Doctoral Studies

Structural Biology - Field

Brief description of field

Structural biology is a modern interdisciplinary and largely methodologically focused branch offering to those who are interested a possibility to study the structure and function of biologically active macromolecules – proteins, nucleic acids and their functional complexes. Information on spatial arrangement of biomolecules together with information on their behaviour and function in a living system are the basis for defining their roles in both physiological and pathological processes in living organisms, and therefore they are in research focus of many world-famous scientific teams whose results lead to the present-day revolutionary discoveries.

Owing to an exceptionally high quality of infrastructure which is connected to the CEITEC project, the students of Structural Biology can make use of a wide range of methods with different spatial and temporal resolutions (e.g. single crystal X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, cryo-electron microscopy and tomography, etc.) from the very beginning of their studies, and thus gain experience in the evaluation and interpretation of measurement results. Moreover, the students get insight into functional assays and gain practical experience, often based on in-vitro studies, using a variety of methods of molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics, and last but not least, they learn how to use complementary information in experimental studies which represent the results of theoretical methods included in the scientific disciplines of chemo- and bioinformatics.

Profile of a typical graduate

Structural Biology graduates get comprehensive experience in dealing with research projects in various scientific fields covered by Life Sciences. The aim is to prepare leading experts in a particular study field who, in addition to obtaining the necessary education, will be able to independently design and run significant scientific projects including their financing. Without any problems, they will be able to participate in international research teams using their language skills that will enable them to present their results in English language, not only in written form such as scientific papers, but they will also be able to discuss various issues with scientific experts around the world and successfully present their results.

Besides having the opportunity of education in a modern field of study with a wide range of opportunities in various fields of biomedicine and biotechnology-oriented firms, after completing this study field, the students will be particularly prepared for their future scientific careers. An innovative approach to teaching along with highly qualified and current curriculum is the best prerequisite for the smooth integration of graduates in major international research teams.

Requirements for applicants

For doctoral studies of Structural Biology the graduates of the Master’s Studies with knowledge in fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry, pharmacy and other related are eligible. It is assumed that the selected topic corresponds to the expertise of a particular candidate. The candidates are not required to have previous work experience. However, they should be able to demonstrate, using the thesis or their own publications, their capability for a creative work in the study field. The motivation and passion for science along with the assessment of the candidate’s scientific patterns and awareness of the basic rules of scientific ethics will also be verified within the admission procedure. An essential requirement for the admission is a very good knowledge of English language in written form (translation of texts from Czech to English and vice versa, preparation of scientific reviews and critical analysis of professional scientific English texts), and particularly in spoken language i.e. the ability to discuss scientific topics with potential trainers.

The admission procedure is carried out in two rounds. Round one of the admission process is based on the admission application. After that, the shortlisted candidates are invited for the round two, a face-to-face interview with potential supervisors and members of the admission committee.

To be admitted, candidate has to achieve min. 85/100 points:

  •  knowledge in the field of life sciences                  min. 34 points/40
  •  language competence                                            min. 26 points/30
  •  application materials                                             min. 25 points/30

Maximum number of accepted students is 15.

Electronic application on

Mandatory parts of the admission application for the round one:

  • Curriculum Vitae (specified form)
  • Letter of interest (specified form)
  • Supervisor Statement (specified form)
  • Copies of diplomas (BSc., MSc.) and diploma supplements / transcripts of records (in English or Czech language)
  • References (specified form)
  • Foreign language (English) certificate – optional, not compulsory
  • Two Recommendation Letters (specified form to be forwarded to two referees (one of them has to be the MS thesis supervisor/advisor). These two recommendation forms are mandatory and must be sent by the referees at
  • Paid admission fee in the amount of 600 CZK

Study requirements and completion of studies

To complete the studies successfully, the students are obliged to acquire 240 credits, to meet a prearranged individual study plans and demonstrate sufficiently the progress on a research project in regular annual and semestral evaluations. The study is completed by the state doctoral examination and the defense of the dissertation. To complete the study, student has to publish results of the dissertation thesis in an international impacted journal, whereas the student is the first author of at least one scientific publication in a journal found in the first quartile (Q1) of evaluation of impact factor value of given scientific field. If the first author paper is found in Q2 or less, student has to provide at least two additional papers in Q1 or Q2 as a co-author.

