“The products of your work are exceptional and they significantly contribute to the success of the Czech Republic,” said Minister for Science, Research and Innovations Helena Langšádlová and the ceremony. Launched in 2009, the Brno Ph.D. Talent aims to support young scientists in Brno. There have been 250 so far, with 25 new additions (18 from Masaryk University and 7 from the Brno University of Technology). The recipients will receive CZK 330,000 for the three-year doctoral studies. The programme is financed from the budget of the City of Brno; the competition itself is monitored by the South Moravian Centre for International Mobility (JCMM). “You are a special island,” Langšádlová added. The amount paid this year is CZK 8.25 million. “It shows that the City of Brno aims to build the status of a city which sees its future in the development and application of state-of-the-art technologies in the field of life sciences and technical fields,” says Member of the Assembly of the City of Brno Anna Putnová, former Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management of Brno University of Technology who filled in for the Mayor of the City of Brno Markéta Vaňková. Attending the ceremony were also Rector of Masaryk University Martin Bareš, and his counterparts from the Brno University of Technology and Mendel University Ladislav Janíček and Jan Mareš respectively.
“It was an opportunity to focus solely on science,” said Martin Toul, one of the 2018 PhD. talents of his experience. He is currently looking for a doctoral position at a European university. His research focused on the use of staphylokinase in cardiovascular medicine has followers in this year’s talents from the Faculty of Science – Linda Kašiarová and Alan Strunga. “I wish for them not to see science as a job only; to experiment without fear and to have a motivating environment,” Toul said.
“We always have to make sure to balance the responsibilities of an employee of the university with those of a scientist and student. Time management is important, and there is, honestly, little time for any part-time work. And even if it were, there is not much energy left, as I want to devote it to research,” says Barbora Hrnčířová from the Faculty of Science, who received financial support for her research project concerning the utilisation of plant biomass – lignocellulose. “Thanks to this support I am not forced to look for other sources of income. And it is even about seemingly tiny details, like being able to go to a restaurant after a week of challenging experiments when I do not have time to cook; but not daily of course,” the student added.
According to her Brno is a “student city with excellent conditions for life sciences”. And other doctoral students had similar things to say. “I would say Brno can offer very good scientific facilities for comparable research, in terms of quality, with international reach,” says Petr Nejedlý from the Faculty of Medicine. His project deals with utilizing artificial intelligence for EEG analysis and epileptic seizure forecasting. “Science is the most fascinating profession,” adds Anna Sobotková z Faculty of Science who, in her project, studies the potential therapeutic use of bacteriophages as possible alternatives to antibiotic therapies. In fact, the Faculty of Science is where most recipients come from, with 13 in total. Four are from the Faculty of Medicine and one, Lucia Hradecká, from the Faculty of Informatics. Hradecká received her stipend for her project on automatic data processing in biomedical research. There were a total of almost 150 applicants in total. “It is hard to define talent and to recognise one’s own. We were evaluated by a panel of 25,” Hrnčířová added.
Ph.D. talent 2023 from Masaryk University
Thomas Contini (Faculty of Science)
Deciphering the human prenatal chemical exposome using high-resolution mass spectrometry.
Anna Dorotíková (Faculty of Medicine)
The project deals with the study of the interactions of cellular metabolism with melanoma growth patterns which could lead to the identification of new therapy goals.
Lucia Hradecká (Faculty of Informatics)
Data Automatic data processing in biomedical research – the author works on the development of a reliable and robust method for the efficient segmentation of collectively developing cells in large-scale bioimage data.
Barbora Hrnčířová (Faculty of Science)
Degradation and utilisation of plant biomass – lignocellulosis; using the approach from the area of genetic engineering and synthetic biology she modifies the bacterium Pseudomonas putida so that it can break the material into monomeric sugars.
Soňa Kadáková (Faculty of Medicine)
The project aims to discover the mechanisms leading to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease using a human pluripotent stem cell-based model.
Linda Kašiarová (Faculty of Science)
The project is aimed at the engineering of staphylokinase, which should pave the path to the acquisition of a new generation of highly effective and selective and less toxic thrombolytic agents in cardiovascular medicine.
Klára Klinkovská (Faculty of Science)
The main goal of the project is to find out how plant communities in the Czech Republic have changed throughout recent decades and to determine the causes of the changes; the assessment of the long-term trends would aim to contribute to the effective protection of the environment.
Pavel Kohout (Faculty of Science)
Machine learning without a teacher allows for the use of large volumes of non-annotated biological data. Models based on latent spaces allow for the mapping of input proteins and determine their meaningful representation. This information can be used for rational protein design, by proposing new protein sequences or identifying important mutation residues.
Petra Kulíšková (Faculty of Medicine)
The aim of the project is the definition of properties of uPAR splicing isoforms and their representation in the immune cells of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and bronchial asthma. The project's outcomes could contribute to a better understanding of the issue and improvement of patient therapy.
Alice Laníková (Faculty of Science)
The aim of the project is to describe the dynamics of the MAP2c protein using advanced nuclear magnetic resonance methods. The information so acquired on the dynamics of MAP2c could contribute to a better understanding of its biological role.
Jan Mičan (Faculty of Science)
Computational design of the next generation of thrombolytic.
Kryštof Mrózek (Faculty of Science)
The project evaluates the possibilities for a new plasma source for supporting an air-breathing propulsion system which would allow for the operation of very-low-orbit satellites.
Petr Nejedlý (Faculty of Medicine)
The project deals with utilizing artificial intelligence for EEG analysis and epileptic seizure forecasting. The final goal of the project is the creation of a method which would facilitate the diagnosis of drug therapy-resistant epilepsy.
Klára Plačková (Faculty of Science)
Holocentric chromosomes are less common than monocentric ones, but they pose several evolutionary consequences for organisms, especially with regard to the tolerance for chromosomal aberrations. Using molecular and microscopy techniques combined with databases on the sizes of genomes, distribution and ecology of monocentric and holocentric forms the author shall explain the meaning of their existence.
Anna Sobotková (Faculty of Science)
Phage therapy is an alternative to antibiotic treatment thanks to the use of natural viruses (bacteriophages). The project is focused on the characterisation of phage infection. Its purpose is to prepare a genetically modified phage for the monitoring of infection using fluorescent microscopy and the use of cryogenic electron microscopy for the structural study of the phage.
Alan Strunga (Faculty of Science)
The protein staphylokinase could become a cost-effective pharmaceutical of the future for strokes. The aim of the project is to find out how the protein works and to look for recombinant variants which would be effective and safe to use in medicine.
Ján Šmeringai (Faculty of Science)
The project focuses on the biosynthetic paths leading to the formation of plant proteins that promote the regeneration of plant shoots from protoplasts in vitro conditions.
František Zelenák (Faculty of Science)
The project deals with graphene with the purpose of offering innovation in its production and functionalisation for the sake of use in industry, especially in green technologies, such as solar panels or batteries.