Life Sciences

"Life for Science. Science for Life."

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PřF: Přijímací řízení do doktorského programu Life Sciences 2021/2022 (zahájení jaro 2022)
Submission deadline until midnight 31 Oct 2021

What will you learn?

The aim of the study is to educate students in the field of life sciences and to prepare them as highly qualified specialists for scientific activities. The introductory part of the study concentrates on deepening theoretical and practical knowledge. At the same time, separate literary research on the assigned topic of the doctoral dissertation is being prepared. The core of students’ activities lies in their own scientific work. Students are guided by the supervisor to be able to independently implement all phases of a scientific project. They are also encouraged to the processing of the obtained experimental data methodologically relevant, as well as to their interpretation and subsequent presentation in various forms. The programme is highly multidisciplinary and, compared to the traditional study of biology, is more methodologically and analytically focused. Thanks to access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, students can better combine various biochemical, bioanalytical and visualization instrumental techniques with solving biological problems, which increases the impact of their scientific activities and their flexibility in the labor market, including positions in academia, e.g. within existing biotechnology companies or in newly emerging spin-offs.

The concept of the programme reflects the current level of scientific knowledge, the needs of the labor market, and overall trends in the field. At the same time, it benefits from the support system within the so-called CEITEC PhD School, which presents the concept of care for doctoral students involved in research teams at CEITEC and at the same time emphasizes expanding the competencies of the future graduates in socio-managerial, technological and soft skills. That will enable them to conduct their follow-up research in an efficient and modern way and provide them with a very good overview of the ethical aspects of research necessary for life sciences research and research and development in general.

The programme aims at the international employment of graduates. It is prepared in Czech and English versions, most subjects are taught, all seminars and, to a large extent, research is conducted in English. The environment at CEITEC MU is significantly international, so students are exposed to communication in English not only during official teaching but practically everywhere within CEITEC.

Practical training

An important contribution to the acquisition of practical skills of DSP students of Life Sciences is their natural involvement in research teams at CEITEC MU. In this way, students can immediately acquire the necessary practical skills for team management and research projects, acquire networking skills and directly engage in research projects and grants (including H2020 projects and ERC grants) to understand the issues of research funding. Students can also routinely use eleven uniquely equipped shared laboratories and gain significant practical experience in this form within the so-called internal internship, or in another institution in the Czech Republic as part of an external internship (recommended volume is 10 working days (80 working hours).

A compulsory part of the study obligations in the doctoral study program is completing part of the study at a foreign institution for at least one month, or participating in an international creative project with results published or presented abroad or another form of student direct participation in international cooperation.

The program supports Collaborative PhD, i.e. completing a doctoral project in cooperation with a commercial entity. That allows students to expose themselves to a more non-academic environment. Also, within the TAC system, students cooperate more often with experts from practice.

Further information

Career opportunities

In the doctoral programme, great emphasis is placed on internationalization, there are also conditions for interdisciplinary solutions to the assigned topics of the dissertation, and the emphasis is placed on strengthening socio-managerial and soft-skills. This increases the real chances of graduates to apply in top scientific and technological, academic and commercial teams around the world, such as in:

  • research organizations and academic institutions (research institutes, universities) focusing on biological and biomedical research and education, in the first years as the postdoctoral trainees and subsequently as the leaders of a research team or programme, the heads of shared laboratories (so-called facilities), etc., or at lecturer positions;
  • cutting-edge laboratories of applied research focused on the development of new biotechnological biomedical methods, in the scientific specialists and developers’ positions;
  • the commercial sphere in the field of consulting and marketing of biomedical or biotechnological products;
  • thanks to acquired knowledge in the field of intellectual property and technology transfer specifically in their areas of interest, graduates of the field will be well equipped for activities in establishing start-ups and spin-off companies.

Admission requirements

Requirements are specified in detail at The admission procedure is carried out in two rounds. The first round is based on the application and background information - only complete applications with all mandatory parts will be accepted and reviewed. The applicants selected for the next round will be invited for the admission interview with the committee. Evaluation criteria

Criteria for evaluation

Knowledge in the field of Life Sciences, communication in English, supplied materials and general impression.


1 Sep – 31 Oct 2021

Submit your application during this period

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Dissertation topics

Single-subject studies

AFM Extension Modules to Study Cell Mechanics and Electrophysiology
Supervisor: Mgr. Jan Přibyl, Ph.D.

Our laboratory has long been involved in the use of AFM microscopy in the study of cellular and molecular structure and mechanics. We are now equipped with new modules (FluidFM, MEA) for further operations with cells and the acquisition of additional parameters (adhesiveness, cell potential). These methods are described below, the student's goal would be to characterize biomechanical properties of various cells, such as cardiomyocytes. However, also adhesivity of epithelial cells to the new types of implant materials. Combined characterization of mechano-electrical feedback of electrically active cells may bring new insight into the diseases, such as CPVT. FluidFM, micro-fluidic force microscopy, is a relatively new (2009) and very interesting application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) based on a microchannel inside the tip and probe for localized injection or aspiration of very small volumes of fluids. It is very well suited for work with living cells - pico-injection into cells, isolation of molecules or organelles from single cells, the study of cell adhesion, etc. Microelectrode array (MEA) is an electrophysiological method using a region with tens to hundreds of small electrodes (electrode size is on the order of tens of micrometers in a region of the order of units of millimeters) to monitor the cell potential of cardiac and nerve cells. The main use is to test new drugs, but also to describe cellular processes in electrically active cells.

