Research Groups

Abiotic stress

  • Development of Systems for In vitro Propagation of valuable genotypes and species;
  • Screening and Evaluation of Plant Stress Response;
  • Biotech Approaches to Improve Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants – In vitro selection and Plant Transformation
  • Holistic approach to study the resurrection plant Haberlea rhodopensis-metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics; 
  • Special focus on the unique desiccation tolerance of Haberlea rhodopensis and potential application of biologically active compounds from plant extracts.


Dr. Dimitar Djilianov
Professor /Group Leader/
Dr. Daniela Moyankova
Associate professor
Stefan Tsonev
Petko Vasilev Mladenov
Dr. Nabil Abu-Mhadi

Biotic stress

  • Phytosanitary diagnostic for presence of bacterial and fungal pathogens
  • Immunodiagnostic for identification of plant viruses.
  • Classical inoculation tests of crops for disease resistance to different plant pathogens.
  • Genetic transformation for introducing genes in plants, encoding resistance to viral, bacterial, fungal diseases and insects.
  • DNA and RNA analyses for proving the integration and expression of transgenes in transgenic plants.
  • DNA analyses for detection of molecular markers for disease resistance in plants.
  • Taxonomy investigations of plant pathogens by RAPD analyses.
  • Strain differentiation of Plum pox virus in Bulgaria is done by ELISA method and five strain specific monoclonal antibodies. Presence of three strains – M, D and Rec, as well as mixed infections is proved. The level of distributions of Plum pox virus in Bulgaria is found in plum, peach and apricot in the country.
  • Specific DNA markers for differentiation of broomrape isolates on sunflower and tobacco (Orobanche ramosa and Orobanche cumana).
Dr. Slavtcho Slavov
Associate professor Group Leader
DSc Rossitza Batchvarova
DSc Ivanka Kamenova
Dr. P. Christova
Assistant professor
Dr. Kaloyan Kostov
Assistant professor
Aneta Lubenova
M. Alexandrova
Grozdenka Varadinova
Katia Slavova

Molecular Genetics

  • Molecular marker genotyping and variety identification of cultivated (V. vinifera subsp. vitis) and wild (V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris) grapevine. 
  • Molecular marker characterization of grapevine segregating populations. Genetic maps and QTL analysis.
  • Characterization of grapevine genetic resources and marker assisted selection for disease resistance. 
  • Metabolite analysis of grape and wine. 
  • Molecular marker genotyping and characterization of genetic resources from oil bearing roses (Rosa damascena and Rosa alba) and roses for hip production (Rosa canina and Rosa webbiana x Rosa cinnamomea)
  • Molecular marker characterization of segregating populations from Rosa damascena and roses for hip production. Marker assisted selection for important agronomic characteristics
  • Metabolite analysis of flowers from oil bearing roses and rose oil. 
  • Metabolite analysis, antioxidant and biological activities of waste products from industrial rose oil distillation. 
  • Metabolite analysis, antioxidant and biological activities of rose hips.
  • Molecular marker characterization of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) genetic resources and segregating populations.
  • Metabolite analysis of lavender inflorescence and essential oil. 
  • Molecular marker characterization of sunflower genetic resources and segregating populations.
  • Cloning and characterization of tissue-specific and inducible promoter regions and signal peptides for secretion of recombinant proteins from plant cells. Vectors for gene expression.
  • Cloning and characterization of plant genes and alleles for agronomically important characteristics
  • Characterization of microbial biodiversity of Bulgarian hot springs.
  • Metagenomic cloning and characterization of microbial genes for thermostabile enzymes. Cloning of genes for thermostabile glycosyl hydrolases.
  • Heterologous gene expression in industrial hosts E. coli and Bacillus megaterium. Expression vectors. Gateway and seamless gene cloning. Production and characterization of recombinant proteins.
DSc Ivan Atanassov
Group Leader
Dr Tzvetanka Hvarleva
Senior scientist
Dr Krasimir Rusanov
Senior scientist
Dr Katerina Stefanova
Research fellow
Mila Rusanova
Tzvetelina Zagorcheva
PhD student
Kalin Kosev
PhD student
Rumiana Velcheva

Plant genetic resources


  • Development and evaluation of vegetative propagated plant genetic resources
  • Mass  propagation
  • Preservation and characterization of plant biodiversity (wild grapevines, snowflake, wild small fruits,mediacal plants)
  • Molecular markers for characterization of vegetative propagated plant species
  • Detection of secondary metabolites by mass spectroscopy analysis.
  • Development of organic farming technologies
  • Consultations


Assoc.Prof. Dr. Violeta Kondakova
Group Leader
Assoc.Prof. Dr. Ivan Tsvetkov
Senior scientist
Dr. Teodora Dzhambazova
Research fellow
Dr. Ilian Badjakov
Research fellow
Dr. Liliya Georgieva
Research fellow
Dr. Strahil Berkov
Research fellow
Antoaneta Ginova
Evstati Dimitrov
Ivayla Dincheva

Functional genetics Legumes

  • Еstablishment of  the influence of  the stress factors applied to the initial plant explants for improvement of  Medicago truncatula somatic embryogenesis as well as for reactivation of Tnt1 tobacco retrotransposon in the plant genome.
  • Creation of a large collection of Medicago  truncatula Lotus japonicus mutant lines by in vitro reactivation of Tnt1 retrotransposon. The selected lines are valuable experimental material for identification of genes related with plant development and symbiosis, diseases resistance, investigation of their function.
  • Functional and comparative genomics of model species Arabidopisi thaliana, Medicago truncatula, Lotus japonicus.
  • Genetic modification of alfalfa (Legumes) and tomato /Lycopersicon/ plants, for creation of new forms, with breeding and pharmaceutical value.
  • Investigation of the genetically modified plants on molecular level – expression, characterization and biological activity of the end product.
  • Risk assessment of GM alfalfa and tomato plants. Study the possibilities for pollen flow mitigation.
  • Development and utilization of suitable marker system allowing GM plants to be released in opened area. A gene construct carrying selective marker  (phosphomannose isomerase), instead of marker genes, coding for resistance to antibiotics and herbicides (in accordance with the EC Regulation)


Assoc.Prof. Dr. Anelia Iantcheva
Group Leader
Dr. Mariana Radkova
Research fellow
Dr. Petya Stoykova
Research fellow
Miglena Ugrinova
PhD Student
Irina Boicheva
PhD student
Kety Krastanova
Sonia Ivanova

Functional Genetics Cereals

  • Molecular markers for variety identification, marker-trait association, mapping and marker assisted selection in cereal crops for food and feed quality improvement, biotic and abiotic stress factors
  • barley
  • bread and durum wheat
  • maize
  • Molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress adaptation in cereals
  • Cereal crop improvement by direct gene transfer
  • Elucidation of gene functions by genetic transformation of Arabidopsis, barley and maize
  • Biotechnological approaches to enhancement of food and feed quality of wheat, barley and maize
  • Engineering of abiotic and biotic stress resistance in wheat, barley and maize


Dr. Elena Todorovska
Professor /Group Leader/
Dr. Nikolai Christov
Associate professor
Martin Ivanov
PhD student
Borislav Assenov
PhD student