News from UP

Czech Republic Alumni Survey

News: Faculty of Science - Fri, 03/12/2021 - 14:36

Dear alumna/dear alumnus, we would like to kindly ask you to participate in a survey evaluating the impact of studies of international alumni of Czech higher education institutions on their careers and life after completing their studies.

The survey is carried out by the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS), which will use the results to improve and deepen relations between international alumni and the Czech Republic within the national programme Czech Republic Alumni.

To open the questionnaire, click the "Run" button.

Please fill out the questionnaire at your earliest convenience, latest by 31st December 2021. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

If you are not an international alumna or alumnus who have studied a short-term or long-term bachelor's, master’s, or doctoral study programme at a Czech higher education institution, please consider this email and the instruction to fill in the questionnaire as irrelevant.

All information you provide to us will be processed completely anonymously and only in aggregate form. If there is anything else you would like to share with us, please contact alumni@studyin.cz.

Thank you for your time!

Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS) is a publicly-funded organisation falling under the competence of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Our main objective is to facilitate international cooperation in education and encourage as many different individuals and institutions as possible to become involved in international activities. We provide information, consultancy, and analytical services to all target groups active in education. For more information, please visit our website https://www.dzs.cz/en/about-dzs/.

Categories: News from UP

Combining phenomics and metabolomics gives new possibilities in biostimulant research

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 01/12/2021 - 12:00

A total of 11 biostimulants obtained by hydrolysis of plant waste material and their effect on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana were studied by researchers from CATRIN, Palacký University, PSI and Italian universities. By combining automated large-scale plant phenotyping with non-targeted metabolomics, they not only described the functions of individual biostimulants but also revealed their mechanisms of action. The work was published in Frontiers in Plant Science.

“In this paper, we show how plant phenotyping has been linked to the study of the action of biostimulants in an attempt to explain their mechanism of action by combining omics approaches, specifically phenomics and metabolomics. This linkage is not very common yet in the world of biostimulants, and we with our Italian colleagues are the ones using it the most. Together with us, Italy is one of the pioneering countries using plant phenotyping in biostimulant research and development,” said Lukáš Spíchal, one of the authors of the paper. 

The researchers used a high-throughput screening approach based on simple RGB imaging combined with non-targeted metabolomics. They investigated the effect of biostimulants on Arabidopsis thaliana grown under optimal conditions and under salt stress, which in nature is associated with prolonged drought. The traits related to growth and development were evaluated by the experts during and at the end of the growth period. Of the 11 biostimulants, they identified two highly effective growth regulators that alleviate plant stress. 

“This is a demonstration study where we have tried the procedures on a model plant. Subsequently, we intend to apply this approach to specific agricultural crops,” Spíchal outlined the following steps.

The research is a continuation of a long-term collaboration with PSI (Photon Systems Instruments) within the CzPPN (Czech Plant Phenotyping Network), which in this case concerns the use of phenotyping technologies for large-scale testing of biostimulants. Italian colleagues contributed with experience in non-targeted metabolomics.

The use of plant biostimulants contributes to sustainable agriculture and their recovery by recycling waste products from industrial crop processing is in line with the concept of circular economy. Interest in biostimulants and related research has been expressed by industrial partners themselves. “Industry has asked for the help of science. The methods we are developing are also needed by companies to eventually certify their products for use on the European market,” Spíchal concluded.

Sorrentino M., De Diego N., Ugena L., Spíchal L., Lucini L., Miras-Moreno B., Zhang L., Rouphael Y., Colla G., Panzarová K.: Seed Priming With Protein Hydrolysates Improves Arabidopsis Growth and Stress Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses. Frontiers in Plant Science 2021, 12:626301. IF=5,753
DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2021.626301

Categories: News from UP

Highlights of the Aurora Autumn Biannual in Tarragona

News: Faculty of Science - Mon, 29/11/2021 - 08:45

Between November 15th and 18th, a UP delegation visited our partners at the University of Rovira i Virgili, to participate in the Aurora Autumn Biannual in Tarrgona, Spain. The biannual was a great success and an excellent opportunity to meet in person and strengthen the ties with all of our partners.

The Biannual combined plenary sessions with intensive workgroup and management meetings. The absolute highlight of the event was the signing of the Multilateral Aurora Mobility Agreement. This agreement opens up many new mobility possibilities for both students and staff, between all Aurora Universities. 

During the Biannual, the Aurora top-management met twice, during the Aurora Presidents’ Strategic session and the Aurora Council meeting. During these meetings, the Presidents and Institutional Coordinators of all Aurora institutions came together to discuss the progress so far, as well as the next steps and the road ahead. The ICs also met on Monday the 15th in preparation for the two Aurora top-management meetings on the following days.  

The plenary sessions covered topics such as the inclusion of soft skills and SDG-perspective in the teaching of Aurora Universities through the use of the Aurora Competence Framework, as well as approaches and opportunities to internationalization of the curriculum. Featured were several highlevel debates, with prominent keynote speakers such as Xavier Prats Monné, the former Director-General for Education and Culture of the European Comission.  

The voice of students was given center stage during the event. In the weekend before the start of the biannual, students for all Aurora Universities gathered in Tarragona early to participate in the Aurora Student’s Design Thinking Jam, and give their input on what the Aurora Universities can do to facilitate meaningful international experiences for their students.

The outcomes of this session, ranging from the need for Aurora Student Events to mental health support and tackling issues with inclusivity were presented to the Aurora community during the biannual by the students themselves. Palacký University was excellently represented by four its students from four different faculties: Hanuš Patera (Faculty of Arts), Dominik Voráč (Faculty of Education), Serge Nengali (Faculty of Law), and Dominik Hlubek (Faculty of Science).  

On the 18th of November, a dedicated Kick-off for the Aurora Research & Innovation program took place. During the kick-off the leaders of the various Aurora RI activities got together to present their activities and the way forward, identifying the where and how to collaborate most efficiently.

 

A part of the UP delegation.

The UP delegation, together with the University of Innsbruck‘s delegation.

The Aurora Research & Innovation activity leaders.

Categories: News from UP

Scientists used computer experiments to model lipids in COVID-19 vaccines

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 24/11/2021 - 13:00

How do lipids used in current mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 behave? Can they affect the vaccines’ properties? Why are they stored under different conditions? It is these questions that motivated computational chemists from CATRIN of Palacký University and from IT4Innovations VSB-TUO, Ostrava, to carry out research that led to creating a unique model of lipids used in COVID-19 vaccines. The theoretical study was published (on the cover page) by The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Without lipid nanoparticles, mRNA vaccines would be impossible. They form a protective coating around the mRNA and ensure its safe transport to human cells. But why do Moderna’s and Pfizer&BioNTech’s vaccines have different properties when they vary only minimally in composition?

“Given our relatively extensive experience in simulating lipids, lipid proteins and their interactions with other substances, we were interested to find out the reason. Using computer molecular dynamic simulations, we were able to create a model of the lipid mixture used in vaccines and describe why the mixture used in the Moderna vaccine is more stable. We have also described the basic behaviour of lipids,” said one of the authors of the theoretical study, Markéta Paloncýová.

