Doctoral Studies

Parasiteology - Field

Brief description of field

Current Parasitology is a complex scientific discipline which studies parasites and their hosts and all aspects arising from the relationship between them. The doctoral study in the field of Parasitology at the Faculty of Science, MU, is therefore designed so that the students become familiar with different aspects of parasitism, namely the diversity at the molecular level, the study of the processes determining the temporal dynamics of populations and communities of parasites in both real and experimental environments. Parasites due to their biological properties represent an excellent model for the study of a number of general biological and evolutionary- ecological patterns. Processes affecting the distribution and transmission of parasites in host populations and communities are studied on model host -parasite systems. By analyzing the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of (the model groups of) parasites at levels of “infra –“ , “meta –“, and “supra –“ parasite communities, we can study the effects of evolutionary strategies on the formation of these communities, on the ways they aggregate and coexist, and on intra and interspecific competition of parasites on/in the host organisms. With the help of appropriate mathematical models, relationships between morpho - epidemiological characteristics of parasites and their genetic markers are analyzed.On certain groups of parasites phylogenetic analyses are carried out based on combinations of proper morphological and genetic characteristics. Apart from studies in experimental conditions parasites are also studied under natural conditions. Their role in the formation of various types of biota is studied with an emphasis on the potential use of parasites as bioindicators of the degree of natural environment degradation. Different types of parasite - host interactions are also studied, particularly among parasites of veterinary and medical importance.

Profile of a typical graduate

The graduate’s profile is largely determined by the objectives of his study and research, which should prepare the graduate for independent scientific work in the field. This corresponds with the graduates’ career opportunities. Graduates are prepared to work in the ASCR institutes, in institutes of the ministry, education, health, veterinary medicine, but also in government-owned and private companies.

From the 4 PhD graduates so far, one works as an assistant professor at the university(Dr. Koubková), the other 3 are continuing their studies in the form of postdoctoral stays abroad : Dr. Šebelová - The Queen 's University of Belfast ; Dr. Simkova - Université de Perpignan in France and Dr. Matějusová - FRS Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen , Scotland . Mgr. Matějusová from August 2001 also works part-time at the KZE Faculty of Science, Masaryk University as an assistant professor and will be working full-time from 2002. Of the other four students who switched to distance learning (off-campus form of study), one is working at the University of Vienna (MA Hricová ) , one for firms producing computer software for digital image analysis (Dr. Kadlec ) , one works in the Center of Biomathematical Analyses LF MU in Brno (MA Jarkovský ), and the forth student works again as an assistant professor at MU (MA Hodová - now MD). There are 6 more students who are currently enrolled in the on-campus form of doctoral studies 1st year - Mgr . Valigurová and Mgr . Otto ; Year 2 - Mgr . Blazek and Mgr . Ondračková ; Year 3 - Mgr . Zurawski and 4th year - Mgr . Řehulková . In 2002, the following students plan to submit their PhD thesis: Mgr . Kadlec , Mgr . Hricová , Mgr . Jarkovský , Mgr . Zurawski and Mgr . Řehulková.

Requirements for applicants

  • A completed university degree in natural science, preferably with zoological focus
  • A successful defense of one’s Master thesis, demonstrating the capability of conducting scientific research
  • Successful completion of the admission exam
  • Proven ability to communicate in English
  • Presentation of one’s research at a scientific conference (preferred, but not necessary)

Study requirements and completion of studies

  1. lectures recommended for students of doctoral programmes at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University in Brno
  2. lectures recommended by the supervisor: eg Parasite epidemiology, Cell and molecular interaction of parasite and host, Biochemistry and mol. biology of parasites, Nematodology, Immunology, Pathology of parasitic diseases, Basics of stochastic modelling, Methods for assessing biodiversity
  3. seminars of the Department of Zoology and Ecology: Parasitology seminar I to IV
  4. assistance in teaching parasitology and microscope techniques, help with supervising bachelor theses.

Content and scope of the state doctoral examination, required knowledge

The State Doctoral Exam tests both the students overall general knowledge in Parasitology as well as knowledge of specialized topics:
  • General subjects - general parasitology, biology of parasitic protozoa, helminths and arthropods, the principles of medical parasitology, including the necessary diagnostic methods
  • Specialized subjects – according to the student’s specialization (determined by the PhD thesis) and individual study plan, the following disciplines may be included in the exam: epidemiology and ecology, cell and molecular parasitology, immunology, pathology, etc.

Requirements for the Ph.D. thesis

  • achieving original results worthy of being published in international journals
  • having at least one paper accepted in a scientific journal with an IF of 0.5 to 1
  • submit the original doctoral thesis (especially welcome in the format of an assemblage of papers/manuscripts)
  • give a talk at a scientific conference (i.e. a speech in English) )
  • successful fulfillment of all obligations arising from the student's individual study plan

Topics of Ph.D. Theses:

  • Molecular diversity and phylogeny of livebearing monogenean flatworms from the genus Gyrodactylus
  • Analysis of monogenean flatworms of the Dactylogyrus genus : the evolutionary and ecological aspects of the parasite - host system
  • Biological diversity of parasites found in juvenile stages of fish from fragmented habitats
  • The application of RAD models (Rank Abundace Models) when studying community ecology of parasites
  • Fluctuating asymmetry of bilaterally symmetrical parasite organs (of model species) as indicators of anthropogenic impact/stress on the aquatic environment
  • Diversity of parasite communities under environmental stress
  • Organization and development of the neuromuscular systems in model species of parasites
  • Coexistence, aggregation, and microhabitat segregation of congeneric monogenean species
  • Diversity of monogeneans in selected groups of tropical fish
  • Variability of taxonomically important structures in certain model groups of parasites

The list of current doctoral thesis topics for the academic year is shown below at the bottom of he page.

Individual study plan

  1. lectures recommended for students of doctoral programmes at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University in Brno
  2. lectures recommended by the supervisor: eg Parasite epidemiology, Cell and molecular interaction of parasite and host, Biochemistry and mol. biology of parasites, Nematodology, Immunology, Pathology of parasitic diseases, Basics of stochastic modelling, Methods for assessing biodiversity
  3. seminars of the Department of Zoology and Ecology: Parasitology seminar I to IV
  4. assistance in teaching parasitology and microscope techniques, help with supervising bachelor theses.

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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