Bojan Polić

Introducing Bojan Polić:

Webpage contents:

My name is Bojan Polić and I am full professor at the University of Rijeka faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, Croatia. I am running to be the next president elect for EFIS and I hereby want to introduce myself and want to explain why I would be a good candidate for our federation.

Immunology is my passion and I have been working in this field for over 30 years. Most of my career I have worked in Croatia, but I have spent several years abroad during my postdoctoral training. Croatia is not the center of the scientific world and during my career I was therefore required to build a wide network of collaborations all over Europe. As such, I am familiar with the scientific culture of many countries within our federation. As such I understand the strengths of our immunological community, but also recognize some of the weaknesses, which I will try to alleviate should I be elected president. Moreover, I believe that I have the experienced that is required to build bridges between societies, from North and South, East and West.

On this website, I would like to introduce myself and highlight some of the goals I would like to achieve should I be elected.

Brief Curriculum Vitae:

Personal Information:

  • Date of birth:               01. August 1964.
  • Place of birth:              Rijeka, Croatia
  • Year of PhD:                1996
  • Institute:                       University of Rijeka, Faculty of medicine, Croatia
  • Department:                Histology & Embryology
  • Position:                        Professor, Department Head


  • 1997 – 2001    Postdoctoral training at the Department of Immunology (Prof. Klaus Rajewsky), Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany
  • 1996                  Ph.D. in Immunology (Prof. Stipan Jonjić) at the Department of Physiology & Immunology, Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 1992                  Master of Science degree at the Department of Physiology & Immunology, Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 1989 – 1991    Postgraduate scientific study at the Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 1984 – 1989    M.D., Study of Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine University of Rijeka, Croatia

Academic Positions

  • Since 2021       Head of the Department of Histology & Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • Since 2008      Professor at the Department of Histology & Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • Since 2003      Guest Professor at the Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina (Head of the Department 2007 – 2013)
  • 2003 – 2008   Associate Professor at the Department of Histology & Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 2000 – 2003   Assistant Professor at the Department of Histology & Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia

Institutional Responsibilities

  • Since 2011       Head of the Center for Translational Medicine Rijeka (‘TransMedRi’), University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • Since 2010      Member of the National Scientific Council for Biomedicine and Health
  • Since 2003      Head of the Center for breeding and engineering of laboratory mice Rijeka (LAMRI) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 2012 – 2015    Member of the National Committee for the Croatian State Awards in Science for Biomedicine and Health
  • 2013 – 2015    Member of the Scientific Board of the Croatian Scientific Foundation (HRZZ) for Biomedicine and Health
  • 2008 – 2014   Vice-Dean for Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 2010 – 2014    Member of the Scientific Advisory Bord at the University of Rijeka, Croatia
  • 2010 – 2014    President of the Croatian Immunological Society (Vice-President 2004 – 2010)
  • 2000 – 2002  Head of the Postgraduate scientific study at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, Croatia

Scientific Accomplishments:

Scientific ID:

Selected Top-10 publications:

  1. Jelenčić V., Šestan M., Kavazović I., Lenartić M., Marinović , Holmes T.D., Prchal-Murphy M., Lisnić B., Sexl V., Bryceson Y.T., Wensveen F.M., Polić B. (2018) NK cell receptor NKG2D sets activation threshold for the NCR1receptor early in NK cell development. Nat. Immunol. 19:1083–1092
  2. Šestan M, Marinović S, Kavazović I, Cekinović Đ, Wueest S, Turk Wensveen T, Brizić I, Jonjić S, Konrad D, Wensveen FM, Polić B. (2018) Virus-Induced Interferon-γ Causes Insulin Resistance in Skeletal Muscle and Derails Glycemic Control in Obesity. Immunity 49:164-177
  3. Wensveen FM, Jelenčić V, Valentić S, Šestan M, Wensveen TT, Theurich S, Glasner A, Mendrila D, Štimac D, Wunderlich FT, Brüning JC, Mandelboim O, Polić B. (2015) NK cells link obesity-induced adipose stress to inflammation and insulin resistance. Nat. Immunol. 16:376-385.
  4. Wensveen FM, Lenartić M, Jelenčić V, Lemmermann NAW, ten Brinke A, Jonjić S, and Polić B (2013) NKG2D Induces Mcl-1 Expression and Mediates Survival of CD8 Memory T Cell Precursors via Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase. J Immunol. 191:1307-15.
  5. Vahl JC, Heger K, Knies N, Hein MY, Boon L, Yagita H, Polic B, Schmidt-Supprian M (2013) NKT Cell-TCR Expression Activates Conventional T Cells in Vivo, but is Largely Dispensable for Mature NKT Cell Biology. PLOS Biology, June, Volume 11, Issue 6, e1001589
  6. Markiewicz MA, Wise EL, Buchwald ZS, Pinto AK, Zafirova B, Polić B and Shaw AS (2012) Antigen-independent recruitment of CTL to pancreatic islets expressing an NKG2D ligand. Immunity, 36:132-141
  7. Strid J., Sobolev O, Zafirova B, Polić B, Hayday A (2011) The intraepithelial T cell response to NKG2D-ligands links lymphoid stress-surveillance to atopy. Science 334:1293-1297
  8. Zafirova B, Mandarić S, Antulov R, Krmpotić A, Jonsson H, Yokoyama WM, Jonjić S, Polić B. (2009) Altered NK cell development and enhanced NK cell-mediated resistance to mouse cytomegalovirus in NKG2D-deficient mice. Immunity 31:270 – 282
  9. Polic B., Kunkel D., Scheffold A., and Rajewsky K. (2001) How alpha beta T cells deal with induced TCRalpha  ablation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98:8744-8749.
  10. Polic B., Hengel H., Krmpotic A., Trgovchich J., Pavic I.,  Lucin P.,  Jonjic S. and    Koszinowski U.H.. (1998).  Hierarchical  and   Redundant   Lymphocyte   Subset   Control     Precludes  Cytomegalovirus  Replication   during   Latent     J.  Exp.  Med. 188:1047-1054.