“The computer simulations we run can provide unique information about the behaviour of highly complex molecular systems, with atomic resolution. The point is that we can intervene relatively easily to alter the conditions and composition of the studied systems. Using supercomputers, we are able to carry out experiments that are almost inconceivable in practice, and we thus obtain valuable information, that could be used, for example, to design new ‘delivery envelopes’ for cell therapies,” said another author, Michal Otyepka.

Computational chemists created various models of lipid mixtures on the supercomputer of the Ostrava centre IT4Innovations, ranging from simple bilayers to complex systems. They also played with the pH setting since ionisable lipids are employed because they alter charge and properties when the pH is changed.

“We found that the ionisable lipids—the lipids specific to nanoparticles in vaccines—behave differently from the common lipids we have in our bodies. They don’t tend to form simple membranes, but rather disordered 3D structures. Also, with the other lipids used, they do not produce a homogeneous mixture, but ionisable lipids create a special phase, which in turn interacts with RNA,” said Markéta Paloncýová.

The study of lipids in the context of mRNA vaccines is being conducted, among others, in an effort to find a compromise regarding their stability. They must be stable enough to deliver RNA, but at the same time they mustn’t accumulate in the body.

“Our long-term goal is to understand what exactly lipids and their structural elements cause, and how they affect the properties of the vaccine. Its global functioning in the body is already known, but, in an experiment, atomic resolution is not possible to achieve. Such an insight can be provided by simulations only. So far, we’ve been only able to model a small portion of the nanoparticle. In the future, we would like to model a whole nanoparticle and do a multiscale modelling. Understanding the interactions between RNA and lipids at the atomic level may lead to proposing a better composition of lipid nanoparticles and properties of RNA-based vaccines and other drugs,” said Paloncýová.

Categories: News from UP

University Crisis Council calls for maintaining government measures and warns of sanctions

News: Faculty of Science - Sun, 14/11/2021 - 15:08

At its Friday meeting, the Crisis Council of Palacký University Olomouc strongly urged university students and employees to faithfully follow government measures and hygienic recommendations and requirements. There have been no fundamental changes regarding the current valid regime at UP premises; nevertheless, it is important to fully maintain the rules already in place. The main things are to use defined respiratory protection in all university spaces including dormitories and dining halls, and provide proof of being virus-free at the dorms.

The Crisis Council warns that not maintaining the government measures, or any circumvention of them whatsoever, can result not only in increasing the risk of infection and threats upon the health of yourself and others, in some cases there can even be criminal repercussions for the negligent individual.

Information on the current valid conditions at UP premises can be found on the webpage www.upol.cz/en/covid-19/; current Czech Ministry of Health information on the coronavirus can be found here; and all important Czech Government information on the coronavirus epidemic can be found on this page.

At the same time, the UP Crisis Council would like to remind everyone that it continues to be in the best interests of all of us to have maximum mutual consideration and behave preventively. This is why we will continue to maintain the 5 Rules (respirators, hand sanitizer, maintaining safe distance, being sensible, respect); to not underestimate the symptoms of respiratory illness; to not increase risk for those around us; to get vaccinated, if possible; and if it is not possible, to get regularly tested.

This appeal in conjunction with the current epidemic situation is also being published by the Student Chamber of the UP Academic Senate.

Categories: News from UP

Czech scientists become first to observe an inhomogeneous electron charge distribution on an atom

News: Faculty of Science - Fri, 12/11/2021 - 09:00

Until now, observing subatomic structures was beyond the resolution capabilities of direct imaging methods, and this seemed unlikely to change. Czech scientists, however, have presented a method with which they became the first in the world to observe an inhomogeneous electron charge distribution around a halogen atom, thus confirming the existence of a phenomenon that had been theoretically predicted but never directly observed. Comparable to the first observation of a black hole, the breakthrough will facilitate understanding of interactions between individual atoms or molecules as well as of chemical reactions, and it opens a path to refinement of the material and structural properties of various physical, biological, and chemical systems. The breakthrough was published in Science.

In an extensive interdisciplinary collaboration, scientists from the Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute (CATRIN) of Palacký University Olomouc, the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (FZU), the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague), and the IT4Inovations Supercomputing Center at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava have succeeded in dramatically increasing the resolution capabilities of scanning microscopy, which several years ago enabled humankind to image individual atoms, and have thus moved beyond the atomic level to subatomic phenomena. The scientists have, for the very first time, directly observed an asymmetric electron density distribution on single atoms of halogen elements, the so-called sigma-hole. In doing so, they have definitively confirmed its existence, theoretically predicted some 30 years ago, and have overcome one of science’s longstanding challenges.

“Confirming the existence of the theoretically predicted sigma-holes is not unlike observing black holes, which had never been seen until only two years ago despite being predicted in 1915 by the general theory of relativity. Viewed in that sense, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the imaging of the sigma-hole represents a similar milestone at the atomic level,” explains Pavel Jelínek of FZU and CATRIN, a leading expert on the theoretical and experimental study of the physical and chemical properties of molecular structures on the surface of solid substances.

Until now, the existence of the phenomenon known as a sigma-hole had been indirectly demonstrated by X-ray crystal structures with a halogen bond, which revealed the surprising reality that chemically bonded halogen atoms of one molecule and nitrogen or oxygen atoms of a second molecule, which should repel one another, are in proximity and thus attract one another. This observation was in blatant contradiction with the premise that these atoms carry a homogenous negative charge and repel each other through electrostatic force.

This led the scientists to examine the subatomic structure of halogen using Kelvin probe force microscopy. They began by developing a theory describing the mechanism of the atomic resolution of the Kelvin probe, which allowed them to optimize the experimental conditions for imaging sigma-holes. The subsequent combination of experimental measurements and advanced quantum chemical methods resulted in a remarkable breakthrough – the first experimental visualization of an inhomogeneous electron density charge distribution, i.e. a sigma-hole – and the definitive confirmation of the concept of halogen bonds.

“We improved the sensitivity of our Kelvin probe force microscopy by functionalizing the tip probe with a single xenon atom, which allowed us to visualize the inhomogeneous charge distribution in a bromine atom within a molecule of brominated tetraphenylmethane, that is, a sigma-hole in real space, and confirm the theoretical prediction,” says Bruno de la Torre of CATRIN and FZU.

“When I saw the sigma-hole for the first time, I was certainly skeptical, because it implied that we had overcome the resolution limit of the microscopes down to the subatomic level. Once I had accepted that, I felt both proud of our contribution in pushing the limits of the experiment and pleased to have opened a path for other researchers to go further and apply this knowledge in discovering new effects at the single-atom level,” adds de la Torre.

According to the scientists, the ability to image an inhomogeneous electron density charge distribution on individual atoms will, among other things, lead to a better understanding of the reactivity of individual molecules and the reason for the arrangement of various molecular structures. “I think it’s safe to say that imaging with subatomic resolution is going to have an impact on various fields of science, including chemistry, physics, and biology,” says Jelínek.

“I’ve studied noncovalent interactions all my life, and it gives me great satisfaction that we can now observe something that previously we could “see” only in theory and that the experimental measurements precisely confirm our theoretical premise of the existence and shape of the sigma-hole. It will allow us to better understand these interactions and interpret them,” says computational chemist Pavel Hobza of IOCB Prague, who performed the advanced quantum chemical calculations on the supercomputers at IT4Inovations in Ostrava. “What we’re seeing is that halogen bonds and noncovalent interactions in general play a dominant role not only in biology but also in materials science. That makes our current paper in Science all the more important,” adds Hobza.

