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Head: Prof. Svetla Petrova

Phone. (+359 2) 8167 219
E-mail: spetrova@biofac.uni-sofia.bg

The establishment of the Department of Biochemistry was put forward by the Faculty Council in 1965. It was set up on the basis of the Department of ‘’Plant Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry’’ and the Department of ‘’Animal Physiology and Biochemistry’’. Since 1966 Prof. Todor Krumov Nikolov, PhD, was elected Head of the Department and he managed it until 1988. The next Heads were: Assoc. Prof. DSc Nikolay Nikolaev, (1988-91), Prof. Dr Dimitar Kolev (1991-99), Assoc. Prof. Dr Michaela Kojouharova (1999-2005), Corr. member Prof. DSc Zdravko Lalchev (2005-2012). From June 2012 untill now Head is Prof. Dr Mariela Odjakova.

Since its foundation until now a series of biochemical and molecular biology subjects were introduced. The basic subject in Biochemistry was founded by Prof. T. Nikolov in 1965 and teaching of the independent subject Molecular Biology was started by Assoc. Prof. M. Stambolova.


Prof. Todor Nikolov, founder of the Department

The Department of Biochemistry was one of the initiators for creation of the speciality Biochemistry and Microbiology (Molecular Biology at present) and thus a series of specialized biochemical courses were started, conducted by prominent Bulgarian scientists: Acad. R. Tsanev, Acad. E. Golovinsky, Acad. A. Hadjiolov, Prof. M. Yomtov, Prof. A. Spasov, Prof. B. Alexiev, etc.

For different periods lectures from recognized scientists were delivered: Acad. D. Exerova, Corr. member Prof. St. Stoilov, Corr. member Prof. G. Rousev, Prof. S. Kuyrkchiev, Prof. B. Alexiev, Prof. A. Karshikov etc.

Nowadays the Department conducts basic subjects in Biochemistry (for undergraduates from all programmes) and Molecular Biology. Also a number of subjects, related to Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology are conducted: Enzymology, Physicochemical methods in Biology, Biological Membranes (together with the Department of Biophysics), Molecular Immunology, Separation and Analysis of Bioproducts etc. There are a lot of courses for 3 Master’s degree programmes: Biochemistry, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, Genetic and Cellular Engineering (together with the Departments of Genetics and Plant Physiology).
The Department of Biochemistry conducts a number of courses for Postgraduate education. The department is also a host of a modern laboratory for training of National and international Olympic participants in biology.
At present the staff of the Department includes: orr. member Prof. DSc Z. Lalchev, Prof. M. Odjakova, Prof. S. Petrova, Prof. Mp Chorbadjieva, Assoc. Prof. S. Chakarov, Assoc. Prof. I. Panchev, Assoc. Prof. G. Georgiev, Assoc. Prof. I. Tsacheva, Assoc. Prof. Y. Dumanov, Assist. Prof. L. Zagorchev, Assist. Prof. G. Rakleova, Assist. Prof. D. Teofanova. Assist. V. Velinov, biologist M. Nikolova, biochemist E. Popova, chemist M. Modreva, chemist L. Milanova.

Educational lab in Biochemistry, 1979 Prof. Zdravko Lalchev back in 1980 Preparation of practicals by biologist Anna Obreshkova, 1979

The research work of the Department of Biochemistry is organized on laboratory principle in different scientific fields. There are Laboratories with approved traditions in Enzymology, Molecular biology, Model membranes, Molecular immunology, Plant molecular biology etc.
Recently scientific work is intensively developed by scientific projects. There are dozens of projects, funded by National and international programmes. The graduates of the Department are successfully conducting researches in Bulgaria (BAS, Medical University-Sofia etc.) as well as in outstanding Universities abroad.
The Department has several hundreds of scientific publications and thousands citations in well recognized international journals. The members of the Department are experts and consultants abroad and are members of many international scientific Institutions.
The Department had established scientific contacts with different Universities and Institutions in UK, Germany, USA, Japan, Denmark, France, Belgium, Russia, Hungary, Greece, Ukraine, Slovakia etc., as well as in numbers of applied projects with companies from abroad (e.g. Japan, USA, Germany etc.). The Department has taken part in numbers of international scientific and educational projects (e.g. INCO-COPERNICUS; TEMPUSJEP; BBSRC, CME, ERASUM-SOCRATES, CEEPUS network, Royal Society etc.). There are several dozens of PhD theses which were successfully completed and defended in the Department.

Compulsory subjects for all specialties are Biochemistry (Prof. M. Odjakova and Prof. S. Petrova), Molecular biology ( Prof. M. Odjakova and Assoc. Prof. I. Panchev). Additionaly the department provides compulsory subjects in Physicochemical methods in molecular biology (Corr. Member Prof. Z. Lalchev), Biocatalysis ( Prof. S. Petrova), Applied Molecular and Cell Biology (Assoc. Prof. S. Chakarov), Biological membranes Assoc. Prof. G. As. Georgiev), Immunology (Assoc. Prof. I. Tsacheva), as well as elective subjects: Selected methods in molecular biology ( Prof. M. Tchorbadjieva), Recombinant DNA (Assoc. Prof. S. Chakarov), Metabolism and Functional Biochemistry (Assoc. Prof. T. Argirova).

Practicals in Biochemistry

1. Master programme in Biochemistry – subjects: Model membranes (Corr. Member Prof. Z. Lalchev), Molecular Biology of the Cell ( Prof. M. Tchorbadjieva), Molecular Enzymology ( Prof. S. Petrova), Metabolic Regulation (Assoc. Prof. T. Argirova), Discutable Problems in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ( Prof. M. Odjakova), Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of the Immune Response (Assoc. Prof. I. Tsacheva), Preparation of Project Proposal ( Prof. M. Odjakova), Molecular Biology of the Plant Cell ( Prof. M. Odjakova) and DNA Reparation (Assoc. Prof. S. Chakarov) are conducted by the department.
2. Master’s programme in Clinical chemistry and molecular diagnostics – subjects: Molecular Biology of the Cell ( Prof. M. Tchorbadjieva), Discutable Problems in Molecular Biology, Molecular Pathology and Molecular Diagnostics ( Prof. M. Odjakova), Molecular Diagnostics (Assoc. Prof. I. Panchev), Regulation of Metabolism in Norma and Pathology (Assoc. Prof. T. Argirova), Biocatalysis with Enzymes Application in Diagnostics ( Prof. S. Petrova), Clinical Immunology and Immunogiagnostics (Assoc. Prof. I. Tsacheva) are conducted by the department.
3. Master’s programme in Genetic and Cell Engineering – subjects: Molecular Biology of the Cell ( Prof. M. Tchorbadjieva), Metabolic Regulation (Assoc. Prof. T. Argirova), Discussion Club ( Prof. M. Odjakova) and Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Immune Response (Assoc. Prof. I. Tsacheva) are conducted by the department.

The Laboratory in Biology where the Olympic team is trained by us and colleagues from the Faculty Practicals in Biochemistry

The Department of Biochemistry is constantly leading PGQ in Biochemistry. There are also short-term specialized courses in the frame of PGQ.