Prof. RNDr. Ján Turňa, CSc. is a graduate of the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava. Following his graduation, he worked as an assistant, lecturer and senior lecturer in biochemistry. Later, he held the position of director of the university-wide Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Comenius University. Since 1997 he has headed the Department of Molecular Biology of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University. From 2007 to 2020 he acted as director of the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information.
He serves as President of the Slovak Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, chairs the joint committee for doctoral studies in molecular biology and the committee for biosafety at the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic. He is also a member of the Scientific Council of Comenius University and the Scientific Council of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. He is a delegated representative of the Slovak Republic in the Knowledge-based Bio Economy Network (KBBE NET) and the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) at the European Commission.
Since 1981 he has been working on recombinant DNA technology and the development of in vivo genetic engineering methods using established, but also novel, original vectors based on derivatives of the transposition bacteriophage Mu. One of the most important results, with immediate practical use, is the improvement of the properties of the recombinant strain of Escherichia coli – the producer of the amino acid L-threonine. Recently, he has mainly focused on horizontal gene transfer in connection with microevolution and the emergence of pathogenic microorganisms and evaluation of the biological safety of genetically modified organisms. Professor Turňa is the co-author of three monographs and two textbooks for university students, more than seventy publications and seven patents. He has been the leading researcher on more than fifteen scientific research projects funded by national and international agencies. He has long been involved in the promotion of molecular biology, biotechnology and the use of genetically modified organisms amongst both professionals and the general public.