and to be able to transfer some of successful practices back to Slovenia in the future. The core activity was the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) Conference. (Matej was later offered a mentorship at the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara and become a research fellow there.) Other events included 1-to-1 meetings, participation in smaller events and visiting institutions, including a fundraising dinner at SCU, presentation of innovations in Frugal Lab (SCU) and meeting the Slovenian Bay Area Community. The journey was a meaningful learning experience in the fields of social entrepreneurship, social impact measurement, fundraising nonprofits and social enterprises, marketing in social entrepreneurship, social media, managing coworking spaces and incubators of social enterprises. I saw several business models in action, expanded my social network and got an empowering experience of mentorship from Fr. Peter Rožič SJ."

Read about Matej's impressions from the Sillicon Valley part I, part II (only available in Slovene language).

Whatch Matej's story about the visit.

Matej's visit to Dr. Božo Cerar, Ambassador of Slovenia to the US

Niko Colnerič

Niko Colnerič is coming from Mestinje, in the East of Slovenia. From an early age he liked mathematics and physics and after finishing high school in Celje, he obtained his BSc in Computer Science in Ljubljana. Currently, Niko is a first year PhD student at Faculty of Computer and Information Science where his main focus is on data mining challenges and high-dimensional data analysis. In his free time he loves cycling and paragliding.

Read Niko's reflections of his visit.

Whatch Niko's and Marinka's stories about the visit.

Marinka Žitnik

Marinka Žitnik is a PhD student in computer science at University of Ljubljana. She received her BSc in computer science and mathematics from University of Ljubljana in 2012. Her research interests are at the intersection of artificial intelligence and computational biology. She focuses on ways of fusing many heterogeneous data sources. Her research is driven by current challenges in bioinformatics, systems and molecular biology. Through integrative computational analysis she aims to identify the most promising candidate genes that biologists can investigate further experimentally. In her free time, Marinka also edits XRDS Crossroads, the ACM magazine for students, and is active in the Google Anita Borg community.

Read Marinka's reflections of her visit.

Whatch Marinka's and Niko's stories about the visit.