We are looking for applicants with a degree in biophysics, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. Previous experience with the techniques is welcome but not required.

PLEASE NOTE: before initiating the formal application process to doctoral studies, all interested candidates are required to contact the supervisor and



Mgr. Jan Přibyl, Ph.D.

Elucidating the biological roles of ADARs, the RNA editing enzymes
Supervisor: prof. Mary Anne O'Connell, PhD.

The ADAR enzymes deaminate adenosine bases in dsRNA in pre-mRNAs to inosine, which can be read as guanosine by the translational machinery, recoding individual codons in some ADAR-edited transcripts. In vertebrates, one of the most critical recoding events maintains the calcium impermeability of GluA2 subunit-containing AMPA receptors and this is catalyzed by Adar2. Adenosine to inosine conversion in endogenous dsRNA also helps the cell distinguish self from foreign/viral/pathogenic dsRNA. This is essential as without it, unedited endogenous dsRNA binds to cellular dsRNA sensors and activates innate immune responses (doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.041) and Adar1 required for this. The PhD student will investigate these roles of Adar1 and Adar2 further using mouse mutants and cell cultures which are available within the group.

We are looking for applicants who are motivated and creative. Experience in molecular biology techniques is desired. The applicant must have good English language skills – both spoken and written. The PhD candidate must have a Masters degree.

PLEASE NOTE: before initiating the formal application process to doctoral studies, all interested candidates are required to contact the supervisor and



prof. Mary Anne O'Connell, PhD.

Introducing and optimizing CRISPR/Cas methodology in plants.
Supervisor: Mgr. Markéta Pernisová, Ph.D.

The main task of the project will be implementing and optimizing CRISPR/Cas methodology in the laboratory. Set of suitable vectors will be designed by cloning methodology (Gibson assembly, Gateway etc.). Plant mutant lines will be generated firstly in Arabidopsis then in crops like Brassica, wheat, or barley. Genes of interest will be chosen mainly from cytokinin biosynthesis or signalling families, e.g. log genes. Regeneration and cultivation protocols will be established to obtain CRISPR/Cas lines. These protocols are expected to become part of the regular offer of services that are available from the Plant Sciences Core Facility. Results will be published in impacted journals.

PLEASE NOTE: before initiating the formal application process to doctoral studies, all interested candidates are required to contact the supervisor and



Mgr. Markéta Pernisová, Ph.D.

Investigating pre-mRNA alternative splicing during the embryonic thermoresponse in Arabidopsis thaliana
Supervisor: Helene Robert Boisivon, Ph.D.

Transcript variants generated by alternative splicing (AS) of a precursor mRNA transcript expand the cellular protein catalog for the plant response to various stresses without the requirement of de novo transcription. AS is a molecular strategy taken by plants under temperature stress to limit the adverse effects of high temperatures and to adjust their growth and physiology during the stress period. Spliced variants may be targeted for degradation by non-sense mediated decay (NMD) or encode alternative proteins to feedback on the stress response. Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) and Heat Shock Factors (HSF) are among the targets of temperature-induced AS. Our lab investigates how high temperatures affect embryo morphogenesis and seed development. We identified that AS regulators are upregulated in seeds of plants grown at high temperatures. The project will investigate the implications of AS in the morphogenic alterations of Arabidopsis embryos when developing at high temperatures. The proposed experimental approaches include profiling of AS events in high-temperature seeds by nanopore RNA sequencing. Specific candidates whose transcripts are targeted by AS at high temperatures, and known for their involvement in embryo morphogenesis, will be functionally characterized: expression analysis (microscopy), phenotyping (genetics), ectopic expression (cloning, generation of transgenics), etc.

The Ph.D. topic is part of a collaborative project with the research team led by Dr. Said Hafidh in the lab of Prof. Honys at the Institute of Experimental Botany in Prague.

PLEASE NOTE: before initiating the formal application process to doctoral studies, all interested candidates are required to contact the supervisor and



Helene Robert Boisivon, Ph.D.

Microenvironmental Interactions in the Biology of B Cell Leukemias and Lymphomas
Supervisor: doc. MUDr. Mgr. Marek Mráz, Ph.D.
The laboratory is focused on the basic and translational biology of microenvironmental interactions and B-cell Receptor (BCR) signaling in B cell leukemias and lymphomas. Targeting microenvironmental interactions is a promising therapeutic strategy in B cell neoplasms, and we mainly use chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and follicular lymphoma/DLBCL as model diseases. Our overall goal is to understand the microenvironmental interactions in B cell malignancies.

