If students show enthusiasm and interest, they will not be short of practical research opportunities

Lucka Pifková comes from Kroměříž and studies Molecular Biology and Genetics at our faculty. She is also a member of the Generation Mendel team, which last autumn celebrated great success with its synthetic biology project in the international iGEM competition. Lucka is 22 years old and in her free time she enjoys singing and playing the piano.

12 Feb 2021 Barbora Kameníková

Photo: Helena Brunnerová

What did you want to be when you were young?

I had several dream occupations and they were quite different, but most of them were professions with an artistic focus. At that time, the desire to be a veterinarian was probably closest to my field.

Why did you choose molecular biology and genetics?

For quite some time, I didn’t know what I would focus on in the future. I kind of enjoyed everything from languages to physics. Biology did not inspire me until the last two years of my studies, when I prepared a seminar in preparation for graduation in biology. Genetics was the area of biology that interested me the most, partly because it occurred to me that mathematics also plays a role. In addition, genetics, together with molecular biology, was a relatively new and evolving field for me at the time, so there was always the chance that I could make new discoveries during my studies. I also liked the fact that pure curiosity can lead to practical uses that will be of benefit to society; in the fields of medicine or agriculture, for example.

What led you to choose the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University?

Mainly, it was the fact that people around me generally had a good opinion of Masaryk University. In addition to the prestige of MUNI, the modern laboratory equipment and the overall campus environment made a good impression. I was also very influenced by the positive references of friends and acquaintances who had studied at the Faculty of Science.

Would you choose our faculty again?


How do you like the environment where you study?

The environment in which I study was quite important to me from the beginning. Amongst other things, access to modern laboratory equipment has led me to realise that I am no longer just doing school work in the laboratory; instead, I am in an environment in which real research takes place and that it is necessary to approach any laboratory work responsibly. Overall, I like the campus environment. During my studies, I liked the spacious library the most as everyone can find plenty of privacy to study in peace.

How do you like Brno?

For me as a person from a smaller city, Brno was a pleasant change as it had plenty of opportunities for student activities and summer jobs. I honestly like it here in Brno and, so far, there are still things that surprise me.

What subject has impressed you the most and why?

In general, I am most impressed by subjects that combine knowledge from different areas and where study in general is less about memorising systems or concepts and more about being aware of the context. One good example has been the course on Immunology and Animal Physiology.

What possibilities are there for involving students in practical research?

As far as my field is concerned, there are a wide range of potential projects and research groups at the Faculty of Science. Based on the experience of myself and my classmates, I believe that if students show enthusiasm and interest, they will not be short of opportunities for practical research, even at the beginning of their studies, when enthusiasm is often the only thing a student has to offer.

How did you get into the Generation Mendel team?

The association was founded by my classmates and friends, so I was around at the first mention of creating a team of collaborating students. I knew from the start that if they wanted me to participate I would love to be a part of it. That’s why I went to the first meeting, where we were introduced to the team’s goals, and I carried on from there.

What have you gained from your participation in Generation Mendel?

I will try to list at least the most important things 🙂. Most of all, a lot of experience. We experienced first-hand how to organise a team working on a biological project, how to plan ahead, how to find space for laboratory work and material and how to design specific experiments that make sense and allow us to verify, as effectively as possible, what works. Although I joined the association to gain more experience in my field, I also learned a lot from areas I didn’t think I would be interested in. For example, we gained an awareness of marketing, preparing PR projects and the complexity of mathematical modelling. During the year, I also became interested in the possibilities of popularising science and educating the general public. I see a lot of sense in that and I would like to contribute to this in the future. Last but not least, I found friends in Generation Mendel with a similar approach to life, great ambitions and an enthusiasm that constantly motivates me.


Translated by Kevin Roche.

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