The characteristic shape of the sigma-hole is formed by a positively charged crown surrounded by a belt of negative electron density. This inhomogeneous charge distribution leads to the formation of a halogen bond, which plays a key role in, among other things, supramolecular chemistry, including molecular crystal engineering, and in biological systems.

A precise knowledge of the electron charge distribution on atoms is necessary for an understanding of the interactions between individual atoms and molecules, including chemical reactions. Thus, the new imaging method opens the door to refinement of the material and structural properties of many physical, biological, and chemical systems affecting everyday life.

 

The original paper: B. Mallada, A. Gallardo, M. Lamanec, B. de la Torre, V. Špirko, P. Hobza and P. Jelinek. Real-space imaging of anisotropic charge of σ-hole by means of Kelvin probe force microscopy. Science 2021, in press. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abk1479

 

Illustration

Schematic view showing the principle of the experiment that made it possible to visualize the sigma-hole on a bromine (Br) atom in a molecule using a specially modified tip of a scanning microscope functionalized with a single xenon (Xe) atom. Top: schematic view of the tip of the scanning microscope with single xenon (Xe) atom. Center: an experimental illustration of the sigma-hole acquired by means of a scanning microscope using the Kelvin probe principle. Bottom: electrostatic potential map depicting the sigma-hole (inhomogeneous atomic charge distribution on a bromine atom), which is formed by a positive charge on top of the atom (blue crown) surrounded by a negative electron plume (red field).

Categories: News from UP

Faculty of Physical Culture celebrates 30 years of activities and hosts a silver graduation ceremony

News: Faculty of Science - Tue, 09/11/2021 - 15:00

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of its establishment in 1991, the UP Faculty of Physical Culture will organise awards for successful student athletes, prepare profiles of outstanding graduates and summaries of their practical experience, and hold a photo exhibition, to name just a few of the activities planned for the coming months. The celebrations will culminate on 3–4 June 2022 with a large alumni reunion, which will include the first ever silver graduation ceremony organised by the faculty.

The focus of the anniversary commemorations is on the graduates and the opportunities that the field of physical culture offers, not only in terms of employment. “The concept of the celebration is a mature, 30-year-old lady calling her children back to her, as she wants to see them. This is why we focus all activities and events on our graduates, on establishing and deepening our connection, on presenting what the faculty has achieved over the years, what we are currently doing and what we can offer, for example in further education, as well as how we can be useful to each other. At the same time, we want to draw attention to the fact that our faculty produces prominent and successful experts who do meaningful work, often staying in the region and giving it some added value. They are not ‘just physical education teachers’, as the graduates of sports faculties are often described,” said Michal Šafář, dean of the UP Faculty of Physical Education.

The programme of the celebration of the faculty’s 30th anniversary includes events that have a long tradition at the faculty, such as awards for successful student athletes and the social evenings Recreparty and APA Carnival. The theme of the 30th anniversary will also unfold in events such as the annual conference Sport Psychology in Practice, which will take place in January. Its guests will include faculty graduates holding various interesting jobs in the field of sports. In addition to traditional events, the faculty will also present some of its successful alumni – coaches, managers, entrepreneurs, headmasters – through their biographical profiles, as well as at a planned talk.

The culmination of the celebrations will be the alumni reunion, planned for 3–4 June 2022. Among other things, the first ever silver graduation ceremony for graduates who completed their studies at the faculty 25 years ago will take place in the Archbishop’s Palace in Olomouc. Long-term meritorious employees of the faculty will also be awarded, and there will be a social and cultural programme as well as guided tours of the faculty’s departments. Details of all upcoming events will be continuously published on the faculty website and on social networks.

The Palacký University Olomouc Faculty of Physical Culture commenced its activities on 1 January 1991, with Bohuslav Hodaň as its first elected dean. The faculty consisted of six departments and a laboratory of human motor functions, and its first students had originally applied for Physical Education at the UP Faculty of Education. The first graduation ceremony took place on 24 June 1991, and three months later the first students who applied to study at the new faculty were matriculated. The nineties were marked by further refinement of study programmes and the introduction of the credit system, while the faculty successfully entered the international arena with its scientific activities and began to cooperate with foreign experts such as James Sallis, who received the first honorary doctorate of the UP Faculty of Physical Education in 2012.

At present, the faculty consists of eight departments: the Department of Adapted Physical Activities, the Department of Physiotherapy, the Department of Natural Sciences in Kinanthropology, the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, the Department of Social Sciences in Kinanthropology, the Department of Sport, the Institute of Active Lifestyle, and the BALUO Application Centre, which is a unique scientific and technical park in the Czech Republic which promotes healthy lifestyles. In addition to traditional physical education teaching, the curriculum includes programmes focussing on physical activity of people with special needs, physiotherapy, the “dual career” of top athletes, and many more.

Categories: News from UP

Scientists from IT4Innovations and CATRIN join forces

News: Faculty of Science - Fri, 05/11/2021 - 12:00

Presenting research activities alongside discussing the possibilities for cooperation was the main goal of the joint workshop of IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Centre at VSB – Technical University of Ostrava and the Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute (CATRIN) of Palacký University, which took place in Ostrava on Thursday, November 4. About thirty scientists focused on, in particular, seeking synergies in the areas of high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence.

“Digital technologies are penetrating not only to all areas of science and technology, but also to everyday life. We have years of experience with their applications and therefore can tackle the most diverse tasks, which we are also able to offer to colleagues at CATRIN. Joint workshops are a very effective way to describe our research activities in more detail and find out which topics may overlap,” said IT4Innovations Scientific Director, Tomáš Kozubek, at the start of the workshop.

The representatives of the two research centres presented a total of 12 research topics—especially those which can make use of supercomputers’ capabilities or the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence. These are areas in which the two scientific institutes can benefit each other.

“If we manage to combine our expertise and know-how in the fields of the development of new nanomaterials, methods for their rational design, or computer simulations of biomolecules with the experience of colleagues at IT4I in the fields of artificial intelligence and HPC, we can push the boundaries of knowledge even faster and more efficiently in the future. Our mutual interest is doing cutting-edge science while exploiting the potential of multidisciplinary collaboration to the maximum. Together, we want to target important topics such as new functional nanomaterials, efficient electricity storage, or the design of systems for targeted drug delivery inside cells,” said CATRIN Director Pavel Banáš, who gave a presentation, alongside Piotr Blonski, Miroslav Medveď, Michal Langer, Markéta Paloncýová or Petr Lazar.

“Significant advances in science cannot be made in isolation from the rest of the world. Current scientific projects are bringing together dozens and sometimes hundreds of scientists, often from different parts of the world, but mostly from different scientific disciplines. Today’s science is all about teamwork—collaborations among scientific workplaces always bear fruit. Finding key topics and connecting the research teams more closely is what I expect from today’s meeting with colleagues from CATRIN,” said Kozubek, commenting on the need to develop cooperation.

The Ostrava workshop will be followed by another joint meeting at the beginning of next year, this time round at CATRIN.

Categories: News from UP

Regime at UP from 15 November 2021 regarding Covid-19, including the rector’s recommendations and decrees

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 27/10/2021 - 21:00

In conjunction with the persisting presence of Covid-19, in the following text we summarise the currently valid measures which apply to the regime at Palacký University, including

additional recommendations and decrees of UP Rector Martin Procházka, emphasised below.

