News archive

IBP career day: Per Aspera Ad Astra 2023

26. 9. 2023

Young researchers of the Institute of Biophysics (IBP) of the Czech Academy of Sciences are inviting students and postdocs to IBP career day: Per Aspera Ad Astra focused on future career possibilities in the academic and industrial spheres. During the event, four outstanding scientists will share stories of their scientific journeys and will lead popular round table discussions on various topics.

& Location: 09.11.2023, Lecture Hall at the Institute of Biophysics

Confirmed speakers:

Kateřina Rohlenová is a junior group leader at the Institute of Biotechnology, CAS, in BIOCEV in Prague. After her Ph.D. at the same institute, where she characterized a novel anti-cancer drug that later underwent a phase I clinical trial, she moved to VIB in Leuven, Belgium, to study the metabolism of endothelial cells. In 2020, she returned to the Czech Republic to establish a Cellular Metabolism group. With a team of 12 researchers (7 nationalities), she studies intercellular metabolic communication in tumors. Her research is funded by an ERC Starting grant and EMBO Installation grant, among others.

Frank Schestag is commercial director at Europe Proteintech Group & General Manager of Proteintech GmbH Germany and ChromoTek GmbH. Before coming to Proteintech, Dr. Schestag received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel. Afterward, he began his career at Fermentas, a manufacturer of molecular biology products. In large part due to Dr. Schestag’s stewardship, Fermentas accelerated in growth and was acquired by Thermo Fisher, where he transitioned to General Manager and Site Leader.

Pavla Hubálková is a science journalist at Charles University. She also writes about science for various online and print media. She originally thought she would become a scientist. She studied clinical biochemistry at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague and completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University. During her Fulbright internship at Northwestern University in Chicago, however, she discovered that she wanted to work in science communication.

Aleš Pečinka is a group leader at the Centre of Plant Structural and Functional Genomics of the Institute of Experimental Botany, CAS, in Olomouc. He studies the role of chromatin in epigenetic regulation and maintenance of genome stability in plants. After his Ph.D. studies at the Leibnitz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (DE), he went for a post-doc at the Gregor Mendel Institute of Plant Molecular Biology in Vienna (AT). Then he established his own research direction as a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne (DE). Proud father of two, an enthusiastic badminton player, and a gardener.


12:30-13:00          registration

13:00-13:10          introduction by Hana Polasek-Sedlackova on behalf of the organization team

13:10-13:40          Navigating the Unknown: My Journey to Becoming a Group Leader by Kateřina Rohlenová,
                                    group leader at the Institute of Biotechnology, Czech Academy of Sciences, 
                                    chair: Anoop Kumar Yadav

13:40-14:10          Guidelines to be successful in your first interviews by Frank Schestag,
                                    commercial director at Europe Proteintech Group & general manager of Proteintech

                                    GmbH Germany and ChromoTek, 
                                    chair: Soňa Legartová

14:10-14:30          coffee break

14:30-15:00          Science and the media: a win-win relationship by Pavla Hubálková,
                                    science journalist at Charles University,
                                    chair: Tomáš Perečko

15:00-15:30          How to enjoy a career in science: A critical mid-term review by Aleš Pečinka,
                                    group leader at the Institute of Experimental Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, 

                                    chair: Pavla Novotná

15:30-15:45          coffee break

15:45-16:45          round table discussions

 from 16:45           networking with beer and pizza

Round table discussions topics:


Registration is free of charge. By registering you, are helping us to better estimate the number of people that will attend and the food & drinks needed. Thank you for your registration!

Registration deadline: 2nd November 2023

Registration form can be found here.

Vojta Hudzieczek one of the panelists at the 49th edition of Země živitelka

28. 8. 2023

The topic of the debate "New genomic breeding techniques: the path to sustainable food production?" Participants in the panel discussion included, among others, Minister of Agriculture Marek Výborný (KDU-ČSL) and MEP Michaela Šojdrová (KDU-ČSL, EPP). There was a consensus among the participants that new genomic techniques have the full support of the scientific community, farmers, breeders, the Ministry of Agriculture and the majority of the factions in the European Parliament are also in favour.

A team of scientists from the Institute of Biophysics of the CAS, led by Roman Hobza, also participated in the prestigious research project, which will contribute to the creation of a new generation of crops.

