Faculty of Science of University of South Bohemia hosted the 4th European Student Conference on Behaviour & Cognition on 7th and 8th September 2017.
The conference programme offered two great keynote speakers and renowned scientists: Dr. Kate Arnold from University of St. Andrews with her keynote talk The search for language in wild West African primates: going against the grain and prof. Thomas Bugnyar from University of Vienna with keynote speach Raven Politics - Understanding and Use of Social Relations.
The main aim of this conference was bring together students from all across the Europe and enable them to present and discuss their research in the field of animal and human behaviour and cognition in friendly and informal atmosphere. The tight conference schedule offered also several trips and excursions like guided tour to laboratory of subterranean rodents of Department of zoology, guided tour to Budweiser Budvar brewery or to zoological garden Ohrada. Registration for the conference was free and the conference was organized with the support of sponsors: Faculty of Science, The Royal Society Publishing, University of South Bohemia and Recall.
Altogether, 45 msc and phd students from 11 different countries and 25 institutions attended the conference. Bawan Amin from Leiden University received an award for the best talk. The prize for best poster went to Christin Osadnik from University of Duisburg-Essen. University of South Bohemia was represented by students of Department of zoology: Pavla Dudová, Tereza Drábková and Martina Karásková.
5th European Student Conference on Behaviour & Cognition will be held in Vienna in September 2018.
Website of the conference: https://escbc2017.wordpress.com/
Scientists from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences have published the results of extensive research in the field of public health. Their aim was to map the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in Prague public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team from the Laboratory of Functional Biointerfaces, led by Hana Lísalová, developed special biosensors for testing. Their use has provided new insights into the fight against infectious diseases. The research, which has recently been published inJournal of Travel Medicine, was implemented in collaboration with the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Taiwanese Academia Sinica, ELI ERIC and Prague Public Transit Company.
The study confirmed the potential of biosensors as a tool for virus detection in public environments. Specifically, it focused on virus detection in hundreds of diverse complex samples prepared from swabs of surfaces in public transport. The research builds on the team's previous work published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, which provided a novel biosensor design and demonstrated its effectiveness in detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus in clinical samples from patients with COVID-19. Now the team has extended their method to significantly more diverse swab samples from surfaces of exposed sites in public spaces.
Hana Lísalová, head of the research team, said: "We are excited about the results of our research and believe that our findings can have a significant impact on public health. Biosensors are proving to be a promising tool for monitoring the presence of viruses and infectious risks in public spaces, allowing for the rapid and effective setting of adequate measures to reduce the possibility of disease spread."
"I greatly appreciate the courage of Hana Lísalová and her team to break into the public health field and embark on research into the ways SARS-CoV-2 virus can be spread even in such a turbulent and uncertain time as the COVID-19 pandemic. All the logistics of sample collection were made possible by the collaboration of the entire interdisciplinary team of the Division of Optics, including the involvement of our students," said Alexandr Dejneka, head of the Division of Optics of the Institute of Physics.
The biosensor system is highly adaptable and can be used to detect a wide range of viruses. The result could not have been achieved without collaboration with the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice.
"While testing the samples collected in public transport, several were positive for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Subsequently, we were interested in whether this was an infectious virus or already inactivated viral particles. We verified the infectivity of the virus by culture experiments in our BSL3 laboratory. A laboratory with this classification has to meet very strict biosafety criteria, so that even these high-risk pathogens can be studied there," said Václav Hönig from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
"Our research team is interested in the development of universal biosensors that are able to detect a wide range of pathogens, so we were pleased to be involved in the collaboration with Dr. Lísalová and her research team using this uniquely designed biosensor. The COVID-19 pandemic enabled the collection of a large number of samples that were used not only to test the sensitivity and specificity of the biosensors, but also to analyse the importance of the much-discussed transmission of infection through surfaces in everyday life. Dr. Lísalová's biosensor confirmed its versatility, and we believe that it has the potential to be used for the detection of other pathogens and thus contribute to the protection of human health worldwide," summarises Ján Štěrba from the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice.
The study also focused on the comparison of the results of SARS-CoV-2 detection using the biosensor and the standard PCR method. The results showed that the combination of two sensitive and reliable methods based on different detection principles can monitor the risk of the virus spread in public spaces much more accurately than using only one method. The results of the study have the potential to revolutionise the way we monitor and detect viruses in public spaces and demonstrate the potential of biosensors as a complementary screening tool in epidemic monitoring and forecasting. They could pave the way for further breakthroughs in public health.
