Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prize is awarded every year for outstanding PhD dissertations in the fields of natural sciences, medicine and biotechnology. This year, three prizes were given to dr. Janja Vidmar, dr. Matjaž Gomilšek and dr. Gregor Posnjak. All the winners come from the Jožef Stefan Institute.
Every year in the end of March, Jožef Stefan Institute organizes the Jožef Stefan Days. The aim of this traditional celebration is to remember this famous Slovenian physicist and popularization of the science. In the frame of these days, the Institute awards the best doctoral dissertations for outstanding contributions made to science with the Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prize. The list of candidates resulting from a public call for proposals is considered by a Committee consisting of distinguished Slovenian researchers.
Janja Vidmar received a Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem Prize for her PhD dissertations: Quantification and sizing of metal-based nanoparticles in the environmental and biological samples. Janja worked under the mentorship of prof. dr. Radmila Milačič on the development and optimization of analytical methods for characterization and quantification of commonly used metal nanoparticles (titanium dioxide, silver and zero-valent iron nanoparticles) in environmental and biological systems. The main method she used in her work was mass spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma in single particle mode (spICP-MS). Particular attention was also paid to the suitable preparation of samples for further analysis using spICP-MS method. Janja used the optimized methods to follow the occurrence of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in river waters, to study the behavior of zero-valent iron nanoparticles in wastewater after their use in nanoremediation, and to study the transfer and accumulation of silver nanoparticles in the human placenta.