Doctoral Studies

Biochemistry - Field

Brief description of field

This field is intended for students who wish to acquire the detailed knowledge and practical skills needed for the study of the molecular mechanisms of metabolic processes that take place in various solutions and in biological membranes, and during the various types of biochemical analysis (identification of bio-molecular structures and analysis of their composition, continuous monitoring of substrata and products in ongoing enzyme reactions, or analysis using biological principles of detection). Experienced personnel at the Department of Biochemistry provide specialized instruction in the areas of metabolism of bacteria and fungi (aerobic respiration and identification, bacterial oxidation of sulfur-based materials, interaction of parasitical fungi with plants) and biochemical analysis (development of new methods of separation, use of biosensors in measuring environmental pollutants, and clinically important metabolites). The palette is broadened through cooperation with the Research Institute for Veterinary Medicine in Brno (immuno-chemical methods, liposomes, vaccines) and with several institutions abroad. The field of biochemistry is distinctive for its open and interdisciplinary character; classical bio-chemical methods are frequently combined with methodology from other disciplines such as micro-biology, molecular biology, informatics, and bio-physics. This improves graduates’ adaptability and the ability to apply their skills. 
The goal of studies is to prepare highly-qualified personnel for research work in the field of bio-chemistry. During the initial period students attend selected lectures, and through consultation deepen and solidify the necessary theoretical foundations above and beyond the framework of the preceding master’s level. At the same time the student conducts independent literary research on the topic of his doctoral dissertation, during which the student should learn effective use of the databases currently available from the FS, MU, and Moravian Regional Library fund of books and journals, inter-library services, and in some cases direct communication with the authors of publications. The main activity of the students is their own experimental work, as well as active participation in the school’s research projects. However, students are also encouraged to independently prepare proposals for sub-projects, and to enter them in public competitions (doctoral projects of the University Development Fund, for example). They should be highly skilled in processing acquired data, and its interpretation and subsequent presentation in various forms (presentation at seminars and conferences, publications). Emphasis is placed on improving the ability to express one’s self in a foreign language, especially English (conferences, short study stays abroad).

Profile of a typical graduate

The graduate will acquire general knowledge in all aspects of modern biochemistry, and deeper theoretical knowledge in currently-developing areas. He will gain experience with independent research planning in the competitive environment of the grant system, and evaluation of research results, including statistical analysis and the drawing of logical conclusions from observations performed. Graduates will be able to use the entire range of laboratory methods in bio-chemical experimentation on a cell and sub-cell level, and master a number of techniques for instrumental analysis of biochemical samples. They will learn to use modern information technology to acquire and process scientific information from international electronic databases, to collect and process data using on-line equipment, to test the validity of models, and prepare their own effective graphic presentation. They will improve their abilities to communicate professionally in both the Czech and English languages in both spoken and written form. Studies are directed towards maximum adaptability in solving all kinds of conceptual issues and problems of both theoretical and applied character. Graduates may continue their academic career at universities and research institutions in the and abroad (for example, post-doctoral studies). They will be qualified for leadership positions in scientific research and development at private firms and bio-chemical laboratories at a broad range of institutions specializing in human or veterinary medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and bio-technology. The professional specialization of the majority of graduates is also compatible with further work in the field of environmental protection and with environmental movements and initiatives.

Requirements for applicants

The doctoral studies program in bio-chemistry accepts graduates of university master’s programs in the same or related field. Previous practice is not required. The applicant should show, on the basis of his diploma work or own publication, the necessary skills for creative work in the field. In addition, he should have active knowledge of general bio-chemistry (structure and metabolization of saccharides, lipids, proteins, and nuclear acids), and in preparational and analytical biochemistry (isolation methods for proteins, enzymes, nuclear acids, and low-molecular weight materials, and basic principles and applications in optic, chromatographic, electromagnetic, electro-chemical, and imuno-chemical methods). The ability to communicate in the English language, on the level of translating articles in the field for the general public from English into Czech, writing a short summary in English, and general discussion on topics including one’s own life experience, and university and research activities. A part of the admissions process is a recommendation by an advisor (from the list of advisors previously approved by the academic council of the FS and named by the Dean), and a general plan of studies. It is therefore advisable that the student consult with his potential advisor on the eventual doctoral work before an application is submitted.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Doctoral studies may be in the regular form, or combined (for employed students). The regular form lasts roughly 4 years (stipendia are available for that period), 5 years at maximum. The combined form usually takes 5, but a maximum of 7 years (8 years for studies starting in the Spring 2012 semester). Studies are completed with the taking of the state doctoral examination, and defense of doctoral dissertation. Studies are conducted according to an individual study plan that sets the schedule of studies, academic and research activities involved in the dissertation work, and any possible study stays at other institutions, including those abroad, the extent of undergraduate teaching duties, dates for subject examinations, and other requirements. Yearly individual study plans are composed so as to realize the general study plan, with the agreement of the doctoral candidate’s advisor.

