Doctoral Studies

Animal Physiology - Field

Brief description of field

The field focuses on the study of problems of contemporary physiology and immunology. The research is conducted both on models of whole animal organisms and on the cellular level where techniques of modern molecular physiology are employed. The institution caters for research topics ranging from veterinary to biomedical applications and further to general issues of basic research. The problems represented include especially those of cell signalling, which are crucial for understanding the processes that control the embryonic development, differentiation of tissues and their regeneration, as well as processes of carcinogenesis or immunity regulations. The spectrum of immunity issues is resolved on a wide range of organisms, from invertebrates across fishes and farm animals to man. The institution has been specialised in the long term in the model group of insects, where neuroethological and immunological problems have been investigated. Thus, the field integrates methodical attitudes of molecular biology, genetics and cellular biology with morphological and behavioural attitudes.

Profile of a typical graduate

Graduates of the doctoral study (DS) of Animal Physiology are prepared universally for finding vacancies in both research- and application-oriented institutions. The wide spectrum of themes resolved in co-operation with a number of training institutions outside the Faculty provides the graduates with the possibility of finding vacancies both in the top-ranking biomedical research and at the associated clinical institutions of human medicine. Analogically, students may decide to choose preparation for their work in a veterinary medicine-oriented research. Besides the human and veterinary medicine orientation, the graduates find their employment as scientific workers at universities, in institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and/or at departmental institutes. The aim of the study of the respective field is to prepare Czech and/or international students for independent scientific work and to equip them with the knowledge and skills required for work in a wide spectrum of institutions on international level.

Requirements for applicants

The basic prerequisite is completion of a Master’s study involving physiological, biochemical, or molecular biological fields, and a high professional knowledge of these fields. The DS candidates should, still before submitting their applications for study, contact the respective chairperson of the doctoral committee or any of the supervisors announcing the thesis topics (see the List below) and preliminarily mutually clarify the conditions and requirements for further study and work. The doctoral committee will then nominate at least a three-member admission board which will check the candidates’ professional capacities in an entrance interview. In the course of the interview, the candidates will present a brief proposal of the project of their PhD thesis, will define the anticipated outputs, and suggest a methodical procedure. In a discussion with the doctoral committee and in the presence of their supervisors they have to demonstrate that their respective thesis topic is scientifically well grounded and experimentally manageable. A necessary prerequisite for admission is a demonstrable capacity for professional conversation in English (previously completed study attachments abroad or lectures, language examinations), or the ability to read and understand a professional text in English. The sufficient financial coverage of the candidate’s scientific project will be assessed by the admission board within the terms of the entrance interview and further within the terms of the defence of the thesis topics in the 3rd semester (see further below).

Study requirements and completion of studies

The study of the field of Animal Physiology is based on the Masaryk University Study and Examination Regulations, where the conditions of the credit system and study completion are stipulated. The fundamental obligations of the students include intensive work on the experimental research PhD project of their own. Independent creative activity in close co-operation with the supervisor is presupposed. In addition to the active work on the PhD thesis project, the students expand their experience through the study of specific subjects and courses listed on the menu of the individual schedule recommended.

The content and extent of the state doctoral examination; the knowledge required

In a doctoral state examination the students have to demonstrate primarily a good orientation in the fields involving the scientific problem investigated in the doctoral thesis. They should prove the ability to communicate and discuss in their respective field and the ability to apply in a creative way their knowledge for the solution of specific problems. As a rule, the examination has the character of a discussion between the committee members and the candidate, in which the candidate has, on the one hand, to prove the ability to be deeply oriented in the area of problems for which he or she has specialised and, on the other, to demonstrate their general range of knowledge extending also into related fields. Prior to the examination, the students will receive, by means of their supervisors or the respective doctoral committee, lists of the topics to be discussed.

Requirements for doctoral thesis

The preferred form of the doctoral thesis is a set of published articles or manuscripts accepted or ready for publication. A doctoral thesis in this form has to contain at least three articles or manuscripts of articles supplemented with an introductory chapter of an extent of 20 pages minimum, which will logically link the individual articles and put them in the context of contemporary knowledge, will define the main aims that the author of the thesis has set for him or herself, and will evaluate the importance of the results achieved for the respective field. In this introductory chapter, the PhD students have to demonstrate their professional overview and a wider orientation in the given field than only in the specialised topics of individual articles. The recommended language of the thesis is English, but Czech or Slovak are also possible options. The doctoral thesis has to be based on own and original scientific results and a necessary prerequisite for its acceptance in the field of Animal Physiology is that its most significant results should be published or accepted for publication in international peer-reviewed professional journals (registered in the ISI Journal Citation Reports database). It is considered as satisfactory if the PhD student is first author of publications with a total cumulative IF ≥ 1 or of outputs of comparable importance. If the articles and manuscripts contained in the thesis are written with co-authors, then the PhD student must in his or her thesis clearly delimit his or her own factual share in each one of them.

Individual study plan

Together with the supervisors, the PhD students elaborate their individual study schedules, which are conceived in agreement with the regulations of the Doctoral Study Programme in Biology (listed, e.g., in the Course Catalogue). It is primarily on the supervisor’s decision which special lectures and courses and in which form they will prescribe the PhD students to have to complete. PhD students have, in the course of the 1st to 6th semesters, to participate in the extent as set in specialist seminars from Animal Physiology (Bi9667 a Bi9668) and have prescribed assistance in securing practical instruction in the undergraduate study (course XD102). In the third semester of their study, the students will, after previous study of the literature (course XD101), present the theses of their research topic to representatives of their doctoral committees including the supervisors. They will present a scientific issue, the aims, hypotheses and selected ways of its solution, and/or also the primary results achieved. The committee will assess the fulfilment of the requirements for the respective research project (thesis topics) (course XD 104), the progress of work chosen, and will recommend the way of further continuation of the study. In the course of their study, the students will at least once and obligatorily obtain a credit for the preparation of a foreign-language publication for a journal (course XD105). The PhD students are obliged to take part in scientific conferences and seminars and at least once to hold a lecture in the English language (course XD106). Besides the courses required, the PhD students will, after a discussion with their supervisors, take a choice out of the menu of recommended courses or of further courses of the domestic faculty or of other faculties, including foreign ones. An International Study Attachment is recommended in any semester (course XD103). The supervisors have, at least once a year, to submit a report in writing on the progress of the study and work of their respective PhD students within the frame of the obligations as stipulated in the respective individual study schedules.

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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