We will update the wording of these measures and recommendations on an ongoing basis as the situation develops.

Respiratory protection

In conjunction with the emergency measure of Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic of 27 October 2021, and its amendment of 10 November 2021, from Monday 15 November until further notice, movement and stay without respiratory protective equipment will be prohibited for all persons in the internal areas of the university buildings, in the internal areas of the catering establishments, when attending congresses, educational events and examinations conducted in person. The respiratory protective device used must be a respirator or similar device (always without an exhalation valve), fulfilling at least all technical conditions and requirements (for the product) including a filtration efficiency of at least 94 % according to the relevant standards (e.g. FFP2, CN 95).

Respiratory protection can be removed when for example:

  • students attend educational activities whose character does not allow for respiratory protection (i.e. physical education, singing, playing wind instruments);
  • educational and academic workers attend educational activities whose character does not allow for respiratory protection (i.e. physical education, singing, playing wind instruments), if said workers keep at least 1.5 metres’ distance from others;
  • students are seated at desks or otherwise seated during lessons; and if no more than 50 students are present at the same time;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises students to use the defined respiratory protection during educational activities (unless the given specifics of the subject do not allow for it);

  • educational and academic workers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for at least 14 days are at lessons;
    (Clarification: This requirement has been established for a group of people, not upon employers. Only a public official can monitor compliance with this order.)

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises teachers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for at least 14 days to consider the use of the defined respiratory protection during educational activities and maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres away from students;

  • students and examiners are at exams, if all persons maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector strongly advises students and teachers to use the defined respiratory protection during educational activities even during exams, tests, and colloquia;

  • students are staying in their dormitory rooms (i.e. outside of shared spaces);
  • persons are involved in performing (e.g. theatrical, dance, or musical performances), persons are lecturing, or when persons are taking place in the creation and production of audiovisual works or programmes;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises lecturers, if they are UP employees, to use the defined respiratory protection during lectures;

  • persons are performing in radio, television, or other programmes;
  • customers at dining services premises are consuming food and drink, with the condition that the customer is seated at a table;
  • persons outside dining services are consuming food and drink, and only for the time when it is absolutely necessary;
  • persons are posing for photographic portraits, and only for the time when it is absolutely necessary.
Group academic ceremonies, cultural activities and social events (matriculations, graduations, social and sporting events)

At group academic ceremonies (matriculations and graduations), and at cultural, social, and sporting events (further, as “events”) it is necessary to ensure the following:

  • if the activity takes place indoors in university spaces, the persons taking part must use respiratory protection;
  • if there are more than twenty persons taking part at any one time, it is necessary to satisfy the conditions of the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 September 2021 (in Czech), i.e. in effect it is necessary to check that each participant is virus-free (the “O-N-T” system of proof of Vaccination-Prior Infection-Test).

At cultural, social, and sporting events which take place outdoors, it is necessary to ensure the following:

  • if the event is taking place outdoors and if at any time there are 30 or more participants who are not maintaining at least 1.5 metres’ distance from each other, the participants may attend only if they are using respiratory protection;
  • if at any time there are more than twenty people taking part in the event, then it necessary to satisfy the conditions of the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 September 2021 (in Czech), i.e. in effect it is necessary to check that each participant is virus-free (the “O-N-T” system of proof of Vaccination-Prior Infection-Test).

If necessary, public testing places can be used.

The above measures (in Czech) however do not apply to lessons taught at universities, according to Law No. 111/1998, Czech Law Coll., the Universities Statute. When taking part in lessons, according to the Universities Statute, one does not have to prove one is virus-free, with the exception in the situation listed below when arriving from abroad.

NB: Students are however required to provide proof of being virus-free at dormitories, by providing a recognised certificate of vaccination against Covid-19, or a laboratory test proving that they have undergone the illness, or a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours-old, or a negative antigen test no more than 24 hours-old. Students are required to present such proof upon registration at the dormitory; if giving test results, then every 7 days afterwards.

NB: Students who are carrying out work, doing their teaching requirements, or practical preparations at workplaces of legal or physical persons, fall under the regulations of their employers at that workplace, including for example students of the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry when carrying out said work or internships at University Hospital Olomouc.

The UP Rector advises that teachers instruct students of the importance of being virus-free before the start of teaching activities and exams.

Accommodation at dormitories

For those residing at dormitories, these conditions are in effect according to the Czech Ministry of Health edict of 27 October 2021 (in Czech), with these further conditions (in Czech) regarding respiratory protection.

Arrivals from abroad

Here are the rules for students and employees arriving from abroad.

Categories: News from UP

Regime at UP from 1 November 2021 regarding Covid-19, including the rector’s recommendations and decrees

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 27/10/2021 - 21:00
For the rules valid until Sunday, 31 October 2021, click here.

In conjunction with the persisting presence of Covid-19, in the following text we summarise the currently valid measures which apply to the regime at Palacký University, including

additional recommendations and decrees of UP Rector Martin Procházka, emphasised below.

We will update the wording of these measures and recommendations on an ongoing basis as the situation develops.

Respiratory protection

In conjunction with the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 October 2021 (in Czech), as of 1 November 2021 until further notice, respirators are mandatory on university premises including accommodation. Respirators or similar protection (without exhalation valves) must satisfy the minimum technical requirements (for manufacture) including a filtration efficiency of at least 94% according to standard norms (e.g. FFP2, KN95) for all persons inside university buildings, including dining services, during participation in congresses, educational activities, and tests conducted in person.

Respiratory protection can be removed when for example:

Changes to the existing regime regard mainly lecturers at teaching activities whose character does not allow for wearing respiratory protection, where respiratory protection must again be worn by lecturers who are situated less than 1.5 metres’ distance from students, and for lecturers who have not been vaccinated, who must wear respiratory protection. Details are listed below and the Ministry of Health emergency measures themselves (in Czech).

  • students attend educational activities whose character does not allow for respiratory protection (i.e. physical education, singing, playing wind instruments);
  • educational and academic workers attend educational activities whose character does not allow for respiratory protection (i.e. physical education, singing, playing wind instruments), if said workers keep at least 1.5 metres’ distance from others;
  • students are seated at desks or otherwise seated during lessons;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises students to use the defined respiratory protection during educational activities (unless the given specifics of the subject do not allow for it);

  • educational and academic workers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for at least 14 days are at lessons;
    (Clarification: This requirement has been established for a group of people, not upon employers. Only a public official can monitor compliance with this order.)

