Jelena Baranovic

Lecturer in Biochemistry


2018 - present: Lecturer in Biochemistry, University of Edinburgh, School of Biological Sciences

2012-2018: Postdoctoral researcher, FMP Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, group of Prof. Andrew J. R. Plested

2007-2012: PhD, University of Oxford, Department of Physics, group of Prof. John F. Ryan

2001-2006: Undergradute degree in Molecular Biology, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science


Early Career Reseacher Spotlight:




Undergraduate teaching

Molecules, Genes and Cells 1 (lecturer, 1st year undergraduate course)

Membrane Biology (lecturer, 4th year Honours course)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

Human brain contains ~100 billion neurons, which communicate through specialized communication ports called synapses. Approximately 80% of the synapses use glutamate to relay the signal from one neuron to the other, making it the most abundant neurotransmitter in the vertebrate brain and more than 50% of the brain energy is utilized on glutamatergic signalling. Once glutamate is released into the synapse, AMPA receptors are the first and the fastest proteins to bind it and get activated by it, making them one of the central players in neurotransmission. Changes in the normal behaviour of AMPA receptors can lead to severe neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders.

This is why we want to know the inner and outer workings of these and related proteins.

We use biophysical methods to understand structure and function of AMPA receptors and how these enable them to function in the highly dynamic environment of the synapse.

Current research interests

We have currently two open projects addressing the following questions: 1) How do AMPA receptors get activated or more specifically: do all subunits contribute equally to the activation of AMPA receptors? 2) Can we utilize nature’s resources to fluorescently label native AMPA receptors in the synapse? Both projects are currently open for PhD applications. If you are interested, please email Jelena.

Natalia Szlachetka - PhD student (Biomedical AI CDT)

Chigdem Mustafa , PhD - postdoctoral fellow (Daphne Jackson Trust fellowship)

Sergio Menendez, PhD - research assisstant