The dissertation thesis is submitted by the student to the Department of R&D of the Faculty of Science MU at least two months before the planned date of defense. The dissertation is submitted electronically through IS MU and in five printed copies in B5 format (1 copy for archiving at the Faculty of Science, 3 copies for opponents, 1 copy for archiving at CEITEC MU).

The State Doctoral Examination (SDE) and the defense are held in English and in one day. For SDE, the supervisor in co-operation with the Chair of the Field Committee will designate 3 general topics that do not cover the topic of the dissertation work (they may touch but not build on it). The student is acquainted with the designated topics and, according to his/her choice, he/she will prepare for the SDE a presentation of about 10 minutes to one of these topics. The presentation will be followed by a discussion on the chosen topic, as well as questions covering the area of the given discipline, based on the syllabus of the topics for the state doctoral examinations.

After successful completion of the SDE, a defense of the dissertation thesis follows in the form of a presentation about 20 minutes, and will be further followed by a discussion which will clarify the questions of the opponents and questions of other members of the examination committee. The examination committee has 7 members - the chairman, committee members and opponents. At least 2 members are external, one of the opponents must be from a foreign institution.

Individual study plan

Individual study plan for entire studies and its specification for each semester (so-called Semestral Content) are formulated by students in cooperation with their supervisors. With regard to the complexity of the field, a full-time form of study is desirable.

While creating and implementing a study plan, the following conditions must be fulfilled:

a) Students are obliged to complete the lecture C7777 Handling chemicals substances (holds no credit value) each year.

b) Students are obliged to complete each term the S5003 Field seminar – Structural Biology (credit value 4, completed with a credit) and four times (each term in 1st and 2nd year of study) also S5010 Friday CEITEC PhD Seminar (credit value 2, completed with a credit).

c) Students re-enroll four times the subject S5009 Teaching assistance (credit value 1-10, completed with a credit), where they assist an authorized teacher providing seminar and laboratory teaching in Bachelor and Master’s degree programmes.

d) Students are obliged to enroll for and complete the subject S5006 Lecture for the scientific community (credit value 2-10, completed by colloquium), that demonstrates their ability to present the results of their research project at an international scientific forum.

e) Students enroll the subject S5007 PhD Thesis (credit value 5-30, completed with a credit, credit value 5-30, enroll repeatedly up to 160 credits) and the subject S5008 Scientific publication (credit value 2-10, completed with a credit, can be enrolled only once).

f) Students are obliged to complete at least 3 courses designed to enhance their scientific and managerial competencies, so-called soft skills courses (completion within the first six semesters is recommended), such as S4001 International performance, S4002 Law, ethics and philosophy of science, S4004 Financing of research - training in grant applications, D01 Publish or perish: The art of research and scientific writing – lecture, S5040 Publish or perish: The art of research and scientific writing – practical course, C2110 UNIX and programming.

g) Students must finish at least 4 core subjects related to the research project (hard skills) - completion within the first four semesters in recommended.

h) During the study, students must complete one internship of at least 10 working days (80 working hours) in agreement with the supervisor. It can be carried out in a frame of CEITEC laboratories or at the workplace outside the institute, the most recommended is an internship abroad. Mandatory part of the internship is an elaboration of the internship report. In the case of an internship completed in the Czech Republic, the student enrolls the subject S5011 Internship (credit value 4, completed with a credit), ,In the case of an abroad internship student has to set up an internship in the IS MU and upload the relevant documents following instructions at and enroll the subject XD110 Placement Abroad.

i) Students have to attend annual public evaluation of their dissertation progress during PhD Day.

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

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