Doctoral Study Programs

Biochemistry (in Czech or in English)

Guarantor: prof. RNDr. Ivana kutá Smatanová CSc. Study in Czech or in English possible.

Contact: tel. 387 776 234; e-mail: kuta (at)

In the case of studying in English, a fee for studying at FSc USB in a foreign language is 500 CZK (or equivalent in EURO), as stated in the Provision of Dean No. 83.

PhD study programme Biochemistry prepares highly qualified scientists in the various fields of Biochemistry, representing a multidisciplinary science comprising Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. Bioinformatics is becoming an important part of biochemical studies recently. Postgraduates are the future heads of biochemical and biotechnological laboratories in research, development, industry, and supervision. They gain knowledge in functional and structural biochemistry and practical skills in various modern methodological and instrumental approaches used in studying the structure and function of living organisms and their components on the molecular level. The various research fields covered by the research groups participating in the programme provide a broad range of topics for students' individual development depending on their interests. Students learn various biochemical disciplines, methods in bioanalytical chemistry, biophysical studies of molecules and biocomplexes, molecular mechanisms of metabolic processes in solutions, biological membranes and living organisms. The various topics will be discussed in relation to recent scientific updates in natural sciences or biomedicine. The broad knowledge of various methods and instrumentation will prepare the graduates for independent sample preparation and processing of biological material.

Requirements: finished MSc studies in Biology, Chemistry or Biochemistry.

Possible theses topics:

Crystallization and protein crystallography to provide protein structure using X-Ray diffraction analysis. Detailed knowledge of protein structure is a prerequisite for understanding its function. Students perform all the steps from the preparation and isolation of the protein using molecular biological and biochemical techniques, through crystal preparation and X-Ray diffraction to structure determination and analysis.

Contact: prof. Ivana Kutá Smatanová (kuta (at)

Interaction modelling between biomolecules and complex biological systems. Students use computational methods for modelling biological systems, primarily modelling analysis of dynamic changes in these systems. Students study the relationship between proteins' structure and function using molecular modelling. Results of the theoretical approaches are verified and compared with experimental data.

Contact: dr. Michal Kutý (kuty (at)

Study of macrocomplex mechanisms and dynamics. Students will use biophysical and structural methods to study of the mechanisms of formation and function of big macrocomplex systems, such as antennae complexes of photosynthetic pigments the role of RNA in the replication of viruses and in the regulation of cellular processes, mechanisms of recombination in leukocytes and how is it can cause some types of leukaemia, mechanisms of chromatin rearrangement, and membrane complex function in bacteria.

Contact: dr. Roman Tůma (rtuma (at)

Another project will search for the relation between the experimental and computational studies on hexameric viral RNA helicase P4 from the Phi8 (Phi8P4) bacteriophage. High-resolution structures with ADP/ATP will be studied together with the analogous transitional states using X-Ray crystallography, mass spectrometry with hydrogen/deuterium exchange, single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD), ab initio MD, and QM/MM calculations.

Contact: dr. Zdeněk Franta (zfranta (at), dr. Filip Dyčka (fdycka (at), dr. Tomáš Fessl (fessl (at), dr. David Řeha (reha (at)

Molecular mechanisms in the infection by tick-borne pathogens.
Processes in cells of the mammalian host and the tick vector infected by tick-borne pathogens will be studied - tick-borne encephalitis virus and Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. Various methodological approaches will be used - molecular biological and biochemical techniques, mass spectrometry, next-generation sequencing (transcriptomics, genomics, epigenetics), fluorescence and electron microscopy. Protein structures will be analysed in collaboration with The Austro-Czech RERI-uasb NMR Center at JKU in Linzi (Libor Hejduk, MSc. and Prof. Norbert Müller carry out this part of the research for USB).

Contacts: Dr. Ján Štěrba (sterbaj (at), Dr. Martin Selinger (selinm01 (at), Prof. Norbert Müller (nmuller (at), Dr. Ryan Rego (rrego (at)

Electron microscopy (EM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Em will be used for the localization of the various components in the cellular ultrastructure and studies of the surface morphology of samples. 3D reconstruction of the studied objects will be used as well. Biological sample preparation techniques for electron and correlation microscopy are part of the studies as well. AFM allows detailed visualization of surfaces and analysis of elastic properties of living cells, biological membranes, proteins and their complexes, peptides, polynucleotide chains, organic polymers and molecules in both the liquid and gas phase. This type of microscopy is also used to measure forces between all the aforementioned objects down to the level of non-covalent bonds between the individual molecules.

Contact: ing. Jana Nebesářová (nebe (at), ing. Zdenko Gardian (zdenogardian (at), dr. David Kaftan (dkaftan (at)

Analysis of structure and function of pigments and pigment-protein complexes from photosynthetic organisms. The effectivity of photosynthetic processes in plants, algae, and bacteria depends on the interplay of proteins, pigments, and enzymes. Students analyze the photosynthetic apparatus from the level of pigments up to the photosynthetic membrane. The individual components, as well as whole photosynthetic membranes, are studied using biochemical, biophysical methods, and bioinformatisc

Contact: Dr. Radek Litvín (rlitvin (at)

Study of ultrafast processes in molecules and proteins using femtosecond laser spectroscopy. Students study the excited states of molecules, primarily photosynthetic pigments, and solve problems related to energy transfer and/or of the charge in synthetic and natural systems, e.g., in photosynthetic proteins.
Contact: prof. Tomáš Polívka (tpolivka (at)

Study of spectroscopic properties of molecules and proteins using single-molecule spectroscopy. This method, uniquely combining microscopy and laser spectroscopy, allows studies on the properties of individual protein complexes and, due to averaging over high numbers of molecules/proteins, reveals the specific details hidden from the standard methods.

Contact: prof. František Vácha (vacha (at)

Study the role of lipid metabolism and the gene Impl2 in the immune response in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular biological and biochemical methods will be used.

Contact: dr. Adam Bajgar (BajgarAdam (at)

Doctor of Natural Sciences RNDr. - Biochemistry (in Czech)

State rigorosum exam and thesis defence lead to a title of Doctor of Natural Sciences (rerum naturalium doctor) RNDr. in the field of Biochemistry (only in Czech, Biochemie). Contact: Prof. Ivanu Kutou Smatanovou (kuta (at)

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