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Fifteen young MU researchers receive PhD talent award

A better understanding of Alzheimer's disease, testing the effects of substances on male fertility and investigating markers for the early detection of prostate cancer are among the areas of research for which doctoral students at the New Town Hall in Brno have been awarded scholarships to further their scientific work.

The prize was awarded to 25 young scientists from MU, BUT and Mendel University.

Twenty-five young researchers from Brno universities received the cheque for 330,000 Czech crowns for three years of their doctoral studies as part of the Brno Ph.D. Talent competition. Since 2009, 275 young PhD students have received the award, and this year 15 more from Masaryk University, 9 from the Brno University of Technology and one from Mendel University were added.

In the 13th year of the competition, projects submitted by postgraduate students of natural, medical and technical sciences were evaluated by top experts from the Czech Republic and abroad. The City of Brno supports promising doctoral students from its own budget, and this year will provide CZK 8.25 million in scholarships. “For a long time, Brno has presented itself as a city of science, research and innovation. The Ph.D. Talent programme is an important part of the city’s development strategy and has helped a number of young researchers at the beginning of their careers. I am pleased to see that this money has been well spent,” said Brno Mayor Markéta Vaňková at the award ceremony on Tuesday.

Interest in the scholarship programme is high among young researchers in Brno. “Out of 150 applications, we are finding it increasingly difficult to select the 25 finalists who will receive the award. The competition demonstrates the growing quality of science and research in Brno. I hope that all the recipients will continue enjoying science, which is very important for their future success,” said Miloš Šifalda, Director of the South Moravian Centre for International Mobility (JCMM), which organises the scholarship competition.

Jan Křetínský, who won in the very first year of the competition in 2009, saw winning the scholarship as a sign of recognition for his research and an opportunity to start his career. “The most important thing we can give students is the time and opportunity to concentrate on their research. They need to avoid unhelpful distractions, travel and develop their skills in the context of international competition. Try to always be one step ahead of the rest and do everything with passion and personal commitment,” said Jan Křetínský, who has many years of experience in Germany and Austria and has been working at the Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University.

Masaryk University was represented at the award ceremony by students from four faculties and research institutes. The Faculty of Science had the largest share with 12 talented young researchers. One of its doctoral students, Eliška Řehůřková, continues her research into cellular models that can be used to test the effects of various substances on male reproduction. “I am happy to have succeeded in such a big competition. Thanks to the scholarship, I have the opportunity to devote all my energy to research and also to personal development, including various soft skills and interdisciplinary contexts. The university supports us in this,” said Řehůřková, who is also involved in the RECETOX Centre’s Cell and Tissue Toxicology research group.

Kateřina Hrůzová succeeded with her chemical research.

Doctoral student Kateřina Hrůzová sees Brno as “the place where there are important research institutions and universities offering development in the field of natural sciences with a lively scientific community”. Her chemical research focuses on identifying proteins responsible for various diseases.

Anna Řechtáčková is the only scholarship recipient representing the Faculty of Informatics in the competition. Her project aims to detect important code quality problems in novice programmers and develop reliable automatic detectors that can be used directly in programming lessons.

Among the awarded PhD students was Thomas Fellmeth from CEITEC.

Thomas Fellmeth from the Faculty of Science, who works at the CEITEC Research Centre, research centre, is another winner. His current project aims to shed light on Alzheimer’s disease. “I like the fact that my research contributes to the understanding of this neurogenerative disease and thus provides the basis for the development of new treatments,” he explained.

Recipients of the Brno Ph.D. Talent 2023 scholarship from Masaryk University and the names of their awarded projects: 

Hana Faldynová – MU Faculty of Science
Study and prediction of protein solubility in biomedical and biotechnological research

Thomas Fellmeth – MU Faculty of Science, CEITEC MU
Computational simulations of the conformational changes within Tau protein and its fibrilization

Kateřina Hrůzová – MU Faculty of Science
Data-Driven Insights: Deep Learning Revolutionises Separation in Proteomics

Ema Huščavová – MU Faculty of Medicine
Cellular and Spheroid Mechanical Characterisation by Modification of Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy

Péter Kacz – MU Faculty of Science, CEITEC MU
On the role of long non-coding RNA in BCR signalling regulation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Jana Kružlicová – MU Faculty of Science
Evolutionary consequences of newly formed sex chromosomes in dioecious plants

Lucie Nepovímová – MU Faculty of Science, CEITEC MU
Enterovirus Replication In Situ

Siarhei Paliavoi – MU Faculty of Science
The effect of homologous recombination on transcription

Daniel Pluskal – MU Faculty of Science
Paving the way towards sustainable, colour-tuneable and autonomous bioluminescent systems

Eliška Řehůřková – MU Faculty of Science
Advancing Male Reproductive Toxicology with Innovative In Vitro Models of Testicular Steroidogenesis

Anna Řechtáčková – MU Faculty of Informatics
Developing Automatic Methods for Teaching Code Quality in Introductory Programming

Dorota Sklenárová – MU Faculty of Science
Photon-upconversion nanoparticles for high-performance immunochemical assays

Tereza Šošolíková – MU Faculty of Science
AGR2 in Cancer: Target for Overcoming Resistance

Haneen Tuaima – MU Faculty of Medicine
Heterogeneity of stem cell niche in tooth development and regeneration

David Zimčík – MU Faculty of Science
SATB2 as a Key Molecule Driving Developmental, Pathological, and Regeneration Processes of teeth