The research by the team from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences not only provides revolutionary findings in the field of biosensors, but also underlines the importance of collaboration between research institutions and universities. The published work is proof that this collaboration allows to cross the boundaries of individual disciplines.
On the first day of spring, an unofficial handover of the dean's office took place at the Faculty of Science, accompanied by Šuspa's cacophonic ensemble.
Dean Prof. František Vácha gave a symbolic scepter to his colleague Prof. Hana Šantrůčková. The official appointment will take place on April 1, 2019.
You can have a look on photos from the whole evening.
On Friday, September 27, a science-popularizing event called Night of Scientists has taken place on the University of South Bohemia
On that day, not only in the Czech Republic, but through the Europe, the gates of universities and scientific institutions were open to give the public an idea of the work of their employees.
This year's theme of the event was the "Gentle approach to our planet" and visitors of the Faculty of Science of South Bohemia could see an interesting program connected to this topic.
Academics presented examples of their research. Visitors could try a ride with robots, watch an educational film about the Josef Svoboda station in Svalbard, where students of the Faculty of Science have the opportunity to travel as part of a polar ecology course.
We are looking forward to the next year.
Every three years, the Czech Society of Experimental Plant Biology and Plant Physiology section of the Slovak Botanical Society jointly organize meetings, which are hosted by alternating Czech and Slovak university cities.
The last conference (titled Plant Biology CS, 2019) took place in České Budějovice (at the joint campus of the University of South Bohemia and Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences) from 25th to 30th August 2019. The first two days were devoted to PhD student meeting, the rest of the time to regular conference.
The program, which was attended by more than 300 students and scientists from all around the world, was divided into twenty thematic sections dealing with a wide range of plant biology issues, such as reproduction, water management, nutrition and nutrient transport, photosynthesis, genetic manipulation, breeding or adaptation of plants to the environment (their adaptation to climate change) or defense against pathogens or pests.
From 20 to 23 November, Jaromír Beneš, head of the Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Palaeoecology at the Faculty of Science of the South Bohemian University, will give a series of lectures on the origins of agriculture and landscape transformation at the University of Rome La Sapienza. The series will take place within the framework of the International Master's Degree in Science and Technology for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. In addition to looking at the world's earliest origins of agriculture in the Near East, China, Mexico and Africa, the lectures focus on the key transformations of the landscapes in Europe from the Neolithic to the High Middle Ages.
Here we go! The first round of admissions to our newly accredited joint cross-border Master's degree program "Artificial Intelligence and Data Science" (MAID) is open as of today. As this is a very exclusive study program within the university and is taught only in English, we have decided on a non-traditional form of admission - in person and by motivational interview only. We want to not only get to know you personally but above all to know your motivation for wanting to study at MAID!
More information about the study program:
This week, an international team published an article that provides new insights into the nose of mammals and its relation to their warm-bloodedness.
Figure: Variations of the relative surface area and shape of the maxilloturbinal between mammalian species. Barplots represent the relative surface area of the maxilloturbinal in 310 species. Blue and red circles respectively represent the minimum and the maximum values from the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) and the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus).
The evolution of endothermy in vertebrates is a major research topic in recent decades that has been tackled by a myriad of research disciplines including paleontology, anatomy, physiology, evolutionary and developmental biology. The ability of most mammals to maintain a relatively constant and high body temperature is considered a key adaptation, enabling them to successfully colonize new habitats and harsh environments. It has been proposed that in mammals the anterior nasal cavity, which houses the maxilloturbinal, plays a pivotal role in body temperature maintenance, via a bony system supporting an epithelium involved in heat and moisture conservation. The presence and the relative size of the maxilloturbinal has been proposed to reflect the endothermic conditions and basal metabolic rate in extinct vertebrates.
However, prior to this study, such hypotheses were based on a limited dataset and lacked strong evidence. To properly test these hypotheses, the international team CT-scanned the heads of over 300 mammals from international museum collections.
Figure: 3D representations of the skull and the maxilloturbinal in several species of mammals.
FUN FACT: To include a human representative in their study, the first author used a CT-scan of his own head.
Figure: photos and 3D representations of the head, the skull and the maxilloturbinal of the first author of this study.
Using this technique, they were able to visualize the maxilloturbinal in 3D and quantify it. They demonstrate that neither corrected basal metabolic rate nor body temperature significantly correlate with the relative surface area of the maxilloturbinal.
