Matija's research focus is in the cross-disciplinary field of heritage science, particularly development of new scientific tools and methods to study heritage materials and collections, and their interactions with the environment. Among the pioneering contributions are the development of the concepts of collections demography, of degradomics, use of Near Infrared Spectrometry with chemometric data analysis in heritage science, use of chemiluminometry for studies of degradation of organic heritage materials, and studies of volatile degradation products in heritage collections, including the smell of heritage. His current research interests include development and use of damage functions and integrated modelling of heritage collections. Matija is also interested in the field of heritage science itself, and has been involved in a research project examining the attitudes of heritage scientists to collaborative research.
Matija is Deputy Director of UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Course Director for the MRes Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology at the Institute, and Deputy Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology.
He was awarded PhD in chemistry at the University of Ljubljana and joined the Institute in 2007. In the last 17 years, he has been involved in more than 30 research and networking projects, mostly as a senior scientist, research manager, co-investigator or principal investigator, attracting ~£20M funding predominantly for heritage science.
Matija's research is frequently featured in the media. Recent research into the smell of old paper and the use of volatiles as markers for degradation attracted considerable media interest, including The New York Times, The Times, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, BBC, Le Temps Suisse, Scientific American, CBC Radio, Daily Planet, Discovery Channel, and more than 50 other national and international media. It was also featured in the major scientific journal Science. Watch Matija's UCL Lunch Hour Lecture on tour @the British Museum on the topic of old book smell.