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises teachers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for at least 14 days to consider the use of the defined respiratory protection during educational activities and maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres away from students;

  • students and examiners are at exams, if all persons maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector strongly advises students and teachers to use the defined respiratory protection during educational activities even during exams, tests, and colloquia;

  • students are staying in their dormitory rooms (i.e. outside of shared spaces);
  • persons are involved in performing (e.g. theatrical, dance, or musical performances), persons are lecturing, or when persons are taking place in the creation and production of audiovisual works or programmes;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises lecturers, if they are UP employees, to use the defined respiratory protection during lectures;

  • persons are performing in radio, television, or other programmes;
  • customers at dining services premises are consuming food and drink, with the condition that the customer is seated at a table;
  • persons outside dining services are consuming food and drink, and only for the time when it is absolutely necessary;
  • persons are posing for photographic portraits, and only for the time when it is absolutely necessary.
Group academic ceremonies, cultural activities and social events (matriculations, graduations, social and sporting events)

At group academic ceremonies (matriculations and graduations), and at cultural, social, and sporting events (further, as “events”) it is necessary to ensure the following:

  • if the activity takes place indoors in university spaces, the persons taking part must use respiratory protection;
  • if there are more than twenty persons taking part at any one time, it is necessary to satisfy the conditions of the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 September 2021 (in Czech), i.e. in effect it is necessary to check that each participant is virus-free (the “O-N-T” system of proof of Vaccination-Prior Infection-Test).

At cultural, social, and sporting events which take place outdoors, it is necessary to ensure the following:

  • if the event is taking place outdoors and if at any time there are 30 or more participants who are not maintaining at least 1.5 metres’ distance from each other, the participants may attend only if they are using respiratory protection;
  • if at any time there are more than twenty people taking part in the event, then it necessary to satisfy the conditions of the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 September 2021 (in Czech), i.e. in effect it is necessary to check that each participant is virus-free (the “O-N-T” system of proof of Vaccination-Prior Infection-Test).

If necessary, public testing places can be used.

The above measures (in Czech) however do not apply to lessons taught at universities, according to Law No. 111/1998, Czech Law Coll., the Universities Statute. When taking part in lessons, according to the Universities Statute, one does not have to prove one is virus-free, with the exception in the situation listed below when arriving from abroad.

NB: Students are however required to provide proof of being virus-free at dormitories, by providing a recognised certificate of vaccination against Covid-19, or a laboratory test proving that they have undergone the illness, or a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours-old, or a negative antigen test no more than 24 hours-old. Students are required to present such proof upon registration at the dormitory; if giving test results, then every 7 days afterwards.

NB: Students who are carrying out work, doing their teaching requirements, or practical preparations at workplaces of legal or physical persons, fall under the regulations of their employers at that workplace, including for example students of the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry when carrying out said work or internships at University Hospital Olomouc.

The UP Rector advises that teachers instruct students of the importance of being virus-free before the start of teaching activities and exams.

Accommodation at dormitories

For those residing at dormitories, these conditions (in Czech) are in effect according to the Czech Ministry of Health edict of 20 August 2021 (in Czech), with these further conditions (in Czech) regarding respiratory protection.

Arrivals from abroad

Here are the rules for students and employees arriving from abroad.

Categories: News from UP

Regime at UP from 25 October 2021 regarding Covid-19, including the rector’s recommendations and decrees

News: Faculty of Science - Sat, 23/10/2021 - 20:02

In conjunction with the persisting presence of Covid-19, in the following text we summarise the currently valid measures which apply to the regime at Palacký University, including additional

recommendations and decrees of UP Rector Martin Procházka, emphasised below.

We will update the wording of these measures and recommendations on an ongoing basis as the situation develops.

Respiratory protection

In conjunction with the the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 22 October 2021 (in Czech), as of 25 October 2021 until further notice, respirators are mandatory on university premises including accommodation. Respirators or similar protection (without exhalation valves) must satisfy the minimum technical requirements (for manufacture) including a filtration efficiency of at least 94% according to standard norms (e.g. FFP2, KN95) for all persons inside university buildings, including dining services, during participation in congresses, educational activities, and tests conducted in person.

Respiratory protection can be removed when for example:

  • students and academics attend educational activities whose character does not allow for respiratory protection (i.e. physical education, singing, playing wind instruments);
  • students are seated at desks or otherwise seated during lessons;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises students to use the defined respiratory protection during educational activities (unless the given specifics of the subject do not allow for it);

  • teachers and academic workers are at lessons;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises teachers to consider the use of the defined respiratory protection during educational activities and maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres away from students;

  • students and examiners are at exams, if all persons maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector strongly advises students and teachers to use the defined respiratory protection during educational activities even during exams, tests, and colloquia;

  • students are staying in their dormitory rooms (i.e. outside of shared spaces);
  • persons are involved in performing (e.g. theatrical, dance, or musical performances), persons are lecturing, or when persons are taking place in the creation and production of audiovisual works or programmes;

    however in order to eliminate the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus at UP, the UP rector advises lecturers, if they are UP employees, to use the defined respiratory protection during lectures;

  • persons are performing in radio, television, or other programmes;
  • customers at dining services premises are consuming food and drink, with the condition that the customer is seated at a table;
  • persons outside dining services are consuming food and drink, and only for the time when it is absolutely necessary;
  • persons are posing for photographic portraits, and only for the time when it is absolutely necessary.
Group academic ceremonies, cultural activities and social events (matriculations, graduations, social and sporting events)

At group academic ceremonies (matriculations and graduations), and at cultural, social, and sporting events (further, as “events”) it is necessary to ensure the following:

  • if the activity takes place indoors in university spaces, the persons taking part must use respiratory protection;
  • if there are more than twenty persons taking part at any one time, it is necessary to satisfy the conditions of the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 September 2021 (in Czech), i.e. in effect it is necessary to check that each participant is virus-free (the “O-N-T” system of proof of Vaccination-Prior Infection-Test).

At cultural, social, and sporting events which take place outdoors, it is necessary to ensure the following:

  • if the event is taking place outdoors and if at any time there are 30 or more participants who are not maintaining at least 1.5 metres’ distance from each other, the participants may attend only if they are using respiratory protection;
  • if at any time there are more than twenty people taking part in the event, then it necessary to satisfy the conditions of the emergency measure of the Czech Ministry of Health of 27 September 2021 (in Czech), i.e. in effect it is necessary to check that each participant is virus-free (the “O-N-T” system of proof of Vaccination-Prior Infection-Test).

If necessary, public testing places can be used.

The above measures however do not apply to lessons taught at universities, according to Law No. 111/1998, Czech Law Coll., the Universities Statute. When taking part in lessons, according to the Universities Statute, one does not have to prove one is virus-free, with the exception in the situation listed below when arriving from abroad.

The UP Rector advises that teachers instruct students of the importance of being virus-free before the start of teaching activities and exams.

Accommodation at dormitories

For those residing at dormitories, these conditions (in Czech) are in effect according to the Czech Ministry of Health edict of 20 August 2021 (in Czech), with these further conditions (in Czech) regarding respiratory protection.

Arrivals from abroad

Here are the rules for students and employees arriving from abroad.

Categories: News from UP

Roll up your sleeves! Second year of blood donation contest

News: Faculty of Science - Thu, 14/10/2021 - 09:00

For the second time now, students of the UP Faculty of Health Sciences are challenging their peers and employees from other UP faculties to a blood donation and now also blood plasma donation contest. The challenge will run the entire winter semester under the motto “Roll Up Your Sleeves” and will culminate with the announcement of the results during the UP Academic Days in February 2022.

The contest will be launched on Wednesday, 20 October at 8 am at the Transfusion Department of University Hospital Olomouc; UP Rector Martin Procházka and Dean of the UP Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) Jiří Vévoda have promised to participate along with other early donors.