Fulfillment of the following conditions is mandatory:

  1. Successful completion of elective subjects aimed at expanding knowledge in the general field, and deepening knowledge related to the dissertation work topic. Within the individual study plan, and with the agreement of the advisor, subjects may be chosen from the curriculum offered by the chemistry department, other departments at the FS, and from departments outside the faculty. Subjects may take the form of independent study with consultation. One of the subjects may consist of preparation of compilation of research sources on the topic of the dissertation work
  2. Successful completion of elective subjects aimed at expanding knowledge in the general field, and deepening knowledge related to the dissertation work topic. Within the individual study plan, and with the agreement of the advisor, subjects may be chosen from the curriculum offered by the chemistry department, other departments at the FS, and from departments outside the faculty. Subjects may take the form of independent study with consultation. One of the subjects may consist of preparation of compilation of research sources on the topic of the dissertation work
  3. Attendance of seminars in the field (together with students from the master’s fields in bio-chemistry).
  4. Assistance in seminar and laboratory teaching in the bachelor’s and master’s programs under the guidance of designated teachers.
  5. At least one presentation in the English language before an academic audience.
  6. Preparation of doctoral dissertation work on the designated topic. Completion of studies by taking of the state final examination and defense of doctoral dissertation.

The dissertation must contain the results published or accepted for publication. The preferred form is a set of publications or manuscripts accepted for publication dealing with the subject of dissertation, accompanied by a comprehensive introduction and commentary (article 31, paragraph 2 of the MU Study and Examination Regulations). In at least one of the publications the student must be the first author. At least three publications in peer-reviewed journals with impact factor are required; when the combined impact factor exceeds 4, the number of publications may be lower than three.

The annual evaluation of doctoral students

The Doctoral Board for the doctoral study program in Biochemistry decided, on 17 February 2016, that the annual evaluation of doctoral students according to article 27, paragraph 6, letter h of the MU Study and Examination Regulations will be carried out through the University Information System.
Every year, before the end of May, all students have to provide a progress report covering the past academic year. In the IS agenda "Doctoral Students Evaluation" they fill in the fields "Doctoral thesis status" (description of research activities, a summary of the results obtained, the full citations of publications and conference papers in a given period), "Internships, stays for the purpose of work and study as well as other activities" (report of the internship, if it took place, and other activities, eg. work with youth, popularization of science etc.), and "Overall comment" (fulfilment of the individual study plan) .
If the supervisor agrees with the student’s report, he/she accepts the texts for permanent storage by choosing "Pre-fill all the texts prepared by the student," and adds his/her commentaries. In the case of the disagreement he/she may ask the student for amendments, or instead give only his/her own opinion. Supervisor alone fills in the field "Performance of the student's duties" visible for the student. A hidden field "Private Note" is also available for the supervisor. If the student is ending the third year of the full-time study and has not yet a first-author publication, the supervisor should establish, in the "Performance of the student's duties" field, a plan and a time-line for the student on how to meet publication requirements by the end of the fourth year.
The Doctoral Board will conduct a final evaluation in the "Commentary by the Board for Doctoral Studies". When appropriate, further communication with the student and the supervisor may be initiated.

Individual study plan

Students conduct their studies according to an individual study plan. The individual study plan http://www.sci.muni.cz/NW/VVZ/forms/Indiv.st.pl.12.doc for each academic year is assembled by the doctoral candidate together with the advisor, and is submitted when enrolling for the academic year.

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages


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