Department of General Biology (now Developmental Biology) is one of the first established at the University and the first department in the Faculty of Biology. Professor Zhivko Lambrev was its founder and leader for a long time. He headed the department since its foundation in 1961, until 1975. Initially, only three lecturers work in the department, but over the time its staff has continuously reinforced, making it stable and it gave rise to formation and evolution of new departments and groups such as: Department of Methods of Biology Teaching; Biophysics Group at the Department of Atomic Physics; Microbiology Group at the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, and Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection. The separately existing then Department of Geology (1962), later it was included in the structure of the Department of General Biology, forming in it a unit of paleontology and geology, and this unit was moved to the Department of Ecology and environmental protecttion in 1996. Currently, at the Department of Developmental Biology there are 4 units: Genetics, Cell Biology, Histology and Embryology and Theoretical Biology. The department keeps collections of drosophila lines, cell cultures and diverse collections of microscopic specimens of genetics, cytology and histology – as a result of the tireless work of the highly qualified lecturers and biologists that have worked in the department over the years. Currently, personnel staff of the department includes 13 lecturers and experts – 2 Professors, PhDs; 3 associate professors, PhDs; 4 Chief assistant professors, PhDs; 2 assistant professors; an expert-biologist and a medical laboratory-assistant.
Our mission is to educate and train graduate students, doctoral students and young scientists, to perform scientific research within the areas of cell biology, immunology, genetics, embryology, histology, theoretical biology and evolution, and to support system biology-related activities locally, nationally as well as internationally. We are committed to excellence in our teaching and research programs.
The vision of the Department of Developmental Biology is to be an established, developed and internationally recognized university unit for academic excellence and research in the field of biology.
The research topics of the department are quite diverse, but the key word in our department is development – development from the cell to the multicellular organism, development and evolution from the first living organisms until now, including all structural and functional levels.
Specific research topics:
- The specific research activities at the department are focused on several topics:
- In vitro cell cultures, stem cells and their application;
- Autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases, induction of tolerance, development of antigen-based vaccines;
- Antigen processing and presentation, T- and B-cell function;
- In vitro cyto- and genotoxicology;
- Cytogenetics of animal and plant cells;
- Biochemical genetics, population genetics and ontogenetics in the field of apidology and sericology;
- In vitro tissue plant regeneration (anther culture, androgenesis);
- Tissue expression of A and B blood group antigens in vertebrate animals;
- Biological effects of natural products on human and animal cell cultures, antitumor activity of bioactive compounds;
- Toxic effects of heavy metals and pesticides on the histological structure of different organs in vertebrates.