Manja Zec, PhD, MSc
Research Instructor, Orthopedics

Graduate Schools :
  • MSc, University of Belgrade
  • PhD, University of Belgrade
Languages: English, Serbian
Department: Orthopedics

Research Interests

I am interested in lipidomic and metabolomic networks and molecular nodes underpinning musculoskeletal disease, and accompanying metabolic burden. By use of high-throughput omics platforms coupled with advanced computational approaches, I aim to identify mechanisms and biomarkers in skeletal muscle loss of function and joint disease. I trust those represent sine qua non for designing novel precision medicine strategies in the field.


  • Charchar FJ, Prestes PR, Mills C, Ching SM, Neupane D, Marques FZ, Sharman JE, Vogt L, Burrell LM, Korostovtseva L, Zec M, Patil M, Schultz MG, Wallen MP, Renna NF, Islam SMS, Hiremath S, Gyeltshen T, Chia YC, Gupta A, Schutte AE, Klein B, Borghi C, Browning CJ, Czesnikiewicz-Guzik M, Lee HY, Itoh H, Miura K, Brunström M, Campbell NRC, Akinnibossun OA, Veerabhadrappa P, Wainford RD, Kruger R, Thomas SA, Komori T, Ralapanawa U, Cornelissen VA, Kapil V, Li Y, Zhang Y, Jafar TH, Khan N, Williams B, Stergiou G, Tomaszewski M. Lifestyle management of hypertension: International Society of Hypertension position paper endorsed by the World Hypertension League and European Society of Hypertension. J Hypertens. 2024 Jan 1;42(1):23-49. PubMed PMID: 37712135
  • Tepavcevic S, Romic S, Zec M, Culafic T, Stojiljkovic M, Ivkovic T, Pantelic M, Kostic M, Stanisic J, Koricanac G. Effects of Walnut-Rich Diet on Cation-Handling Proteins in the Heart of Healthy and Metabolically Compromised Male Rats. J Med Food. 2023 Nov;26(11):849-857. PubMed PMID: 37889606
  • Kouvari M, Sergi D, Zec M, Naumovski N. Editorial: Nutrition in prevention and management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Front Nutr. 2023;10:1212363. PubMed PMID: 37521411
  • Bordoni L, Zec M, Naumovski N, Sergi D. Editorial: The role of dietary fatty acids in metabolic health. Front Physiol. 2023;14:1211151. PubMed PMID: 37288432
  • Kouvari M, M D'Cunha N, Tsiampalis T, Zec M, Sergi D, Travica N, Marx W, McKune AJ, Panagiotakos DB, Naumovski N. Metabolically Healthy Overweight and Obesity, Transition to Metabolically Unhealthy Status and Cognitive Function: Results from the Framingham Offspring Study. Nutrients. 2023 Mar 5;15(5). PubMed PMID: 36904288
  • Romic S, Tepavcevic S, Popovic T, Zec M, Stojiljkovic M, Culafic T, Boškovic M, Koricanac G. Consumption of walnuts suppresses the conversion of palmitic to palmitoleic acid and enhances omega-3 fatty acid metabolism in the heart of fructose-fed rats. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2022 Nov;73(7):940-953. PubMed PMID: 35918845
  • Bochenek H, Krga I, Sergi D, Kouvari M, Zec M, Naumovski N. Dietary patterns, caloric restrictions for management of cardiovascular disease and cancer; a brief review. Rev Cardiovasc Med. 2022 Jan 20;23(1):41. PubMed PMID: 35092233
  • Boškovic M, Živkovic M, Koricanac G, Tepavcevic S, Zec M, Debeljak-Martacic J, Stankovic A. Walnut supplementation after fructose-rich diet is associated with a beneficial fatty acid ratio and increased ACE2 expression in the rat heart. Front Physiol. 2022;13:942459. PubMed PMID: 36213224
  • Kouvari M, D'Cunha NM, Travica N, Sergi D, Zec M, Marx W, Naumovski N. Metabolic Syndrome, Cognitive Impairment and the Role of Diet: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2022 Jan 13;14(2). PubMed PMID: 35057514
  • Snider JM, You JK, Wang X, Snider AJ, Hallmark B, Zec MM, Seeds MC, Sergeant S, Johnstone L, Wang Q, Sprissler R, Carr TF, Lutrick K, Parthasarathy S, Bime C, Zhang HH, Luberto C, Kew RR, Hannun YA, Guerra S, McCall CE, Yao G, Del Poeta M, Chilton FH. Group IIA secreted phospholipase A2 is associated with the pathobiology leading to COVID-19 mortality. J Clin Invest. 2021 Oct 1;131(19). PubMed PMID: 34428181