The competition will measure the total volume of blood donated by students and employees of each individual faculty, and the percentage of donors among students. Compared to the first year, other categories have been added. “As new plasmapheresis centres have been opened, the Transfusion Department reports a shortage of blood plasma donors. Therefore, we have added a new category this year, allowing blood plasma donations to join the competition as well. In addition, participants can look forward to other smaller competitions and quizzes with prizes from our sponsors,” said Simona Konečná from the organising UP FHS Student Association.

It is possible to donate blood or blood plasma at any donation point in Olomouc. Joining the competition is very easy: just fill in the form, receive a stamp at the selected donation point, and then place the form into one of the collection boxes located at the faculties as well as at the Olomouc Transfusion Department.

“Dear students, reach out to your classmates, friends, and teachers; together let’s help those who have been less fortunate,” Konečná said in her call for student participation.

The competition of faculties is organised by the UP FHS Student Association in cooperation with the UP Communications Office and the Transfusion Department in University Hospital Olomouc. The second year of the competition will be held throughout the winter semester and will culminate during the traditional Donate Blood with the Rector event, an integral part of the UP Academic Days in February, during which the Olomouc’s university commemorates its re-establishment in 1946.

During the first year, students and employees donated a total of over 119 litres of blood, with the Faculty of Science contributing the most. You can recall last year's Battle of the Faculties through this article.

Palacký University Olomouc has been supporting blood donation for a long time; it was recently awarded a commemorative plaque and a certificate of appreciation by the Czech Red Cross Olomouc for supporting blood donation and the activities of the Czech Red Cross. Information about the traditional event Donate Blood with the Rector and more can be found here.

Categories: News from UP

Historian Stejskal elected Dean of the Faculty of Arts

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 13/10/2021 - 16:02

From 1 February 2022, the UP Faculty of Arts (UP FA) will be headed by Associate Professor of History Jan Stejskal. The decision was made by the members of the UP FA Academic Senate at the election session on 13 October. The current chairperson of the senate and former head of the UP FA Department of History was the only candidate to run for the 2022–2026 term.

Stejskal received the necessary majority of votes in the first round, with 18 senators voting for his election. “Thank you for your votes of confidence. Let me just say that I am a man of consensus, a parliamentarian. Things will be negotiated at our faculty, they will be done after joint deliberation, nothing will be forcefully implemented. I look forward to working together in the years to come and may we all thrive here – our faculty is worth it," said Jan Stejskal following his election win.

At the same time, he assured his audience that he was going to resign from the position of the chairperson of the UP FA Academic Senate, which he currently holds for the second term. Therefore, the Senate will hold another election at its next meeting, which will take place on 10 November, this time to elect a new chairperson.

Jan Stejskal will take the helm of the faculty on 1 February 2022, after being appointed by the UP rector. He will replace Prof Zdeněk Pechal from the Department of Slavonic Studies at the UP Faculty of Arts, who took over the leadership of the faculty in 2018. Associate Professor Stejskal had been nominated as a candidate for dean in that election, but he declined to run. This time however, he was the only one who agreed to run in the current election.

As dean, he wants to put emphasis on the development of a friendly and safe environment for study and work, the promotion of doctoral studies, better use of the potential of institutional accreditation, further cultivation of internationalisation as well as project and grant activities, digitalisation of the study and personnel paperwork, and the promotion of sustainability at the faculty.

 

Jan Stejskal (b. 1970) graduated from the UP Faculty of Arts and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He continued his postgraduate studies at the Institute of History at the Czech Academy of Sciences and at the UP Faculty of Arts. He also gained experience and valuable contacts during his internships at the International Medieval Institute, the University of Leeds, and the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. Before he started working at the UP FA Department of History, he worked as an archivist and information analyst at Radio Free Europe. He has been employed at the UP FA Department of History since 1999, being its head from 2014 to 2018. He was appointed Associate Professor of History in 2009. His professional work focusses mainly on the late medieval period, the history of monasticism, and Italian humanism of the 15th century. He is a member of the UP FA Scholarly Board as well as several disciplinary boards at UP FA and at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Pardubice, and an evaluator of the National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education.

Categories: News from UP

Palacký University expands its partnership in Israel

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 13/10/2021 - 10:57

Expansion of the existing cooperation in science and research, more opportunities for student exchanges, and mutual sharing of experience will result from the visit of Rector Martin Procházka and other representatives of UP management to Israel.

Israel is a very interesting partner for Czech universities, as its universities and science institutes are leaders in many areas of science and research. “The aim of our visit was to establish closer cooperation with local universities with the prospect of progressive deepening. Israel is a very advanced country, especially in technology, while we have an abundance of top experts, so we can support cooperation between our successful scientific teams and centres. We are in contact with several Israeli universities where we are discussing the possibilities of cooperation, deepening partnerships in science and within the Erasmus programmes, and expanding the practical opportunities both for our students and Olomouc teachers directly in Israel,” said Rector Procházka.

He added that the Israeli side is interested in expanding the existing cooperation with UP. An example is the study of medicine in Olomouc. “I believe, among other things, that the European accreditation our Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry has recently received will enable us to increase the number of Israeli students in Olomouc,” added Procházka. The visit of UP representatives resulted in signing the Memorandum of Cooperation and Understanding between Palacký University Olomouc and Bar-Ilan University, which is one of the largest in the country.

Representatives of the Czech Institute of Research and Advanced Technologies (CATRIN) of Palacký University also agreed to collaborate with researchers in Israel. They signed the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials (BINA). “BINA is a leading Israeli research institute in nanotechnology and one of the world leaders in many fields. We highly value our collaboration, which has already produced a tangible result in the form of the preparation of a joint project, and I am glad that we have formally confirmed our bond with this Memorandum,” said Pavel Banáš, Director of CATRIN.

The aim of the agreement is to strengthen ties between the two parties, facilitate exchange of scientific and technical knowledge, and strengthen the scientific and technical development of both institutions in materials science and nanotechnology. The Memorandum is concluded for a period of five years and may be extended thereafter. “Research is always a long journey, and we are happy to welcome CATRIN on board. In our joint endeavour, we can explore and bring forth new scientific knowledge in areas vital to humanity and thus contribute to improving the society we live in,” said BINA Director Dror Fixler.

Categories: News from UP

Unique security research tests new procedures for decontaminating the injured

News: Faculty of Science - Mon, 11/10/2021 - 08:00

Palacký University Olomouc and the National Institute for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection have collaborated on a national security research programme for the Czech Ministry of the Interior. The aim was to develop and test methodologies for decontamination of injured persons during emergencies related to the use of chemical, biological and radioactive substances. The results of the project will be delivered by the end of this year.

Certified methodologies describing and defining the procedures for decontamination of severely injured and bedridden persons in events such as terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, and natural disasters have not been available in Czechia to date. However, their creation is vital for patients in order to minimise the time of their stay at the disaster site, to maximise the efficiency of the triage system, to initiate treatment, and subsequently to maximise the efficiency of transport and start the hospital phase of treatment.

“Until now, it has been assumed that contaminated persons are only minimally injured. However, few experts have considered the fact that routine injuries can also occur when persons are contaminated, and there was no methodology for decontamination and simultaneous treatment of open injuries, for example. This lack has been evident not only in the pre-hospital phase of emergency medicine but also during emergency care in hospitals, i.e. in emergency departments. Healthcare professionals working in the field as well as in hospitals are not fully prepared for such issues,” said the project’s main investigator Petr Hubáček, a specialist in emergency medicine, formerly a researcher at the UP Faculty of Health Sciences, currently the chief physician at Domažlice Hospital. The project team led by him consisted of thirty experts; Palacký University was represented by academics from the UP Faculty of Health Sciences and the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, as well as employees of the UP Science and Technology Park.