Contrary to previous hypotheses, the researchers concluded that there is no evidence to support a relationship between the origin of endothermy and the development of the maxilloturbinal.
Instead, they identified important variations in the relative surface area, morpho-anatomy, and complexity of the maxilloturbinal across the mammalian phylogeny and species ecology.
The relative surface area of the maxilloturbinal varies unexpectedly from 6% to 610% of the predicted value. The naked mole-rat and the California sea lion represent the minimum and maximum values, respectively.
Figure: 3D representations of the skull and the maxilloturbinal of the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber; left) and the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus; right).
Reference:Martinez, Q., Okrouhlík , J., Šumbera, R., Wright, M., Araújo, R., Braude, S., Hildebrandt, T. B., Holtze, S., Ruf, I., Fabre, P. H. Mammalian maxilloturbinal evolution does not reflect thermal biology. Nature Communications 14, 4425 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-39994-1
At the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia, the 22nd annual multivariate analysis of ecological data took place last week with the participation of students and academics from Europe and the USA.
Theoretical lectures were interspaced with the participants' work on their own data analysis.
The course takes place in two consecutive weekly blocks, in which twenty scientists, for example from Norway, Estonia, Holland, Spain, Brazil, Canada or Iceland, will participate.
The intensive block of lectures and seminars is primarily about getting to know the latest developments in environmental data analysis and working with the Canoco 5 software. The workshop is organized by experts from the Department of Botany, lecturers of the lessons are Doc. Petr Šmilauer and Prof. Jan Lepš.
Faculty of Science on 10. - 11. 10. 2019 organized the first symposium New trends in biosciences.
The minisymposium was organized to acquaint participants with news in the field of structural biochemistry and biomedicine. Emphasis was placed on new and rapidly increasing techniques and the possibility of applying new knowledge into practice.
The symposium was preceded by the opening of the traveling exhibition “CRISTALES: a world to discover” opened by RNDr. Pavlína Řežáčová from IOChB and IMG AS CR in Prague and prof. Tomáš Polívka, Vice-Rector of the University of South Bohemia. The exhibition presents a collection of 14 posters depicting the world of crystals through the eyes of scientists and artists.
The symposium ended with a lecture by colleague Pawl Kania from NanoTemper Technologies (Poland), which organized a workshop the second day and allowed participants to measure their own samples using nanoDSF and MST technology. To the symposium was invited a number of outstanding speakers from abroad, namely dr. Oksana Degtjarik of the Weizman Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel), dr. Naoko Mizuno, dr. Dr. Christian Biertümpfel, dr. Iuliia Iermak and Matthias Pöge, all from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (Martinsried, Germany), dr. Iosifina Sarrou of DESY Hamburg (Germany), dr. Imrich Barák and dr. Ľubica Urbániková from the Institute of Molecular Biology, SAS (Bratislava, Slovakia) and also Czech colleagues doc. Radka Chaloupková from MU Brno, dr. Pavlína Řežáčová from IOChB and IMG AS CR Prague, dr. Vít Straňák and dr. Roman Tůma from the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice.
On Friday, December 7, 2018, PERSPECTIVES OF CZECH SCIENCE 2018 was held in České Budějovice, organized by the Biology Center of the ASCR in cooperation with the University of South Bohemia.
The subtitle of this event was "Coming to the Czech Republic to Excellent Research" and the conference was attended by Czech scientists, science managers, foreign workers working in Czech institutions, and foreign guests. Issues of research strategy in the Czech Republic were discussed.
Jan Kopecký, long-time teacher at the Faculty of Science, launched his book named “Czech Nature, Beauties and Remarkablenesses”. Although he focuses in his research on ticks and tick-borne diseases, his passion and lifelong love is the nature photography, especially animals and plants. His book shows pictures of rare and protected animals and plants accompanied with their description and author’s experience from taking the photographs.
František Weyda, long-time friend of Jan Kopecký and excellent photographer himself, who specializes in scientific and microscopy photograph, introduced the author. Afterwards, author presented a series of photographs from the book with a commentary.
In cooperation with NIDV - National Institute for Further Education we have prepared a course of Polytechnic Education - use of 3D print in teaching.
During the training program, educators were introduced to the possibilities of using 3D output devices. The content of the seminar was to use these outputs when working with interactive electronic robot robots (an active form of experiments), to improve the fine motoring and technical and critical thinking especially in the implementation of individual extensions of the standard robotic kit with its own 3D design elements.
