Tamara Lah Turnšek is a member of ICANNA Institute. In the period from 1995 to 2018, she was the Director of the National Institute of Biology (NIB), where she continues to carry out her research as Programme Leader at the Department of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Biology, which she established. She is also a consultant to the NIB Director. She started her research career at the Jožef Stefan Institute and soon focused on biomedicine and its application in the clinic. She became interested in this field already during her specialization in clinical biochemistry at the Paediatric Clinic in Ljubljana, and later, when she worked closely with the Clinic of Stomatology, the Institute of Oncology and the Clinic of Neurosurgery University Medical Clinics in Ljubljana. In the meantime, she was a post-doctor and later an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology at the Wayne State University, Medical School in Detroit and a visiting Professor and Head of Metastasis Research Department at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, dedicating her entire research to cancer. She is professionally interested in the biology of tumours, and has recently been focusing in stem cells in cancer. The latter could be implemented in clinic, especially in the development and targeting of tumor biomarkers. On this issue she cooperated with pharmaceutical firms in Europe and the USA. She is a member of several international associations and lectures at congresses in different countries, along with her colleagues she has also organized several international meetings for example, a series of Conferences on Experimental and Translational Oncology – CETO since 2004. Due to the topicality of its field, her research program group collaborates with several international research in Europe and beyond.
Tamara Lah Turnšek has until recently acted as the President of the Science and Technology Council, which is the expert consulting body of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Her experiences as a member of the EU Helsinki Group for Women in Science also focused on the initiative to set up “National Committee for Promoting Equal Opportunities for Women in Science", which she chaired for several years. She is a full Professor at the Biotechnical Faculty and Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, was member of the Advisory Body at the SAZU on ethics in science, and was in the period 2014-2019 chairing the Committee for National Prize for Science Awards, entitled Zois and Puh's Awards. Since 2016 she is also the member of Academy of Engineering of Slovenia (IAS).
Tamara Lah Turnšek is currently also investigating the effectiveness of cannabinoids preparations for treatment of cancer, developing a platform for the individualized treatment of glioblastomas with natural substances, including hemp. She is emphasizing that various obstacles to research in this field need to be eliminated and would encourage all incentives to carry out pre-clinical and clinical research on medical cannabis. She is supporting the initiatives for regulation of the access to cannabis, i.e. its preparations for medical purposes. In this context, she stresses the importance of educating doctors, professionals, students and of course the public on recent scientific endeavours in the field.
Tamara Lah Turnšek graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology of the University of Ljubljana, followed by obtaining her master's degree and PhD in biochemistry from the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the University of Ljubljana.