We are looking for a motivated PhD student that would like to work on the following project funded by the ERC (European Research Council) Starting grant.







- modern laboratories, project funded by the prestigious ERC grant - high risk and high gain, state-of-the-art instrument, stable funding, competitive scholarship

- You will work in a team of young investigators that challenge some long-standing problems in the field of hematology. We do basic science, but with the objective to help patients in the future (we have access to primary samples with hem. malignancies).


- How to think and work independently as a scientist

- Writing of abstracts and papers (and course in grant writing and presentation of data)

- How to present data and will attend conferences to present your research

- You will spend 1-2 months visit(s) in collaborating labs in Europe or US

- Collaboration with experts in wet lab research and bioinformatics

- Novel methods such as Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina) and genome editing (Crispr).

- How to critically analyze scientific data (regular journal clubs)

- Classical methods of molecular biology (e.g. immunoblotting, flow cytometry, qRT-PCR, cell cultures, cloning), and you will use our in vitro models for microenvironmental interactions, and artificial activation/inhibition signalling pathways to decipher the gene regulatory loops

- You can supervise bachelor and diploma students if interested


- Motivated smart people that have the “drive” to work independently, but also willing to learn from other people in the lab and collaborate.

- Candidates should have a master’s degree in Molecular biology, Biochemistry, or similar field and have deep interest in molecular biology and cancer cell biology.

PLEASE NOTE: To apply please submit a CV by email to: (Subject: PhD School) and



doc. MUDr. Mgr. Marek Mráz, Ph.D.

Role of the AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR5 and miRNAs in embryogenic transition in Arabidopsis
Supervisor: Helene Robert Boisivon, Ph.D.

Somatic embryogenesis is the plant's unique developmental capacity to switch on an embryonic developmental program in somatic cells. It is a process widely used for the micropropagation of various plant species. The somatic embryogenesis process is also a valuable working model to decipher the molecular mechanisms that determine the capacity of somatic cells to reprogram into embryonic cells. The plant hormone auxin is one key regulator and inducer of the process. And the AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR5 plays a fundamental role in regulating many aspects of the somatic embryogenesis response. ARF5 may regulate the expression of auxin biosynthetic YUCCA enzymes and post-transcriptional modulators such as miRNA390s. This project will contribute to gain a better understanding of their regulatory interaction during the somatic embryogenesis process. The project will include the functional analysis of the MIR390 genes during the embryogenic transition and the analysis of the functional relationship between ARF5 and selected YUCCAs. The proposed experimental approaches include the preparation of molecular reporters and various other constructs (cloning and generation of transgenics), the preparation of CRISPR-based mutants and their phenotypic analysis (genetics, tissue culture), and the analysis of expression (microscopy, RT-qPCR), among others. The Ph.D. topic is part of a bilateral collaborative project with the Polish research team led by Dr. Barbara Wójcikowska in the lab of Prof. Gaj at the University of Silesia in Katowice.

PLEASE NOTE: before initiating the formal application process to doctoral studies, all interested candidates are required to contact the supervisor and



Helene Robert Boisivon, Ph.D.

The role RNA modifications in DNA replication and repair
Supervisor: doc. Mgr. Štěpánka Vaňáčová, Ph.D.

The internal and terminal RNA modifications play crucial roles in a number of essential processes of eukaryotic organisms. They regulate the production of germ cells, cellular differentiation, response to stress, and defects in this pathway have been linked to a number of human diseases. The aim of this project is to study in details how specific terminal RNA modifications regulate and interconnect with DNA replication and repair. The student will master number of diverse methodical approaches, such as human cell culture manipulations (cultivation, RNAi, CRISPR/Cas9, etc.), fluorescence microscopy, protein expression and purification, RNA small scale and high-throughput analyses and/or enzymatic assays.

She/he will have the opportunity to work in a dynamic lively team, attend prestigious international conferences and collaborate with experts at other European institutes. Students from Vanacova group typically continue in their carrier at highly prestigious institutes after accomplishing their theses, such as Yale, Stanford, FMI in Basel, ETH Zurich, Columbia University in New York, etc.

Prospective student should ideally have done masters in molecular biology/biochemistry and have a laboratory experience in nucleic acids and/or protein purification and analysis. The most highly valued feature will however be excitement for science and strong drive in tackling important biological questions. The applicant must have good English language skills – both spoken and written. The PhD candidate must have a Masters degree.

PLEASE NOTE:before initiating the formal application process to doctoral studies, all interested candidates are required to contact the supervisor and



doc. Mgr. Štěpánka Vaňáčová, Ph.D.

Study information

Provided by Faculty of Science
Type of studies Doctoral
Mode full-time Yes
combined No
Study options single-subject studies Yes
single-subject studies with specialization No
major/minor studies No
Standard length of studies 4 years
Language of instruction Czech
Doctoral board and doctoral committees

Do you have any questions?
Send us an e-mail to

Mgr. et Mgr. Eva Barnová



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