First, the principles of 3D printing and the current possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of this technology were discussed. The students were then acquainted with the preparation and 3D model and its preparation for 3D printing. It was followed by a 3D print demonstration with a description of alternative preparation options and printing itself.
I am a chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and a head of one of its laboratories, faculty representative in the AS JU and currently a chair of the AS PřF.
I work in the soil group at the Dept of Ecosystem Biology and my interest is ecology of soil microorganisms I aim to contribute to understanding the role of soil microbiomes in ecosystem functioning
At our faculty the chemistry study program with the subsequent master's program is a minority. For this reason, I decided to candidate in order to represent my present and future classmates because in many cases we are completely forgotten.
After finishing the bachelor and master programmes right at the Faculty of Science USB, I decided to get involved into its affairs and organization and so to candidate to the Academic Senate.
I am a 3rd year BMLT student and I work as a laboratoy manager in the Laboratoy of Chromosomics. Next year I am going to continue my studies at FSC in one of biological master's degree programme.
Since September 2022, I lead the Department of Parasitology. I do my research also in the Lab. of Molecular Ecology and Evolution (Biol. Centre CAS), where I study the host-parasite relationships (mostly in parasites of vertebrates) and I use genetics to trace introduced parasite species.
Staff member of the Department of Ecosystem Biology. At the Faculty of Biology and later Faculty of Science, I studied a bachelor's degree in Biology, a master's degree in Ecosystem Biology and a Ph.D. degree in Hydrobiology.
I’m a member of algology lab at Department of Botany, where I deal with modern methods and approaches in didactics of biology, focusing on Cyanobacteria and Algae. And I’m of the opinion that even teacher trainees deserve to be represented in Faculty Senate.
I work at the Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, JU and within the systematic group I focus on research on biology, distribution, genome size and phylogeny of ferns and lycophytes. I am interested in nature conservation and I collaborate with nature conservation authorities in the Czech Republic.
In the years 2009–2015, I completed the Bc and Master study program in Applied Informatics at the Faculty of Science, since 2017 I have been working at the Department of Informatics (formerly the Institute of Applied Informatics) as an assistant and researcher
I've been studying at the Faculty of Science for a four years now. That's why I think it's time to try something new. I don´t promise any changes, but together with other colleagues I will try to make our faculty prosperous. Therefore, I will support your suggestions. I'm here for you! So go to the elections and vote wisely.
Until now, I have never run for the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Science; however, the confluence of several factors made me change this position. I believe that I have relatively rich experience in teaching and training students, in popularizing science and conservation topics, and in coordinating interest groups (I was the chairman of two groups within the Union of Czech and Slovak Zoos and in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria).
I am the head of the Laboratory of Molecular Interactions of Plants with Microorganisms at the Department of Experimental Plant Biology and I teach topics related to plant immunity and physiology.
I decided to run for the Academic Senate of PřF JU because I think that our faculty has a lot of untapped potential hidden beneath minor imperfections that could easily be fixed.
My main motivation for running as a senator is to contribute to the work for a faculty, to which I have developed a very positive relationship in my three (and a bit) years of study.
I graduated with a degree in Biology for Education and obtained Ph.D. in Zoology at our faculty. Now, I work at the Department of Zoology. My research interest is behavioural ecology of birds and I teach zoology of vertebrates, field courses for first year students, and interdisciplinary excursion.
I am currently studying the second year of the master's program in Experimental Biology - Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genetics. I work in the laboratory of microscopy and histology at the Institute of Entomology under the supervision of Mgr. Hany Sehadová, Ph.D. and prof. RNDr Ivo Šauman Ph.D
My name is Kateřina Jaklová and I am a student in the second year of the master's field of Experimental biology. Although I study molecular biology, I work at the Department of Chemistry in the Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry, and I would like to continue in the doctoral study program.
I'm trying to be an active member of the academic community who would like to be informed about important stuff happening at the faculty and have an opportunity to influence itsfuture development.
I am a third-year chemistry student, and I am going to continue in master studies at our faculty. I would like to participate in faculty events, interdisciplinary discussions, where I would represent the opinions of non-biological colleagues, from our students and teachers.
I am currently a 3rd year student in the biophysics doctoral program. I completed my previous studies at the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University of West Bohemia. I spend every working day at JU, which is why I decided to run for the academic senate.
I work at the Department of Chemistry, where I am involved mainly in chromatographic analyses, mostly in collaboration with other departments at the FS USB, but also at the BCAV or in the private sector.