“Both methodologies were preceded by very detailed research at national and international levels, comprising of a large number of laboratory tests provided by the National Institute for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection and the Department of Pharmacology at the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. These foundations gave rise to a preliminary version of the methodologies, which had to be tested in a ‘real’ situation; our research partners were the components of the national Integrated Rescue System, namely the Fire Brigade Rescue Corps of the Olomouc, Moravian-Silesian, and Pilsen regions, and the Medical Rescue Services of Prague and of the Olomouc and Moravian-Silesian regions. Up to 250 persons were involved in validation exercises, conducting a coordinated intervention which was measured and tested. The results of these exercises helped us define the maximum possible capacity of this methodology,” he added.

For instance, a large validation exercise took place in the spring of 2019 near Hlučín. Another exercise took place at Domažlice Hospital, where they also focussed on training hospital staff on how to wear protective clothing and on the specifics of treating patients under emergency conditions. This experience came in handy for the doctors and paramedics when the Covid-19 epidemic broke out shortly afterwards, and the hospital served as a “covid only” hospital for patients from the region.

The epidemic significantly affected the course of the project itself, given the nature of the research. “All preparation, training, and workshops related to the hospital phase of the project were interrupted. The cooperating units of the Integrated Rescue System, in particular the fire brigade and the participating hospitals, which had a key role in our project, were in the state of emergency until this May, so it was problematic, if not impossible, to invite them to join our training sessions. Due to these complications, the project was extended,” explained Hubáček.

After the epidemic situation eased at the beginning of the summer, work on the project resumed, and among other things, a set of instructional videos was created at Domažlice Hospital, which will be used to teach the staff of the national Integrated Rescue System. In the videos, 3D and virtual reality is used, which will allow more effective training. All project results, including the training programme, will be delivered by 31 December of this year.

Categories: News from UP

Rector Procházka and Dean Vévoda take inaugural oaths

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 06/10/2021 - 15:35

The new rector of Palacký University Olomouc, Martin Procházka, and the historically fourth dean of the UP Faculty of Health Sciences, Jiří Vévoda, have been inaugurated. They received their insignia and took their inaugural oaths at an assembly in the Archbishop’s Palace in Olomouc, which was attended not only by representatives of other faculties and departments of Palacký University, but also by representatives of other universities and prominent personalities of the region.

First, however, Jaroslav Miller, who headed Palacký University from 2014 until spring 2020, symbolically handed over the Rector’s Office to the UP Academic Senate chairperson, Jiří Langer. “I would like to wish the new rector and the dean every success on the path that Palacký University has taken. The path to a top research university in the wider Central European region, one which is highly internationalised and heard in the public space for its advocacy of an open society, freedom, and democracy,” said the former UP rector.

Then the chairperson of the Senate decorated Martin Procházka, who took over the leadership of Palacký University on 1 May this year, with the Rector’s chain. “It is an extraordinary honour and the absolute highlight of my academic career. I feel both proud and humbled when I think of the history of higher education in Olomouc and the long line of great men and women who have led the university,” said the new rector in the opening words to his inauguration speech.

Prof. MUDr. Martin Procházka, Ph.D.
Graduate of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Pardubice, Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, took over the Rector’s Office at Palacký University Olomouc on 1 May this year. Prior to his success in the elections for rector, he headed the UP Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) from 2019. Since 1994, he has worked at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (FMD) and University Hospital Olomouc (UHO), and later he headed the Department of Medical Genetics at the FMD and UHO and the Department of Midwifery at the UP Faculty of Health Sciences. His professional work focusses on perinatology, foetomaternal medicine, and medical genetics, especially on serious complications during pregnancy and the issue of hereditary disorders of blood clotting. As a physician, he specialises in high-risk pregnancies, thrombophilic conditions, and outpatient gynaecology and prenatal care, infertility, and endometriosis.

In his speech, he thanked his predecessor for the work he had done. Among other things, he emphasised again that he wanted to be a rector for students, one who always has an open door for them. “It is important for me to know what students think, to build relationships based on trust with them. I would like students to be involved as much as possible.” In his speech, the rector also mentioned that the art of critical thinking is a key skill which the university has to instil in its students for it is essential for orientation in the 21st century, amidst the flood of information. “We must try our best to defend academic freedom and freedom of research; we must strive to maintain an absolute top level of quality in science and research. It is important to encourage students to think and act independently and freely in the spirit of traditional European values; this is the most effective way to combat scepticism, populism, and other dangerous phenomena in society.”

Subsequently, Martin Procházka, as Rector and Dean Emeritus of the UP Faculty of Health Sciences, together with the chairperson of the UP FHS Academic Senate, Lukáš Merz, inaugurated Jiří Vévoda as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. The current Vice-Dean for Science, Research and Lifelong Learning succeeded in the dean’s election announced after Martin Procházka was elected Rector; Vévoda assumed the leadership of the faculty on 1 August 2021.

“The fact that it was my predecessor who has become the rector of our university shows that the Faculty of Health Sciences is an integral part of the association of faculties that are jointly and inseparably called Palacký University Olomouc. Although it is the youngest faculty, it has proved its indispensability in the last two years, as it educates non-medical professionals who have made a significant contribution to the handling of the pandemic in its darkest hour," recalled the UP FHS dean. In his inauguration speech, he thanked all those who are involved in teaching at the faculty in any way but at the same time noted that the faculty lacks its own specialised teaching and working spaces.

Mgr. Jiří Vévoda, Ph.D.
He has been heading the UP Faculty of Health Sciences as its fourth dean since 1 August this year. Previously, he was the Vice-Dean for Science, Research and Lifelong Learning, and after then dean Martin Procházka was elected UP rector, Vévoda was entrusted with the leadership of the faculty. He has been working at Palacký University since completing his doctoral studies in social medicine in 2010; his workplace is the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at UP FHS. He has also been a member of both the faculty and university Academic Senate (UP AS) and chairperson of the UP AS economic committee. In addition to teaching, he focusses mainly on psychosocial risks in health care and on the motivation and job satisfaction of health care personnel. He has managerial and economic work experience, having worked for the largest insurance company in the country and also at the Czech Ministry of Health.

He also pointed out that the time may not be far off when there will be a greater shortage of professionals in some non-medical health professions than there is now. “I am confident that health policy makers will realise the graveness of the situation and will begin to remedy it as soon as possible. The sooner the perception of the societal relevance and status of non-medical health professions improves, the easier it will be for me to implement my agenda announced in the dean’s election: high-quality professional education, a high degree of internationalisation, the growth of science and research, a safe working environment for both academics and administration, and a safe learning environment for our students,” concluded Vévoda.

During the ceremonial assembly at the Archbishop’s Palace, Martin Procházka and Jiří Vévoda also presented their teams of vice-rectors and vice-deans, respectively, who will help them to achieve their goals. The term of office for both high officials is four years, i.e. until 2025.

