The Rector’s Awards of Masaryk University are given annually in several categories in recognition of outstanding achievements in science and research, sporting achievements, teaching, art, and civic activities. According to the rules of the competition, students or employees of the University, or their collectives, can become award winners. Proposals for the awards are submitted by the heads of individual units of Masaryk University and are evaluated by special committees of the Rector. The winners receive a diploma, a medal of Masaryk University and a financial reward.
SILVER MEDAL OF MASARYK UNIVERSITY
prof. RNDr. Ludvík Kunz, CSc.
Ludvík Kunz graduated from the Faculty of Science of MU. He is active in the academic bodies of this faculty and in the Central European Institute of Technology of MU. He is the Director of the Institute of Physics of Materials of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
He has long been involved in a wide range of research on metallic materials and physical aspects of mechanical properties of materials. He investigated mechanical properties of materials used for new types of turbochargers. He has focused on the fatigue properties of ultra‑ fine grained materials used in engineering practice with the aim of elucidating the relevant plastic deformation mechanisms in several different fine‑ grained materials subjected to cyclic loading, thus providing fundamental knowledge necessary for material design and structural applications. He was co‑ investigator on a grant from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for 3D printing of implants to treat damaged skeleton, primarily the human pelvis. He is investigating the relationship between microstructure throughout the volume and at surfaces and interfaces on the one hand and properties on the other. On this basis, both microstructure and properties can be optimized, and entirely new materials can be designed.
The MU Silver Medal is awarded for merit in strengthening the significance of MU at the national and global level and deepening MU’s cooperation with domestic and foreign institutions.
Photo: Martin Indruch
MASARYK UNIVERSITY RECTOR’S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INTERNATIONAL GRANT COMPETITION
doc. Mgr. Pavel Plevka
Pavel Plevka has been awarded a 2022 ERC Consolidator Grant “BioPhage” to investigate phage infection of bacterial biofilms formed by the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is often resistant to antibiotics.
The ERC Consolidator Grant is a prestigious grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Competitiveness and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020. The aim of the grant is to support researchers to achieve the freedom and independence needed to develop their own research programme. The selection process for ERC grants is competitive and only around 10% of applications are supported. ERC grants provide researchers with a significant amount of money to conduct their planned research, allowing them to conduct ambitious and innovative projects, while also providing a high degree of independence and flexibility, which is highly valued in academia. Moreover, it should be stressed that ERC grants are internationally recognized, which increases the prestige of the researcher and the institution at which he/she works, and finally, they are awarded based on scientific excellence, which means that researchers who receive ERC grants are among the best in their field.
Photo: Martin Indruch
MASARYK UNIVERSITY RECTOR’S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING STUDENTS OF DOCTORAL PROGRAMMES
RNDr. Martin Toul
In his PhD thesis, Martin Toul engages in research in the field of protein engineering and advanced enzyme kinetics, which is dealt with by only a small number of research groups worldwide. The aim is to unravel the molecular mechanisms of selected enzymes to optimize them for practical applications. The objects of research are three groups of enzymes - (i) luciferases, producing bioluminescent radiation, (ii) plasminogen activators, used as thrombolytics dissolving blood clots, and (iii) haloalkane dehalogenases, decontaminating and detecting toxic substances in the environment. An important result of Toul’s research to date is, for example, the identification of a limiting staphylokinase thrombolytic, the removal of which may provide up to ten thousand times greater efficiency in dissolving blood clots. Equally important is the discovery of the mechanism of the enzyme luciferase, which has led to a hundredfold increase in its luminosity.
Photo: Martin Indruch
MASARYK UNIVERSITY RECTOR’S AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DISSERTATION THESIS
Barbara Kubíčková, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Barbara Kubíčková was an outstanding student who worked as an Early‑ Stage Researcher at MU within the prestigious international MSCA (Marie Curie) project for training top students NaToxAq supported by the EU H2020 Framework Programme. She focused on research on the potential harmful effects of bioactive substances produced by cyanobacterial blooms, their hazard, and associated risks to human health. During her work on her PhD topic, she showed herself as a creative and independent researcher. She has conducted a number of studies on the metabolites produced by cyanobacteria, which have yielded particularly valuable information regarding their effects on the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, endocrine regulation, and early neurodevelopment, as well as the potential risks associated with exposure to these substances. The dissertation provides a detailed characterization of the various toxic effects and identifies aspects of potential hazard to human health. Her research has provided a number of important insights, particularly regarding the potential hazard of inhaled cyanotoxins and their effects on the respiratory system.