  • Dakic T, Lakic I, Zec M, Takic M, Stojiljkovic M, Jevdjovic T. Fructose-rich diet and walnut supplementation differently regulate rat hypothalamic and hippocampal glucose transporters expression. J Sci Food Agric. 2021 Nov;101(14):5984-5991. PubMed PMID: 33856052
  • Stanisic J, Ivkovic T, Romic S, Zec M, Culafic T, Stojiljkovic M, Koricanac G. Beneficial effect of walnuts on vascular tone is associated with Akt signalling, voltage-dependent calcium channel LTCC and ATP-sensitive potassium channel Kv1.2. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2021 May;72(3):324-334. PubMed PMID: 32693647
  • Chilton FH, Manichaikul A, Yang C, O'Connor TD, Johnstone LM, Blomquist S, Schembre SM, Sergeant S, Zec M, Tsai MY, Rich SS, Bridgewater SJ, Mathias RA, Hallmark B. Interpreting Clinical Trials With Omega-3 Supplements in the Context of Ancestry and FADS Genetic Variation. Front Nutr. 2021;8:808054. PubMed PMID: 35211495
  • Zec MM, Krga I, Zandberg L, Smuts CM. Editorial: Micronutrients and Fatty Acids in Precision Nutrition Strategies. Front Nutr. 2021;8:788215. PubMed PMID: 34957189
  • Šarac I, Jovanovic J, Zec M, Pavlovic Z, Debeljak-Martacic J, Zekovic M, Mileševic J, Gurinovic M, Glibetic M. Vitamin D Status and Its Correlation With Anthropometric and Biochemical Indicators of Cardiometabolic Risk in Serbian Underground Coal Miners in 2016. Front Nutr. 2021;8:689214. PubMed PMID: 34490320
  • Stojkovic L, Zec M, Zivkovic M, Bundalo M, Boškovic M, Glibetic M, Stankovic A. Polyphenol-Rich Aronia melanocarpa Juice Consumption Affects LINE-1 DNA Methylation in Peripheral Blood Leukocytes in Dyslipidemic Women. Front Nutr. 2021;8:689055. PubMed PMID: 34222308
  • Boškovic M, Živkovic M, Koricanac G, Stanišic J, Zec M, Krga I, Stankovic A. Walnut Supplementation Restores the SIRT1-FoxO3a-MnSOD/Catalase Axis in the Heart, Promotes an Anti-Inflammatory Fatty Acid Profile in Plasma, and Lowers Blood Pressure on Fructose-Rich Diet. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021;2021:5543025. PubMed PMID: 33976753
  • Zec MM, Krga I, Stojkovic L, Živkovic M, Pokimica B, Stankovic A, Glibetic M. Is There a FADS2-Modulated Link between Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Plasma Phospholipids and Polyphenol Intake in Adult Subjects Who Are Overweight?. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 21;13(2). PubMed PMID: 33494132
  • Zec M. 2021. Emerging Role of Microbiota in Precision Nutrition Approaches. In Book: Reference Module in Food Science. Elsevier
  • Kletecka-Pulker M, Mondal H, Wang D, Parra RG, Maigoro AY, Lee S, ... & Atanasov AG. Impacts of biomedical hashtag-based Twitter campaign: #DHPSP utilization for promotion of open innovation in digital health, patient safety, and personalized medicine. Current Research in Biotechnology 2021, 3, 146-153
  • Zec MM, Stojkovic L, Zekovic M, Pokimica B, Zivkovic M, Stankovic A, Glibetic M. FADS2 polymorphisms are associated with plasma arachidonic acid and estimated desaturase-5 activity in a cross-sectional study. Nutr Res. 2020 Nov;83:49-62. PubMed PMID: 33011673
  • Ojwang AA, Smuts CM, Zec M, Wentzel-Viljoen E, Kruger IM, Kruger HS. Comparison of dietary and plasma phospholipid fatty acids between normal weight and overweight black South Africans according to metabolic health: The PURE study. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2020 Jul;158:102039. PubMed PMID: 31780327