You can find a full list of publications here.

Major Scientific Contributions: / viral infection

  • Biological roles of the NKG2D receptor
  • The role of the αβ T cell receptor in maintenance of T cells
  • Immuno-surveillance of cytomegalovirus infection

You can find my full CV here: Bojan Polic CV

Three spear points that I would like to concentrate on:

a. Securing financial stability of our society in a changing funding landscape.

An important role of EFIS is to finance the exchange of young immunologists through fellowships and travel grants. A great example is how EFIS allows people from all over Europe to attend ECI, or by providing short-term research fellowships that enable young scientists to learn specific skills abroad.  The funds for these grants are derived from sponsors, such as the publishers of Immunology Letters and The European Journal of Immunology. Because of these sponsorships the membership of national societies for EFIS is free. However, as scientific publishers move increasingly towards open access models, the revenue models of our main sponsors is under pressure. This means that their contribution to EFIS will inevitably decrease. In order to be able to continue to finance international exchange of immunologists, acquisition of new sources of funding is essential. During my  presidency I will focus on preserving the budget of EFIS by exploring new sources of funding, whilst retaining the integrity of our federation.

b. Expanding the EFIS Task Forces, with a focus on Young EFIS

European Immunology is stronger than it has ever been. Yet that does not mean that we can be complacent. In order to transcend ourselves, we must address the problems within our federation. Moreover, we must harvest the knowledge that our field generates and let it benefit as many people as possible. Under Andreas Radbruch, several Task Forces were generated to address important topics in our community, such as inequality, immunological education and vaccination. In addition, young EFIS was founded, which tries to connect young immunologists within societies in a very practical way. I would like to build on these task forces and especially enable young EFIS to extend its reach. Not only should it be a platform for communication, but for knowledge transfer and research exchange using both traditional means, such as travel grants, and exploring new platforms, such as digital media. Young talents stand at the hart of scientific innovation. Therefore EFIS should empower these talents to their fullest extent.

c. Bridging immunology between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe.

The strength of European Immunology lies in its ability to generate synergy between its individual parts. Without a doubt, much of our scientific progress comes from the countries that also originally formed the European Union. What sometimes is refered to as ‘old Europe’, meaning mostly countries in the North and West. However, also its member states in other parts of Europe (‘new Europe’), such as those in the south and the east, are showing some amazing discoveries, typically using a much more limited budget and with more modest tools. I believe that these two parts of Europe have much to gain from working more closely together. European countries with more financial means typically have the advanced technological tools to explore new avenues of research. Countries with a more modest research budget are usually much better at getting the absolute most from the research tools that they have available. In addition, these countries generally have a cheaper work force, meaning that they can more easily provide manpower for challenging tasks. The EU tries to bring these countries together, but usually with only limited success due to its ‘top down’ (not to say bureaucracy-down) approach. During my presidency, I want to promote platforms that actively bring federations together and promote collaborations at even the smallest scale. This can take the form of digital portals, but also of bidirectional travel grants between countries. Only by bringing people together can we generate synergy.