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Dragan Primorac, M.D., Ph.D

Dragan Primorac, M.D., Ph.D

Main Content

  • Adjunct Professor

Education

  1. M.D. University of Zagreb, 1991
  2. Ph.D. University of Connecticut and University of Zagreb, 1997
  3. Residency Program in Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Biography

Click here to download Dragran Primorac's CV

Dr. Dragan Primorac is a pediatrician, forensic expert and geneticist. He is former Minister of Science, Education and Sports of The Republic of Croatia. He is the first recipient of the title “Global Penn State University Ambassador”. Currently he serves as the Chair of the International Affairs Committee of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

He serves as adjunct professor at Eberly College of Science, The Pennsylvania State University, and Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven, in the United States and as professor at Medical Schools in Split and Osijek as well as at Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, in Croatia. In October of 2016. he was appointed as a visiting professor at the College of Medicine and Forensics, Xi’an Jiaotong University, People’s Republic of China. In addition, he is member of the International Consortium for Personalized Medicine Executive Committee (IC PerMEd) established by The European

Commission. In November of 2015 he was elected to lead the State competitiveness cluster in personalized medicine. In 2012, Dr. Primorac founded Specialty Hospital “St. Catherine”. Only five years later the European Business Award Committee announced that St. Catherine Hospital was chosen among the top 10 European institutions in "The Award for Customer Focus" category. In addition, he co-founded The Department of Forensic Sciences at the University of Split, Croatia and in 2016. he was instrumental in establishing Regiomed Medical School in Bavaria, Germany.

Professional Profile:

Dr. Primorac is one of the pioneers in DNA identification of skeletal human remains from mass graves. He authored close to two hundred scientific papers and abstracts in clinical and molecular medicine, genetics, forensic science, population genetics, genetic legacy of Homo sapiens and education, science and technology policy. Currently, he has particular interest in metabolic bone and cartilage disorders, sports medicine as well as in personalized and regenerative medicine. Dr. Primorac was invited speaker at more than 100 conferences all around the world. His work was published in most cited journals including Science and Nature.

Dr. Primorac is a pioneer in the application of DNA analysis for identification of war vistims. His papers have been cited close to 4000 times (Google Scholar) while h-index is 28. Currently, he is a team leader of the Croatian partner in the international consortium within EU FP7 project entitled “Multi-dimensional OMICS approach to stratification of patients with low back pain”, worth 7.6 million euros. He is the cofounder and the President of The International Society of Applied Biological Sciences (www.isabs.hr). In 2017. he was elected president of The Croatian Society for Human Genetics.

Prior Experience:

Earlier in his career he gained his knowledge and experience working at The University of Connecticut, Health Center, Department of Pediatrics, Farmington, Connecticut; The University Hospital St. Christopher's, Allegheny University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), Rockville, Maryland; The Analytical Genetic Testing Center, Inc., Denver, Colorado; Roche Molecular Systems, Alameda, California and Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory, Meriden, Connecticut, all in the United States.

Recognitions and Awards:

Dr. Primorac received 21 domestic and international awards including The Young Investigator Award of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 1992, The Michael Geisman Fellowship Award of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation in 1993, The Life Time Achievement Award by the Henry C. Lee’s Institute of Forensic Science in 2002, The Award of the Italian Region Veneto for Special Achievements in Promoting Science in the EU in 2007, The University of New Haven’s International Award for Excellence in 2010 and Presidential Award by the President of the International Association of Forensic Sciences for his contribution given to forensic sciences in 2011. In October of 2015 he has been awarded The State Science Award (the most prestigious national recognition by the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia) for his outstanding contribution to biomedical science. On February 12, 2015. Dr. Primorac received decoration “The Order of Croatian Star with the Effigy of Ruđer Bošković“, from the President of the Republic of Croatia for his extraordinary achievements in science. On June 2015, he was awarded with a special recognition for his outstanding service, dedication, professionalism and exceptional medical care and support to U.S. Embassy Sarajevo and Zagreb. He is currently honorary citizen of five cities in and outside of Croatia. Several renowned media outlets, both electronic and print, have reported on the results of his work, such as the New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, JAMA, Lancet, Science, NBC, Channel 8 (Connecticut TV Station) etc.

From 2003 to 2009 he served as Minister of Science, Education and Sports of The Republic of Croatia. According to the International Republican Institute survey of October 1, 2007, he was rated as the most successful minister in the Croatian Government with 31% approval rate. In the period 2003-2009 he was able to secure the greatest increase of the budget for science, education and sports in the history of modern Croatia (from $1.2 billion to $2.3 billion). Also, he launched a series of successful reforms in primary, secondary and tertiary education as well as in science, technology and sports that significantly improved the system. The award for numerous efforts made in the Croatian educational system is the survey of the famous Newsweek (2010) which rated Croatia 22nd in education ahead of 12 countries from the G20 group.

