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 biochemistry (structure and metabolism of saccharides, lipids, proteins, and nuclear acids), and in preparative 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 immuno-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.

Selection of candidates is conducted by a committee appointed by the Dean of the Faculty. Candidates gain points based on their knowledge in biochemistry (maximum 100 points) and English language (maximum 100 points). Only those who achieve at least 50 points in each category will be included in the final list.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Doctoral studies may be in present (full time) or combined (part time) form. The standard period of studies is four years. 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 (ISP) 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. ISP and its semestral updates are created by the student together with his/her supervisor and are submitted when enrolling for the new academic year.

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 supervisor, 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 supervisor, 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. 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.

Periodic evaluation of doctoral students

Student progress is evaluated at the end of each semester through the University Information System.

http://www.sci.muni.cz/cz/DoktorskeStudium/Elektronicky-ISP-manualy

Individual study plan

Students conduct their studies according to an individual study plan. The individual study plan for each semester is assembled by the doctoral candidate together with the advisor, and is submitted when enrolling for the next semester.

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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