Categories: News from UP

Department of Romance Languages launches Spanish Centre

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 06/10/2021 - 08:00

In the presence of the Spanish Ambassador Ángel Lossada Torres-Quevedo, the Spanish Centre (Centro de Recursos) was inaugurated at the Department of Romance Languages, UP Faculty of Arts. The mission of the joint project of the Olomouc department and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in the Czech Republic is to promote the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language and the popularisation of Spanish culture.

“This is the only institution of its kind in the Czech Republic. We chose Olomouc because of its strategic location and good cooperation with local Hispanists,” said Ángel Lossada Torres-Quevedo at the ceremony. In addition to representatives of the Spanish embassy and the Department of Romance Languages, the event was also attended by the UP Faculty of Arts Dean, Zdeněk Pechal, and Spanish language teachers from Olomouc gymnasia with which the centre closely collaborates.

The Spanish Centre was inaugurated belatedly, after a year of operation. It was established at the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year, however the epidemic situation at that time did not allow physical congregations and toasts. However, this did not prevent the Centre from commencing its activities. “Even during the severe pandemic, high school students and our faculty students had an opportunity to chat via videoconferences with representatives of the Spanish Primera División football league or learn more about the rich culture of Andalusia,” said Radim Zámec, deputy head of the Department of Romance Languages.

In addition to lectures, workshops, webinars, and cultural activities for pupils and students, the centre is planning events for the public. “Our visitors can look forward to lectures on contemporary Spanish literature and a talk on new words that have found their way into common use in Spanish due to the pandemic,” he added.

The centre also hosts an extensive library. This is also open to both students and the public and includes hundreds of volumes of classic and modern Spanish literature, in addition to a comprehensive collection of books on linguistics and education.

The Spanish Centre is located at the Department of Romance Languages at 10 Křížkovského Street. Up-to-date information on opening hours and upcoming events will be posted on the department’s website.

Categories: News from UP

Function of a gene important for seed development deciphered

News: Faculty of Science - Mon, 04/10/2021 - 13:00

Scientists from the Institute of Experimental Botany, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic (IEB ASCR) in Olomouc have become the first in the world to unravel the function of a newly discovered gene that influences seed production and quality.  The discovery may help in breeding better and more resistant agricultural crops. Spanish experts from the Complutense University of Madrid were also involved in the research, which is reported in the prestigious journal Plant Cell.

The scientific group from the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics of Plants of IEB ASCR, which is part of the Centre of the Region Haná for Agricultural and Biotechnological Research, under the leadership of Aleš Pečinka, followed up on their earlier research on one of the protein SMC complexes involved in the storage of chromosomes in the cell nucleus. Back then, the Olomouc scientists had already discovered a gene in Arabidopsis thaliana that is related to seed formation. Now, after two more years of research, they have been able to precisely describe the process that is necessary for the formation of high-quality and viable seeds.  

"We first tried to find out if the disposition for poor seed development is inherited from both parents or just one of them. We were surprised to find that only the paternal side produces the defective seeds, so it is only the paternal hereditary information that causes them. This led us to the next step, a detailed study of pollen grains. We found that the plants we studied do not form regular oval and uniformly sized pollen grains, but instead very diverse pollen grains, ranging from quite small to very large," explained Fen Yang from the research team.  

Subsequently, the researchers began to investigate reductive cell division, called meiosis. It was then that extremely interesting and groundbreaking results emerged. 

"It turned out that during cell division, errors and skips of certain processes took place. The result was that about a third of the new germ cells acquired ten paternal chromosomes instead of the usual five, and the pollen grains containing them were therefore much larger. If an egg was fertilized, the produced embryo had two copies of the paternal hereditary information instead of one. We found that such a seed usually never developed at all. If it did, it was abnormally large and did not form storage substances," said Aleš Pečinka.

This new information has exceeded all expectations and will have a major impact on agricultural practice, according to Jaroslav Doležel, head of the laboratory and winner of the Czech government's National Award "Česká hlava".

"We have deepened our knowledge of the functioning of the SMC 5/6 protein complex, which is now receiving a lot of attention in the world. Thanks to this discovery, we can much better understand the mechanism responsible for the reductive cell division, which directly affects seed production. This is a very important process for breeders and farmers, which they now have the opportunity to influence.  The study of this interesting gene can thus contribute to the creation of new crop varieties with higher yields," explained Doležel.

The Olomouc scientists will continue their research.  According to Aleš Pečinka, they want to find out why reductive division does not take place. "So far, we have assumed that a disrupted organization of the filaments that pull chromosomes or sister chromatids to opposite poles of the cell could be to blame. Another possibility is that the chromosomes are dividing very slowly, so the cell decides to proceed to the next step without the division occurring. These are just our hypotheses which we will now be testing," he added.

Scientists and breeders around the world can start using the new scientific findings from Olomouc now. They can for example start to check whether this mechanism works in other plants and animals.

Categories: News from UP

British Ambassador discussed possibilities of cooperation at CATRIN

News: Faculty of Science - Thu, 30/09/2021 - 09:00

On Wednesday, the British Ambassador to the Czech Republic Nicholas Archer discussed the possibilities of cooperation between Olomouc and British researchers with the management of the Czech Institute of Research and Advanced Technologies – CATRIN at Palacký University. During his visit to the science centre, he also visited the laboratories and got acquainted with the main directions of research.

“I heard about the cutting-edge research of Palacký University and CATRIN. I came to see the reputation of this research center for myself  and I was looking forward to seeing the exceptional technologies in advanced materials and agricultural research. The main aim of the visit is to encourage further scientific collaboration between British researchers and scientists from Palacký University,” said the British Ambassador.

The Director of CATRIN Pavel Banáš and other members of the University’s management presented the research directions and some results of basic and applied research to the distinguished guest. “The ambassador was very interested in the transfer of knowledge into practice and also in some of our technologies, including the use of iron nanoparticles for environmental applications or the technology for lactoferrin separation,” said Banáš.

He described the discussion on cooperation opportunities with partners from the UK as a very important part of the meeting. “In this country, we have been cooperating rather randomly with individual colleagues. However, with the ambassador we discussed the possibilities of systemic and long-term cooperation, for example with one of the universities. Among other things, he was interested in how they could help establish or deepen such cooperation,” added the CATRIN director. 

During his visit to Olomouc, Nicholas Archer also met with the Rector of Palacký University Martin Procházka. He then discussed technology development, science, research and politics with the Governor of the Olomouc Region, Josef Suchánek.

Categories: News from UP

Announcement of the Doctoral Student Grant Competition at Palacký University Olomouc

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 15/09/2021 - 08:08

The Rector of Palacký University Olomouc announces a call under the internal university-wide Doctoral Student Grant Competition.

 The Doctoral Student Grant Competition aims to support one-year research grants implemented by full-time or part-time students of doctoral study programmes at Palacký University Olomouc to increase the level of their knowledge and help them improve the skills necessary for their future careers in research and development. 

The doctoral student grant competition is financed from the funds of the Operational Program Research, Development and Education under the project “Improving schematics of Doctoral student grant competition and their pilot implementation”, Reg. No. CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/19_073/0016713.

Proposals must be submitted until 27 October 2021 (4 pm). Student grant proposals are submitted only electronically and in English, through a web app available at granty.upol.cz. Detailed information can be found in the attached document.

Categories: News from UP

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