Boards and other Exams:

  • 1995                             
    • National Medical Board Exam
  • 1996                             
    • USMLE Part 1
  • 1996                             
    • TOEFL
  • 2002                             
    • National Pediatrics Board Exam

 

Postgraduate Training:

  • 1991-1996                            
    • Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut, School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut, USA (Projects: Molecular basis of Osteogenesis Imperfecta; COL1A1 mRNA transport; premature Stop codon and its influence to mRNA transport; Molecular basis of Nanomelia, a heritable Chondrodystrophy of chicken).

Additional Training:

  • 1994                             
    • State of Connecticut, Division of State Police, Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Meriden, CT, USA (PCR amplification and typing of the HLA DQ A1 and PM Loci)
  • 1997                             
    • Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, DNA Identification Laboratory, Rockville, MD, USA (Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Analysis)
  • 1997                            
    • Analytical Genetic Testing Center, Inc. Denver, CO, USA (Analysis of STRs)
  • 1998                             
    • St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Philadelphia, PA, USA (postoperative treatment of pediatric patients with the liver transplant)


Academic Appointments:

  • 1994-1996                     
    • Instructor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut, School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut, USA
  • 1998- 2001                    
    • Assistant Instructor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Split, School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
  • 2003-2006                     
    • Assistant Professor, University of Split, School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
  • 2003-2006                     
    • Assistant Professor, University of Osijek, School of Medicine, Osijek, Croatia    
  • 2006-2009                     
    • Associate Professor, University of Osijek, School of Medicine, Osijek, Croatia
  • 2009-                            
    • Full Professor of Pediatrics, University of Osijek, School of Medicine, Osijek, Croatia
  • 2009-                            
    • Adjunct Professor of Forensic Sciences, Eberly College of Science, Penn State University, USA
  • 2009-                            
    • Full Professor, University of Split, Forensic Science Masters Program, Croatia
  • 2011-                            
    • Adjunct Associate Professor of Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven, USA
  • 2012-                            
    • Full Professor of Pediatrics, University of Split, School of Medicine, Split, Croatia
  • 2016-                            
    • Full Professor, University of Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia
  • 2016-                            
    • Visiting Professor Xi’an Jiaotong University, College of Medicine and Forensics

 

Other Appointments:

  • 1994-2003                     
    • Laboratory for Clinical and Forensic Genetics, Department of Pathology, Cytology and Forensic Medicine, Clinical Hospital Split, Croatia (Head and Founder)
  • 2003 (Jan-Nov)              
    • Founder and Executive Director, Polyclinic for Nephrology and Dialysis “Holly Spirit II”, Zagreb, Croatia
  • 1999-2007                     
    • Forensic expert witness; appointed by County Court in Split, Croatia (Forensic expert witness in analyzing evidence, such as blood or semen, to use in legal proceedings to identify parentage and/or to link evidence to an individual. Serves as an expert witness and forensic consultant in Croatian legal matters, and provides expert reports and testimony for judges, attorneys, lawyers, law firms, insurance companies and government agencies in State court trials and arbitrations in the Republic of Croatia).
  • 2003-                            
    • The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Sciences of the University of New Haven, USA (Member of Technical Advisory Committee)
  • 2007-                            
    • Forensic expert witness; appointed by the County Court in Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2013-                            
    • President of the Board of Trustees - St. Catherine Hospital, Croatia
  • 2015-                            
    • Post Medical Advisor for the U.S. Embassy Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2015-                           
    • President of the Personalized Medicine Competitiveness Cluster, Croatia
  • 2016-                           
    • Vice-Dean for International Affairs, REGIOMED Medical School, Coburg, Germany


Political Appointments:

  • 2003-2009                     
    • Minister of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia; appointed by the Croatian Parliament
  • 2007-2011                     
    • Elected Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia
  • 2004-2007                     
    • Member of the National Competitiveness Council
  • 2006-2007                     
    • Chairman of the Joint Committee of CEEPUS  ministers    (Central European Exchange Program for University Studies)


Major Committee Assignments:

  • 2000-2003                      
    • European STR Working Group (Head)
  • 2000-2003                     
    • Government of the Republic of Croatia (Office for Detained and Missing Persons)
  • 2001-2003                     
    • Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia (Member of the Technology Area Council)
  • 2002-2003                     
    • Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia (Member of the Committee for Medical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine)
  • 2014-2016                     
    • Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia (Member of the Minister’s Advisory Committee)
  • 2015-                            
    • European Commission-International Consortium of the Personalized Medicine (member of the Executive Committee)
  • 2016-                            
    • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (Chair of the International Affairs Committee)
  • 2016-                            
    • Executive Committee Board Member of The Regiomed Klinikum Medical School, Coburg, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2016-                            
    • Croatian Competitiveness Cluster for Personalized Medicine, President