15. 8. 2023

An important project of the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and its partners, supported by the Jan Amos Komenský Operational Programme (OP JAK) in the Top-class research call, should help to breed new, resistant crops with higher yields. The Institute of Experimental Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, together with the Institute of Biophysics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and three Czech universities, will intensively pursue research aimed at obtaining the knowledge necessary for breeding new generation crops adapted to climate change and suitable for sustainable agriculture.

74 projects participated in this year's OP JAK call. The project New Knowledge for New Generation Crops of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic took the fifth place and was even the highest ranked project in the agricultural sciences section. According to Jan Martinec, Director of the Institute of the CAS, this is a great success. "The project, which addresses the urgent need for new crops adapted to climate change, involves eight top scientific teams not only from our institute, but also from the Biophysical Institute of the CAS, Charles University, Masaryk University and Palacký University. I consider it significant that these research groups will be able to work closely with each other, which will undoubtedly yield unique results and ultimately enable progress in breeding," said Jan Martinec. According to Roman Hobza, head of the research group from the Institute of Biophysics of the CAS, which will work on genome modification issues in the project, it is beneficial to be part of an interdisciplinary team. "We believe that thanks to cooperation with other partners we will be able to use new biotechnological methods so that they can serve modern agriculture as soon as possible. In particular, this will involve the editing of hereditary information, which is the basis for new breeding techniques. Without targeted modification of hereditary information, it will be almost impossible to breed crops with characteristics that current varieties lack," added Roman Hobza.

A growth chamber that scientists use to grow plants under strictly controlled conditions. For example, they can vary the length and intensity of the light and the daily temperature.

The research consortium will receive CZK 435 million for the five-year project, which starts in October. As the principal investigator, plant geneticist Jaroslav Doležel from the Institute of Plant Genetics of the CAS, pointed out, scientists and breeders are in a race against time to breed resistant plants. "Ensuring sufficient food for the world's population in a sustainable way in times of climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We are already experiencing extreme weather fluctuations. The negative impact on plants will gradually increase, threatening global food production. It is commendable that the European Union is trying to be progressive and strive to reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment. However, according to the non-profit association Euroseeds, the measures of the European Green Deal could cause a reduction in crop production of up to 23%. The deal foresees a 50 per cent reduction in the use of chemicals and a 20 per cent reduction in fertiliser use. These demands must be met quickly by breeding a new generation of crops. I believe that our project will contribute significantly to this," explained the Olomouc scientist and project leader.

Collection of immature seeds from flowering barley plants

According to him, the consortium will research plants that are of special importance to the Czech Republic and for which extensive genomic resources are available, such as barley (Hordeum vulgare), oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and peas (Pisum sativum), which can fix nitrogen in the soil and are a source of protein. "In addition, we will research plants that are suitable for studying specific processes important for breeding, such as genomic conflicts, mode of reproduction and stress tolerance, and interactions with pathogenic soil fungi. We will also use the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in our research as needed," added Jaroslav Doležel.

DNA sequencers are a basic tool for analysing hereditary information. The ÚEB research team uses, among others, the Illumina NovaSeq 6000 sequencer, which reads up to six thousand billion letters of the hereditary code within 48 hours.

The Jan Amos Komenský Operational Programme has allocated a total of CZK 8 billion to support cutting-edge research projects. The aim was to support excellent research teams, which will increase the involvement of Czech research organisations in international cooperation networks and in the long term will also contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the Czech Republic.

G-quadruplexes in the evolution of hepatitis B virus

4. 7. 2023

The prestigious journal Nucleic Acids Research is again publishing the results of IBP scientists.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the most dangerous human pathogenic viruses found in all corners of the world. Recent sequencing of ancient HBV viruses has revealed that these viruses have been with mankind for several millennia. What has been discovered by examining the sequences that make up the G-quadruplexes (PQS) in modern and ancient HBV genomes that are considered potential therapeutic targets in virology?

This was the focus of an article in the prestigious NAR journal NAR Nucleic Acids Research. The authors are members of the IBP from the team of Václav Brázda in collaboration with Jean-Louis Mergny. Congratulations!!!

"Banning DNA editing of plants is evolutionary suicide" says RNDr. Roman Hobza, Ph.D. for Hospodářské noviny

29. 6. 2023

How to talk about genetic modification of plants so that people are not afraid of the term? One of the topics of Hospodářské noviny for molecular biologist and geneticist from the Institute of Biophysics of the CAS Roman Hobza, Ph.D.