  • Zec MM, Krga I, Takic M, Debeljak-Martacic J, Koricanac G, Rankovic S, Popovic T, Pantelic M, Glibetic M. Walnut Consumption Induces Tissue-Specific Omega-6/Omega-3 Decrease in High-Fructose-Fed Wistar Rats. ACS Omega. 2020 Nov 3;5(43):28136-28145. PubMed PMID: 33163796
  • Stojkovic L, Jovanovic I, Zivkovic M, Zec M, Djuric T, Zivotic I, Kuveljic J, Kolakovic A, Kolic I, Djordjevic A, Glibetic M, Alavantic D, Stankovic A. The Effects of Aronia melanocarpa Juice Consumption on the mRNA Expression Profile in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Subjects at Cardiovascular Risk. Nutrients. 2020 May 20;12(5). PubMed PMID: 32443695
  • Zec M, Glibetic M. 2020. Biotic and Abiotic Safety Concerns for Herbs and Spices. In Book: Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants: Processing, Health Benefits and Safety, 301-319
  • Zec M, Rajilic-Stojanovic. Nutrition and microbiota. Microbiota in Health and Disease 2020; 2: e293
  • Ojwang AA, Kruger HS, Zec M, Ricci C, Pieters M, Kruger IM, Wentzel-Viljoen E, Smuts CM. Plasma phospholipid fatty acid patterns are associated with adiposity and the metabolic syndrome in black South Africans: a cross-sectional study. Cardiovasc J Afr. 2019 Jul Aug 23;30(4):228-238. PubMed PMID: 31361296
  • Pantovic A, Zec M, Zekovic M, Obrenovic R, Stankovic S, Glibetic M. Vitamin D Is Inversely Related to Obesity: Cross-Sectional Study in a Small Cohort of Serbian Adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2019 Jul;38(5):405-414. PubMed PMID: 30633650
  • Vidovic N, Faid F, Pantovic A, Nikolic M, Debeljak-Martacic J, Zekovic M, Milesevic J, Drah MM, Zec M. Vitamin D and cardio-metabolic biomarkers: small-scale comparative study between Libyan migrants and resident women in Serbia. Libyan J Med. 2019 Dec;14(1):1622364. PubMed PMID: 31146648
  • Knez M, Pantovic A, Zekovic M, Pavlovic Z, Glibetic M, Zec M. Is There a Link between Zinc Intake and Status with Plasma Fatty Acid Profile and Desaturase Activities in Dyslipidemic Subjects?. Nutrients. 2019 Dec 28;12(1). PubMed PMID: 31905662
  • Zec MM, Schutte AE, Ricci C, Baumgartner J, Kruger IM, Smuts CM. Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Are Associated with Blood Pressure and Hypertension over 10-Years in Black South African Adults Undergoing Nutritional Transition. Foods. 2019 Sep 6;8(9). PubMed PMID: 31500169
  • Pokimica B, García-Conesa MT, Zec M, Debeljak-Martacic J, Rankovic S, Vidovic N, Petrovic-Oggiano G, Konic-Ristic A, Glibetic M. Chokeberry Juice Containing Polyphenols Does Not Affect Cholesterol or Blood Pressure but Modifies the Composition of Plasma Phospholipids Fatty Acids in Individuals at Cardiovascular Risk. Nutrients. 2019 Apr 15;11(4). PubMed PMID: 30991718
  • Zec M, Zekovic M, Jeremic-Zec G, Šarac I, Glibetic M, Gurinovic M. Nutritional status and social determinants in a random sample of subjects residing in South-Eastern Serbia: towards personalized nutrition practice. Pirotski Zbornik 2019; 44, 189-224
  • Ricci C, Baumgartner J, Zec M, Kruger HS, Smuts CM. Type of dietary fat intakes in relation to all-cause and cause-specific mortality in US adults: an iso-energetic substitution analysis from the American National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey linked to the US mortality registry. Br J Nutr. 2018 Feb;119(4):456-463. PubMed PMID: 29498349
  • Zec M, Glibetic M. 2018. Health Bene?ts of Nut Consumption. In Book: Reference Module in Food Science. Elsevier, pp. 1–13
  • Kardum N, Konic Ristic A, Zec M, Kojadinovic M, Petrovic-Oggiano G, Zekovic M, Kroon PA, Glibetic M. Design, formulation and sensory evaluation of a polyphenol-rich food placebo: an example of aronia juice for food intervention studies. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Sep;68(6):742-749. PubMed PMID: 28147889