Advisory Posts:

  • 1994-1996                     
    • Advisory Board of Radio Jadran in New York
  • 2001- 2005                    
    • Foundation of Genetics Medicine, Advisory Board, USA
  • 2003- 2005                    
    • Council of Healthcare Advisors, USA
  • 2005-                            
    • Bridge Foundation Medical Advisory Committee, USA
  • 2013-                            
    • Advisor to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana
  • 2014-                           
    • Post Medical Advisor to Embassy of the United States of America, Health Unit, Zagreb, Croatia


Humanitarian Work:

  • 1993-1995                     
    • AmeriCares, USA (Identification of war victims by DNA technology)
  • 1997-2003                     
    • Catholic Medical Foundation Office in Split, Croatia (Project Director)
  • 1997-2000                     
    • Advisory Board of the World Hope International, Inc.,  Warrenton, MO, USA
  • 2007-2009                     
    • Honorary president of  Humanitarian ”Cor Unum” Association


Decorations:

  • 2015                             
    • “The Order of Croatian Star with the Effigy of Ruđer Bošković“ - for extraordinary achievements in science (he was awarded by the president of the Republic of Croatia on February 12, 2015)

 

Awards for Scientific Activities:

  • 1992                             
    • Young Investigator Award, Maurice Attie Memorial Award- sponsored by Merck, 14th Annual Meeting of The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, (American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, Minneapolis, MN, USA).
  • 1993                             
    • Outstanding Platform Presentation Award, East Coast Connective Tissue Society Meeting (East Coast Connective Tissue Society, Philadelphia, PA, USA).
  • 1994                             
    • Michael Geisman Fellowship Award (Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, USA)
  • 1995                             
    • Outstanding Scientist Award (Immigration and Naturalization Service, USA)
  • 1995                             
    • Joint Award of the City of Split - together with Prof. Anđelinović, Split, Croatia (the City of Split; for introducing the DNA in forensic science in Croatia)
  • 1996                             
    • Recognition for Contribution to the Advancement of Forensic Sciences (Connecticut State Police, Commissioner’s Office and Forensic Sciences Laboratory, USA)
  • 1998                             
    • Homeland War Memorial (Government of the Republic of Croatia; for identification of war victims using DNA technology)
  • 2000                             
    • Project Award  (Promega Corporation Inc., USA)
  • 2001                             
    • Achievement Award for Contribution to Forensic Science Education and DNA Testing (Forensic Laboratory, Connecticut State Police, USA)
  • 2002                             
    • Achievement Award for Leadership and Accomplishments in Promoting Science and Justice (Connecticut State Police, USA)
  • 2002                             
    • Lifetime Achievement Award (University of New Haven, Forensic Science Institute “Henry Lee”, New Haven, USA)
  • 2006                             
    • Gorjanović-Kramberger Medal for Contribution to Anthropology (Croatian Anthropological Society, Croatia)
  • 2006                             
    • Institute Ivo Pilar Medal for contribution to development of the institute, (Institute Ivo Pilar, Croatia)
  • 2007                             
    • Veneto Region Award for special achievements and promotion of science in the European Union, 23rd October 2007. (Award given by the Veneto Region president  dr. Giancarlo Galan)
  • 2010                             
    • International Award for Excellence-International Distinguished Service Award (University of New Haven)
  • 2010                             
    • Signet of the Polytechnic "Marko Marulić" - Knin (Signet is the highest award given by the Polytechnic to domestic and foreign legal entities and individuals for outstanding contribution to the improvement the Polytechnic and the development of society as a whole)
  • 2011                             
    • Presidential Award for his contribution given to forensic sciences (Award was given by Professor Duarte Nuno Vieira, President of the International Association of Forensic Sciences)
  • 2015                             
    • The State Science Award (Award was given by the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia for outstanding contribution to biomedical science)


Recognitions, Awards and Plaques:

  • 2006                             
    • Golden Plaque of Virovitičko-posavska County – for promoting values, position and status of the County and special contribution to its development and general advancement  
  • 2006                             
    • Charter of the School of Medicine, University of Rijeka – for remarkable personal contribution in the creation, development and promotion of quality and identity of the School of Medicine
  • 2007                             
    • Plaque of the School of Medicine, University of Split – for extraordinary contribution in creating and developing the Medical Faculty scientific status
  • 2007                             
    • Award of the City of Knin – for significant contribution to advancement and development of science and education in Knin
  • 2007                             
    • Friar Didak Buntić’s Award. Gradnići, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 7th October 2007.
  • 2008                             
    • Večernj list Daily’s Seal, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 4, 2008. - for scientific accomplishments in the region)
  • 2014                             
    • Gold Plaque from, University of Split, University Department of Professional Studies
  • 2015                             
    • Certificate of Appreciation, by Maureen E. Cormack, US Ambassador –for outstanding service, dedication, professionalism and exceptional medical care and support to U.S. Embassy Sarajevo and Zagreb.
  • 2016                             
    • Plaque of the School of Medicine, University of Split – for for extraordinary contributions to the School of Medicine, University of Split


