Coats with superpowers from the University of Ljubljana
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Superman, but what about the University of Ljubljana’s “coats with superpowers”? This is a lab coat with special powers. It has self-cleaning and water-resistant properties, and retains the material’s air permeability. Every University of Ljubljana researcher who discloses a service invention to the Knowledge Transfer Office receives a coat.
The University of Ljubljana’s Knowledge Transfer Office acts as a bridge between the fields of research and business. It helps researchers protect and commercialise their inventions and potential innovations, and helps them establish spin-out companies. It constitutes a single entry point for companies seeking technologies, knowledge or project partnerships.
The Office promotes knowledge transfer in a number of ways. One of the most innovative is by awarding a special coat to every researcher at the university who registers a service invention with the Office.
The exclusive superpower coat is the fruit of cooperation between the University of Ljubljana Knowledge Transfer Office, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering and the National Institute of Chemistry, and symbolises the transfer of knowledge from the laboratory to practical use. The right sleeve has been treated with an innovative procedure that gives the cotton special properties that make it water-resistant and resistant to oil stains.
The procedure, called the “lotus effect”, is a joint invention by the University of Ljubljana, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering and the National Institute of Chemistry, and is protected under patent registration number EP2990527. The inventors of the “lotus effect” are Assist. Prof. Brigita Tomšič, PhD, Assist Jelena Vasiljević, PhD, and Prof. Barbara Simončič, PhD, from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, and Milena Zorko, PhD, Assist. Prof. Ivan Jerman, PhD, and Prof Miran Gaberšček, PhD, from the National Institute of Chemistry.
Even the patterns that adorn the men’s and women’s laboratory coats were created in cooperation with the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, under the mentorship of Prof. Almira Sadar. They were designed by Jovana Radivojčević, a student at the Department for Textile and Clothing Design. She is one of eight up-and-coming young designers tasked by the Knowledge Transfer Office with competing to illustrate the lotus effect.
The first researchers to be awarded a coat with superpowers by the Knowledge Transfer Office were Prof. Mateja Erdani Kreft, PhD, and Taja Železnik Ramuta, MsC, from the Faculty of Medicine, who registered an invention ‘Amniotic membrane based antimicrobial agent.
The invention tackles the problem of the spread of bacteria resistant to antibiotics resulting from the exceptional global increase in the use of antibiotics. Between 2000 and 2015, antibiotic use rose by 65%, which has driven the search for and development of new antimicrobial agents.