  • Zec M, Debeljak Martacic J, Rankovic S, Pokimica B, Tomic M, Ignjatovic Dj, Glibetic M, Popovic T. Effects of Aronia Melanocarpa juice on plasma and liver fatty acids phospholipids composition in Wistar rats. Acta Veterinaria 2017, 67(1), 107-120
  • Cavic M, Krivokuca A, Boljevic I, Brotto K, Jovanovic K, Tanic M, Filipovic L, Zec M, Malisic E, Jankovic R, Radulovic S. Pharmacogenetics in cancer therapy - 8 years of experience at the Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia. J BUON. 2016 Sept-Oct;21(5):1287-1295. PubMed PMID: 27837635
  • Knez M, Stangoulis JCR, Zec M, Debeljak-Martacic J, Pavlovic Z, Gurinovic M, Glibetic M. An initial evaluation of newly proposed biomarker of zinc status in humans - linoleic acid: dihomo-?-linolenic acid (LA:DGLA) ratio. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2016 Oct;15:85-92. PubMed PMID: 28531790
  • Kardum N, Petrovic-Oggiano G, Takic M, Glibetic N, Zec M, Debeljak-Martacic J, Konic-Ristic A. Effects of glucomannan-enriched, aronia juice-based supplement on cellular antioxidant enzymes and membrane lipid status in subjects with abdominal obesity. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:869250. PubMed PMID: 25574495
  • Zec M, Srdic-Rajic T, Krivokuca A, Jankovic R, Todorovic T, Andelkovic K, Radulovic S. Novel selenosemicarbazone metal complexes exert anti-tumor effect via alternative, caspase-independent necroptotic cell death. Med Chem. 2014;10(8):759-71. PubMed PMID: 24678785
  • Kardum N, Takic M, Šavikin K, Zec M, Zdunic G, Spasic S, Konic-Ristic A. Effects of polyphenol-rich chokeberry juice on cellular antioxidant enzymes and membrane lipid status in healthy women. Journal of Functional Foods 2014; 9:89-97
  • Zec M, Srdic-Rajic T, Konic-Ristic A, Todorovic T, Andjelkovic K, Filipovic-Ljeskovic I, Radulovic S. Anti-metastatic and anti-angiogenic properties of potential new anti-cancer drugs based on metal complexes of selenosemicarbazones. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2012 Nov;12(9):1071-80. PubMed PMID: 22583413
  • Eshkourfu R, Cobeljic B, Vujcic M, Turel I, Pevec A, Sepcic K, Zec M, Radulovic S, Srdic-Radic T, Mitic D, Andjelkovic K, Sladic D. Synthesis, characterization, cytotoxic activity and DNA binding properties of the novel dinuclear cobalt(III) complex with the condensation product of 2-acetylpyridine and malonic acid dihydrazide. J Inorg Biochem. 2011 Sep;105(9):1196-203. PubMed PMID: 21722616
  • Srdic-Rajic T, Zec M, Todorovic T, Andelkovic K, Radulovic S. Non-substituted N-heteroaromatic selenosemicarbazone metal complexes induce apoptosis in cancer cells via activation of mitochondrial pathway. Eur J Med Chem. 2011 Sep;46(9):3734-47. PubMed PMID: 21641698
  • Bjelogrlic S, Todorovic T, Bacchi A, Zec M, Sladic D, Srdic-Rajic T, Radanovic D, Radulovic S, Pelizzi G, Andelkovic K. Synthesis, structure and characterization of novel Cd(II) and Zn(II) complexes with the condensation product of 2-formylpyridine and selenosemicarbazide Antiproliferative activity of the synthesized complexes and related selenosemicarbazone complexes. J Inorg Biochem. 2010 Jun;104(6):673-82. PubMed PMID: 20356629
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Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Nutrition, Member
  • Orthopaedic Research Society, Member
Public Speaking

General Information

Graduate Schools:
  • MSc, University of Belgrade (0001)
  • PhD, University of Belgrade (0001)
Languages: English, Serbian
Department: Orthopedics
Contact Us
CU Anschutz
Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place
Campus Box C290
Aurora, CO 80045

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