Recognitions, Awards and Plaques (Sports)

  • 2004                             
    • Silver medal of the European Olympic Committee. 33. The General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOO), Dubrovnik, December 3-4, 2004.
  • 2012                             
    • Imperium Hall of Fame of Martial Arts (prof. Primorac was honored as part of The Imperium Hall of Fame of Martial Arts in Split, Croatia on August 24th , 2012)
  • 2015                             
    • Taekwondo Hall of fame (prof. Primorac was inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame in Zagreb, October 26th 2015.


Honorary Citizenship:

  • 2005                             Honorary citizen of the city Pregrada, Croatia
  • 2006                             Honorary citizen of the city Bjelovar, Croatia
  • 2006                             Honorary citizen of the Otok municipality (near Sinj), Croatia
  • 2008                             Honorary citizen of Odžak municipality (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • 2009                             Honorary citizen of Ljubuški municipality (Bosnia and erzegovina)


Honorary Membership:

  • 2007-                            
    • Croatian Academy of Technical Sciences (for accomplishments in Academy’s activities)
  • 2008-                            
    • Croatian Association of Crime Scene Investigators (for outstanding contributions for Forensics Sciences.)
  • 2012-                            
    • International Crime Analysis Association (for significant contribution for the field of forensic sciences. Honorary membership was given during the Annual Meeting of ICAA, March 24,2012, Castel Ritaldi, Italia)


Honorary titles:

  • 2016-                            
    • Global Ambassador of The Penn State University
  • 2017-                            
    • Ambassador of The National Foundation For Students Support

 

Membership in Professional Societies:

  • 1997-                            
    • Croatian Society for Human Genetics (President)           
  • 1998-                            
    • American Academy of Forensic Science (Fellow)
  • 1998-2010                     
    • American Society for Human Genetics
  • 1998-                            
    • Croatian Society for Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • 1997-                            
    • International Society for Applied Biological Sciences-ISABS, (Co-Founder and President)

 

Engagement in Scientific Journals:

  • 2001-2003                     
    • Croatian Medical Journal

 

Ad hoc Reviewer:

  • 1999-2000                     
    • The Lancet
  • 1997-                            
    • Croatian Medical Journal
  • 2011-                            
    • International Journal of Forensic Sciences
  • 2013-                            
    • European Journal of Pediatrics

 

Editorial board member:

  • 2014-                            
    • Scientific Reports-Nature

 

Teaching Experience:

Lectures at Graduate Studies:

  • 1994-1996                     
    • University of Connecticut, School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut; Department of Pediatrics, (Molecular bases of skeletal diseases)
  • 1996-                            
    • University of Zagreb, Croatia, School of Medicine, Department of Anatomy (Molecular biology of the connective tissue)
  • 2003-                            
    • University of Osijek, School of Medicine, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry (Biochemistry)
  • 1998-2003                     
    • University of Split, Croatia, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics (Molecular diagnostics of hereditary diseases)
  • 2004-                            
    • University of Split, Croatia, School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Diagnostics (Medical laboratory diagnostics)
  • 2007-                            
    • University of Split, Croatia, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics (Molecular Genetics in Pediatrics, Molecular basis of diseases, Gene and Cellular Therapy)
  • 2014-                            
    • University of Botswana, School of Medicine


Lectures at Postgraduate Studies:

  • 1998-                            
    • University of Zagreb, Croatia, Postgraduate Studies, Department of Biology (Molecular medicine, identification of skeletal remains, paternity testing, analysis of Y chromosome)
  • 1998-2000                     
    • University of Verona, Italy, Graduate Program, Department of Genetics (Molecular basis of Osteogenesis Imperfecta)
  • 2000-                            
    • University of Split, Croatia, School of Medicine, Postgraduate Studies (Molecular medicine)
  • 2001-                            
    • University of Zagreb, Croatia, Doctoral Studies, Department of Orthopedics (Molecular basis of skeletal diseases)
  • 2003-                            
    • University of Osijek, School of Medicine, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Clinical Chemistry (Human genetics)
  • 2007-                            
    • University of Split, Croatia, School of Medicine, Doctoral Study “Tumor Biology” (Molecular Diagnostics Methods of Tumor)
  • 2009-                            
    • University of Split, Croatia, Law School (Medical Law)
  • 2009-                            
    • University of Split, Forensic Science Masters Program (cofounder)
  • 2009-                            
    • Eberly College of Science, Penn State University, PA, U.S.
  • 2011-                            
    • University of New Haven, CT, U.S.