I am a student in the third year of a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree programme and i’d love to continue my studies in a Master’s degree programme. I would also like to participate more on events at our faculty as well as things like organization, decision making etc. and the Academic senate is the way to do it!
In my studies, as well as in my free time, my main interests are
robotics, free software, and privacy in the context o f information
I am a candidate for the Employees – biological section of the academic senate. I have been an employee of FSci JU since 2011. I became head of the department of zoology in 2021.
Zoologist and evolutionary biologist from the Department of Zoology (graduate of Charles University, I have been at the faculty since the very beginning). In the distant past, I went through all senate functions, both at faculty and university levels. Currently I feel that a time of crisis is coming again, when the senate can be useful once more.
I am a graduate of FSci USB, currently working as a postdoc at the Department of Zoology. I study evolution of human behavior, teach evolutionary and anthropological courses, organize seminars, and manage the department's website.
The significance of this finding lies in the long-term effects that the gut microbiome has on its hosts. From reducing the likelihood of immune disease to parasite infections, the presence of an adequate gut microbial community early in life has a positive impact on host health.
But how can tiny great and blue tit hatchlings harbor complex bacterial communities in the first place? Senior author Katerina Sam, Czech Academy of Sciences and University of South Bohemia, said: "Previous studies have shown that birds hatch with nearly sterile guts, and in the case of tits, once they are in the nest, they are quickly colonized by bacteria until a well-established microbial community is present after 8-10 days. We wanted to explore how this colonization works, and the best way we could think of was by altering it."
The team, consisting of researchers from the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of Copenhagen, then began planning an experiment that would take place during the breeding season - usually between April and June in Central Europe - when Tit clutches hatch and the colonization process begins. There are two ways to alter a bacterial community: with antibiotics or with probiotics, and they decided to try both. In each experimental nest, the researchers administered antibiotics to two chicks and probiotics to two others for nearly two weeks, while the last two experimental chicks in each nest served as controls.
Disruptions in the process of colonizing the gut could affect nutrient absorption and thus limit growth. Each time the researchers applied a treatment, they weighed the chicks and took a microbiome sample by gently swabbing the chick's cloaca.
They found that the gut colonization was resilient enough to overcome such perturbations, and that the source of this bacterial input was primarily the bacterial community in the nest, followed by vertical transmission from females. The results have been recently published in the journal Molecular Ecology.
The researchers expected a general effect of antibiotics and probiotics on chicks from different nests, since antibiotics generally inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, while probiotics are expected to promote beneficial bacteria. However, this was not the case: "We were surprised in some ways that the treatments had no measurable effect on the growth and bacterial community of the chicks, since poultry have been treated with antibiotics for decades to improve growth and avoid certain pathogenic bacteria. So, we kept digging to find out how the gut microbiome might be resilient to such disruptions" said co-lead author Kasun H. Bodawatta, University of Copenhagen".
The microbial nest environment was found to be the main contributor to the chick gut microbiome, and researchers hypothesized a continuous colonization from the nest that impeded the treatments to be effective. In fact, the gut microbiome of siblings resembles each other to a greater degree than that of unrelated neighbors. "The similarity of gut and nest microbiome is important in that the microbial communities in the nest depend on the nest material selected by females, that is an indirect maternal influence on the gut microbiome of chicks," said co-lead author David Diez-Méndez, Czech Academy of Sciences.
However, there are some aspects that differ between great tits and blue tits. The research team found that neighboring great tits had more different gut microbiomes the farther away their nests were, whereas neighboring blue tits did not exhibit this distance relationship. Differences in habitat or prey quality may explain this pattern, since Great tits are usually dominant over Blue tit because of their size difference.
The current study tries to give explanations to differences between species, as well as the reasons for the more similar gut microbiomes between chicks and mothers as opposed to fathers, which appear to harbor a different microbial community. Sam stresses that more research is needed to truly understand the process of gut colonization in these hole-nesting species. "We know that the chick gut microbiome comes from the nest, from the mother, and to a lesser extent from the father, but those three sources explain at most half of it; we need to figure out the whole colonization process and the exact contribution of each source”.
Reference: Diez‐Méndez, D., Bodawatta, K. H., Freiberga, I., Klečková, I., Jønsson, K. A., Poulsen, M., & Sam, K. (2023). Indirect maternal effects via nest microbiome composition drive gut colonization in altricial chicks. Molecular Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16959