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Pavel Plevka selected as new director of CEITEC

Pavel Plevka believes in the importance of sharing best practices among researchers and building cohesion in the scientific community. He is also positive about the use of artificial intelligence.

Structural biologist Pavel Plevka intends to focus on the development of the Centre in line with current trends

Pavel Plevka was appointed head of the Central European Institute of Technology CEITEC last July after the former director Jiří Nantl became Deputy Minister of Education. Going forward, structural biologist Pavel Plevka intends to focus on the development of the Centre in line with current trends to make CEITEC MU a popular choice for scientific talent and an attractive employer.

“Excellent research must follow new trends, not only in laboratory work, but also in the search for scientific talent, in the way science is communicated to professionals and the general public, and in the way a modern institution like CEITEC faces today’s challenges,” said the new director.

CEITEC MU is part of the CEITEC consortium and provides excellent conditions for researchers from all over the world in the field of life sciences with a focus on structural biology, plant biology, molecular medicine and neurosciences.

Over the past few months, Pavel Plevka has focused on strengthening collaboration within the scientific community, streamlining institutional support processes and reviewing administrative services. He will continue to build on this foundation over the next five years. His key priorities include strengthening the cohesion of the scientific community, sharing best practices among researchers, developing the management skills of the Institute's administrative staff and transferring soft skills. Plevka’s strategic vision also includes the development of techniques for correlation analysis of samples using OMICS approaches in combination with light and electron microscopy and the use of artificial intelligence tools that can bring new perspectives to researchers.

“I believe that the introduction of correlative technologies and the support of scientists in their use will open up new opportunities to perform unique experiments and overcome the limitations of existing procedures and commonly available tools,” said Pavel Plevka.

The selection committee unanimously agreed that Pavel Plevka was a suitable candidate and recommended him to MU Rector Martin Bareš for approval. “Pavel Plevka is one of the most respected scientists in the Czech Republic, who has already demonstrated his management skills in his role as interim director. These skills, combined with his international experience, make him uniquely qualified to lead CEITEC MU as a modern 21st-century research institution. During his term of office, he can rely not only on the existing cooperation with relevant departments of Masaryk University but also on good relations with international and Czech partners,” said Rector Martin Bareš.

Doc. Mgr. Pavel Plevka, Ph.D., (*1979) studied Molecular Biology and Virology at the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague (2002), and completed his Ph.D. in Structural Biology at Uppsala University in Sweden in 2009. For the next four years, he worked with Michael Rossmann at Purdue University in the USA. Since July 2013, he has been leading a research group focused on structural virology at CEITEC MU in Brno. He has received ERC and EMBO grants. He has also been awarded the Neuron Prize for Promising Scientists and the 2020 Werner von Siemens Prize for the most significant result in basic research.

Pavel Plevka is also very active in popularising science as scientific papers published by his group have been the basis for more than 50 articles in Czech and international media, including an article on viruses in the international edition of National Geographic. In connection with the Covid-19 epidemic, he has given more than 100 interviews to media outlets such as Czech Television, Czech Radio and the New York Times.

The choice of Pavel Plevka as director and his strategy therefore suggest that, over the next five years, CEITEC MU will continue to develop in accordance with the principle of open science, which will ensure the continued growth and reputation of institutions of this format among professionals and the general public, both nationally and internationally.