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Marjan Slak Rupnik
Prof. Dr. Marjan Slak Rupnik

Center for Physiology and Pharmacology (Institute of Physiology)
Position: Research Associate (Postdoc)

ORCID: 0000-0002-3744-4882
T +43 1 0664 5995530


Endocrinology; Insulin-Secreting Cells; Neuroendocrinology; Pancreas; Physiology

Research group(s)

  • Cell and tissue networks
    Head: Marjan Slak Rupnik
    Research Area: Collective activity presents a basic mode of operation in complex cell and tissue network activity and can be assessed using various advanced computational tools (complex network, spin glass model, phase flipping model, random matrix theory).

Research interests

Our laboratory pioneered in pancreas tissue slices approach to study the function of insulin-secreting beta cells in adult (Speier and Rupnik, 2003; Rupnik 2009), perinatal mice (Meneghel-Rozzo et al., 2004; Rozzo et al., 2009), normal and diabetic rats (Rose at al., 2007),  as well as to establish the function of insulin-producing stem cells (Blyszczuk et al., 2005). We made significant contribution to  understanding of the function of KATP channels (Speier et al., 2005; Tsiaze et al, 2012), Munc18 (Mandic et al., 2011), NMDA receptors (Marquard et al., 2015), and SNAP25b (Daraio et al., 2017) within an intact pancreatic tissue. In addition we showed the crutial role and developmental aspect of cell-to-cell communication through Cx36 gap junctions in the activation, coordinated action and deactivation of beta cells (Rozzo et al, 2009; Speier et al., 2007; Rupnik 2009, Stozer and Rupnik, 2013).  The complex structure of the pancreatic islet network enabled us to describe emergent properties of the beta cell function in intact tissues (Stozer et al, 2013; Stozer et al, 2013, Dolenšek et al., 2013, Markovic et al., 2015, Gosak et al., 2015a,  Gosak et al., 2015b, Gosak et al., 2017a, Gosak et al., 2017b, Korosak and Slak Rupnik, 2018), 

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

  • patch-clamp & CCD imaging in fresh pancreas slices
  • confocal and multiphoton microscopy
  • computational cell collective analyses


  • Beta-cells in diet-induced diabetes and remission (2019)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), Joint Project; FWF-ARRS
    Coordinator of the collaborative project
  • Cell and Tissue Networks (2019)
    Source of Funding: Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), Research Programs
    Principal Investigator
  • Linking Islet Cell Function and Identity from in vitro to in situ (2018)
    Source of Funding: National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIDKK - Human Islet Research Network
    Principal Investigator
  • pH-sensitive TALK1 channels in islet-ductal interactions (2017)
    Source of Funding: FWF (Austrian Science Fund), International Joint Project; FWF-MOST (Taiwan)
    Coordinator of the collaborative project
  • The role of TRPM3 and TRPM5 in the regulation of network activity in pancreatic islets (2017)
    Source of Funding: Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS), International Joint Project, FWO-ARRS
    Principal Investigator

Selected publications

  1. Korosak, D. & Slak Rupnik, M., 2018. Collective Sensing of β-Cells Generates the Metabolic Code. Frontiers in Physiology, 9. Available at:
  2. Gosak, M. et al., 2017. Network science of biological systems at different scales: A review. Physics of Life Reviews. Available at:
  3. Marquard, J. et al., 2015. Characterization of pancreatic NMDA receptors as possible drug targets for diabetes treatment. Nat Med, 21(4), pp.363-372. Available at:
  4. Markovič, R. et al., 2015. Progressive glucose stimulation of islet beta cells reveals a transition from segregated to integrated modular functional connectivity patterns. Scientific Reports, 5, p.7845. Available at:
  5. Dolensek, J. et al., 2013. The Relationship between Membrane Potential and Calcium Dynamics in Glucose-Stimulated Beta Cell Syncytium in Acute Mouse Pancreas Tissue Slices Z. Rakonczay, ed. PLoS ONE, 8(12), p.e82374. Available at: