Department of Medical Biology

The Department of Medical Biology is responsible for the Biomedicine Laboratory Techniques Bachelor’s programme and the Clinical Biology Master’s programme. Students of both programmes work on their diploma theses in physiology, clinical haematology, clinical biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology. Good collaboration exists between the Department of Medical Biology and the Regional Hospital.

Head of the Department: doctor Jindřich Chmelař

Research and education activities

The Department of Medical Biology is responsible for the Biomedical Laboratory Techniques Bachelor’s programme and the Clinical Biology Master’s programme. Students of both programmes work on their diploma theses in physiology, clinical haematology, clinical biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology. Very good collaboration exists between the Department of Medical Biology and the Regional Hospital in České Budějovice. In addition to Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, the department manages Ph.D. study programme Infection Biology.

The research done at the department focuses on several different topics, including immunology, microbiology, virology and cancer immunotherapy. The department is devoted to the study of immunomodulatory molecules, microorganisms and cells. Further attention is given to the diagnostics and management of illnesses and to the investigation of the mechanisms and pathogenesis of diseases. The pharmacological effects of proteins and low molecular compounds derived from natural sources form another important part of the department’s research focus. Areas of topics for diploma works and biomedical research include haematology, immunology, clinical biochemistry, clinical endocrinology, pharmacology, and other biomedical fields.

Tick-host-pathogen interactions

Immunological research is focused on the immunomodulatory compounds present in tick saliva and their effect on the transmission of important human pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi and the tick-borne encephalitis virus. The research is aimed towards the development of anti-tick vaccines reducing transmission of tick-borne pathogens. Immunomodulatory molecules from tick saliva are prepared in recombinant form and their effect on immunocompetent cells, including cell signalling pathways, is tested. As a research by-product, the anti-asthmatic effect of the tick saliva cystatin was discovered.

Attention is also devoted to the interaction of the tick-borne encephalitis virus with the host and the pathogenesis of the infection. Important data about the localisation of mutations resulting in a reduction of the pathogenicity of TBE virus were published. Also the role of cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of TBE was described and immunological processes involved in the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier during TBE infection were elucidated. Present research is also focused on the development of new antivirotics effective against TBE virus infection.

In addition to tick-borne infections, tick saliva is a rich source of immunomodulatory, anti-hemostatic and anti-inflammatory proteins. Our research also focuses on the identification and characterization of such molecules that could be used in the development of novel drugs. In order to succeed in our effort, we are focusing on the development of tighter collaboration with commercial partners.

Example of results

Tick salivary serpin inhibits inflammation via impaired Th17 differentiation

Salivary serpin IRS-2 was found to inhibit the differentiation of T cells into pro-inflammatory Th17 subset and thereby impair inflammatory response to ticks. The mechanism of inhibition was via blocking IL-6/STAT-3 signalling pathway by due to diminished production of IL-6 from Borrelia stimulated dendritic cells.

Tick saliva facilitates the transmission of tick-borne pathogens

We were able to show that tick saliva increases replication of tick-borne encephalitis virus in mouse dendritic cells, thus facilitating transmission of this important tick-borne pathogen. The interference of tick salivary molecule sialostatin L2 with interferon action led to the enhanced replication of TBE virus in DC. The same cystatin increased growth of Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi in murine skin and other organs.

Tumour immunotherapy

Second major research area deals with novel approaches to tumour immunotherapy, which is based on the combination of phagocytic receptors on tumour cells with the application of TLR ligands into solid tumours. TLR ligands induce early and massive inflammatory infiltration of tumours, anchoring of phagocytic receptors to tumour cells facilitates their recognition by inflammatory cells.


ELSTEROVÁ J., PALUS M., ŠIRMAROVÁ J., KOPECKÝ J., NILLER H.H., RŮŽEK D. (2017): Tick-borne encephalitis virus neutralization by high dose intravenous immunoglobulin. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2017 Feb;8(2):253-258.

CAISOVÁ V., VIERU A., KUMŽÁKOVÁ Z., GLASEROVÁ S., HUSNÍKOVÁ H., VÁCOVÁ N., KREJČOVÁ G., PAĎOUKOVÁ L., JOCHMANOVÁ I., WOLF K.I., CHMELAŘ J., KOPECKÝ J., ŽENKA J. (2016): Innate immunity based cancer immunotherapy: B16-F10 murine melanoma model. BMC Cancer. 2016 Dec 7;16(1)

WALDMANNOVÁ E., CAISOVÁ V., FÁBEROVÁ J., SVÁČKOVÁ P., KOVÁŘOVÁ M., SVÁČKOVÁ D., KUMŽÁKOVÁ Z., JAČKOVÁ A., VÁCOVÁ N., NEDBALOVÁ P., HORKÁ M., KOPECKÝ J., ŽENKA J. (2016): The use of Zymosan A and bacteria anchored to tumor cells for effective cancer immunotherapy: B16-F10 murine melanoma model. Int Immunopharmacol. 2016 Oct;39:295-306.

