PD Dr. Jivko Stoyanov

Foto Jivko Stoyanov

Biomedical Laboratories,
Swiss Paraplegic Research,

Swiss Paraplegic Research


PD Dr. Jivko Stoyanov is a group leader at the Spinal Injury Research Unit of Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil. He has a PhD in molecular biology (University of Birmingham) and MSc in Translational Medicine (University of Edinburgh).

Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects many organs and systems and results in many conditions which are result of complex interplay between age, environment and personal factors. Dr. Stoyanov’s team investigates the underlying biological mechanisms of these conditions and the possibilities for new therapies. In the area of biology aging with SCI the group members are interested in pain, musculoskeletal research and immunity and infection. Together with teaching there are four focus areas.

  • IVD Biology and Regeneration
  • Immunity and Infection in SCI
  • Teaching Activities
  • SCI Biobank

Dr. Stoyanov has experience in working with human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and human intervertebral disc (IVD) cells. The focus of his group is the use of such cells for IVD regeneration after trauma and degenerative disc disease in the practical context of translational medicine. While working also on a basic biological level, his group is interested particularly in optimizing the way cells interact with tissue engineering matrices under normoxic and hypoxic conditions for the purpose of IVD differentiation and their use to modulate inflammation in degenerative and traumatic intervertebral discs. Another area of interest is the aging of MSC and the consequences for their use in future advanced cell therapies.

The technical expertise of the group includes isolation and culturing of human IVD cells and MSCs and their use in tissue engineering and immunomodulation projects. From a collaboration perspective, the groups’ specific knowledge in hypoxic cell culturing, standard molecular methods (PCR, ELISA, immunoblotting, immunohistochemistry etc.) and access to a live cell imaging system might be of interest. Furthermore, the group also maintains a substantial collection of matched cell sets (derived from the same donor) - including human IVD cells, MSC and peripheral bloods cells.

The team also develops a national biobank for storage of samples of persons with SCI and defines immunity and infection in persons with SCI. The current project is on the prevalence of immunosenescence and relevance for treatment of urinary tract infections in SCI patients.

Dr. Stoyanov teaches molecular biology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bern and historical roots of the evidence based medicine at the Master of Health Sciences program at the University of Lucerne.