CHMELAŘ J., KOTÁL J., KOPECKÝ J., PEDRA J.H., KOTSYFAKIS M. (2016): All For One and One For All on the Tick-Host Battlefield. Trends Parasitol. 2016 May;32(5):368-77.

CHMELAŘ J., KOTÁL J., KARIM S., KOPÁČEK P., FRANCISCHETTI I.M., PEDRA J.H., KOTSYFAKIS M. (2016):  Sialomes and Mialomes: A Systems-Biology View of Tick Tissues and Tick-Host Interactions. Trends Parasitol. 2016 Mar;32(3):242-54.

KOTÁL J., LANGHANSOVÁ H., LIESKOVSKÁ J., ANDERSEN J.F., FRANCISCHETTI I.M., CHAVAKIS T., KOPECKÝ J., PEDRA J.H., KOTSYFAKIS M., CHMELAŘ J. (2015): Modulation of host immunity by tick saliva. J Proteomics. 2015 Oct 14;128:58-68.

LIESKOVSKÁ J., PÁLENÍKOVÁ J., LANGHANSOVÁ H., CAMPOS CHAGAS A., CALVO E., KOTSYFAKIS M., KOPECKÝ J. (2015): Tick sialostatins L and L2 differentially influence dendritic cell responses to Borrelia spirochetes. Parasit Vectors. 2015 May 15;8:275.

PÁLENÍKOVÁ J., LIESKOVSKÁ J., LANGHANSOVÁ H., KOTSYFAKIS M., CHMELAŘ J., KOPECKÝ J. (2015): Ixodes ricinus salivary serpin IRS-2 affects Th17 differentiation via inhibition of the interleukin-6/STAT-3 signaling pathway. Infect Immun. 2015 May;83(5):1949-56.

LIESKOVSKÁ J., PÁLENÍKOVÁ J., ŠIRMAROVÁ J., ELSTEROVÁ J., KOTSYFAKIS M., CAMPOS CHAGAS A., CALVO E., RŮŽEK D., KOPECKÝ J. (2015): Tick salivary cystatin sialostatin L2 suppresses IFN responses in mouse dendritic cells. Parasite Immunol. 2015 Feb;37(2):70-8.

LANGHANSOVÁ H., BOPP T., SCHMITT E., KOPECKÝ J. (2015): Tick saliva increases production of three chemokines including monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, a histamine-releasing cytokine. Parasite Immunol. 2015 Feb;37(2):92-6.

PALUS M., BÍlÝ T., ELSTEROVÁ J., LANGHANSOVÁ H., SALÁT J., VANCOVÁ M., RŮŽEK D. (2014): Infection and injury of human astrocytes by tick-borne encephalitis virus. J Gen Virol. 2014 Nov;95(Pt 11):2411-26. 

JANOTOVÁ T., JALOVECKÁ M., AUEROVÁ M., ŠVECOVÁ I., BRUZLOVÁ P., MAIEROVÁ V., KUMŽÁKOVÁ Z., CUNÁTOVÁ Š., VLČKOVÁ Z., CAISOVÁ V., ROZSYPALOVÁ P., LUKÁČOVÁ K., VÁCOVÁ N., WACHTLOVÁ M., SALÁT J., LIESKOVSKÁ J., KOPECKÝ J. and ŽENKA J. (2014): The use of anchored agonists of phagocytic receptors for cancer immunotherapy: B16-F10 murine melanoma model. PLoS One 9: e85222.


M.Sc. Theses:

CHLASTÁKOVÁ A. (2017) Establishment and optimization of in vivo models of inflammation and their use for functional analysis of tick salivary protease inhibitors.

HEJDOVÁ B. (2017) The effect of tick saliva on signalling pathways in mast cells.

MARŠÁLKOVÁ E. (2017) The effect of the tick saliva on phagocytosis of borrelia by dendritic cells.

ŘÍHOVÁ T. (2016) Intestinal parasites from the medieval site in Prague.

KEPLOVÁ N. (2016) Isolation and characterisation of novel antimicrobial peptide (defensin) expressed in Ixodes ricinus tick.

SVÁČKOVÁ D. (2016) The study of mechanisms acting at tumor immunotherapy based on the installation of ligands phagocytic receptors on the surface of tumor cells.