News from UP

Vojtech Regec is elected Dean of the UP Faculty of Education

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 19/01/2022 - 16:19

The Academic Senate of the Palacký University Olomouc Faculty of Education has decided that Vojtech Regec will lead the faculty in the 2022–2026 term.

Three candidates ran for the position of Dean of the UP Faculty of Education. In addition to the current Dean Libuše Ludíková, candidacy was accepted by Petra Šobáňová, Vice-Dean for Development and External Relations, and Vojtech Regec, Vice-Dean for Science, Research and Doctoral Studies and the Statutory Deputy Dean. In order to succeed in the election, the candidate needed to obtain a supermajority of votes of all senators. This was achieved in the first round of the secret ballot by Regec, for whom twelve senators cast their votes. Ludíková and Šobáňová received four votes each.

“Thank you very much for the trust you have placed in me. At the same time, I thank Libuše Ludíková, the current Dean of the faculty, who has been my supervisor and supported me all the time I have been in Olomouc. She is a prodigious personality who has been instrumental in bringing the faculty to where it is now. I would also like to thank Vice-Dean Petra Šobáňová, whom I respect as a person of great qualities. I suppose you might prefer a candidate who has traits of each of us. However, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world in which we have certain limits, and it is essential to acknowledge that. And to do everything so that our world is a better place to live,” said Regec. In his short speech, he thanked the Academic Senate of the UP Faculty of Education and all those who care about what happens at the faculty. “I look forward to our cooperation because cooperation is the main thing our faculty needs. To work towards a goal that will result in the further development of the faculty,” said the newly elected Dean, whose term of office runs from 1 February 2022 to 31 January 2026.

Regec is based at the Institute of Special Education Studies. He is involved in special propedeutics (teaching entry level studies), typhlopaedics (teaching the visually impaired), psychopaedics (teaching the mentally disturbed), and special education counselling. He is interested in the use of assistive technologies for people with disabilities. He is a member of several professional committees and the author of many publications.

A special election committee of the Academic Senate of the UP Faculty of Education announced new elections for the position of the Faculty of Education Dean after the Senate failed to elect a candidate on 14 December 2021. The academic community of that faculty could submit proposals for candidates until 5 January 2022, and the three proposed candidates presented their visions to the academic community of the faculty on 17 January. The results of the election will be formally presented by the chairperson of the Academic Senate of the UP Faculty of Arts, Jan Michalík, to UP Rector Martin Procházka by 21 January 2022.

Categories: News from UP

Join the 11th year of Donate Blood with the Rector

News: Faculty of Science - Mon, 17/01/2022 - 09:53

Support blood donation and join the event Donate Blood with Rector! The eleventh year of this campaign aims to promote free blood donation, especially potential first-time donors among students and employees of Palacký University Olomouc. The event will take place during the UP Academic Week from 14 to 18 February at the Transfusion Department of University Hospital Olomouc. Participants need to register. UP Rector Martin Procházka and the President of the Czech Red Cross, Marek Jukl, will symbolically launch the campaign by donating their blood on Monday morning.

Rector Procházka highlights how important it is to promote blood donations and motivate healthy people to show solidarity with the sick. “The university can have a positive influence on its students and employees in this respect, so I am glad that we are continuing this tradition. As a physician and obstetrician, I know very well just how vital donor blood is in treatment and saving lives; there is never enough of it, so every unit of academic blood counts. I am so proud of all the donors from our university, and I believe that this year’s donation campaign will be successful again,” said Procházka.

“Every UP student and employee who decides to donate blood at the Transfusion Department of University Hospital Olomouc from 14–18 February will receive a small gift package from UPoint and University Hospital Olomouc upon showing their ISIC or UP employee card. First-time donors are especially welcome,” explains the coordinator of the initiative, Ondřej Martínek from the UP Communications Department. Regular as well as first-time donors can register until 7 February at daruj@upol.cz. A specific date will be arranged for them, and any inquiries concerning blood and plasma donation will be answered.

In 2021, University Hospital Olomouc registered 1,000 “academic” blood donations, almost 70 more than in 2020. Since 2014, when they started tracking blood donations from UP, there have been 5,533 donations in total, which corresponds to a volume of more than 2,700 litres of blood and blood plasma.

Donate Blood with the Rector is co-organised with the Transfusion Department of University Hospital Olomouc and the 470 ml (Pint of Blood) initiative.

Information for donors: daruj.upol.cz/en/

Categories: News from UP

Virtual model of coronavirus spike protein shows differences between delta and omicron

News: Faculty of Science - Thu, 13/01/2022 - 09:29

3D models of coronavirus delta and omicron spike proteins provide a better understanding of their different properties and behaviour. The models were created by Karel Berka from the Department of Physical Chemistry at the Palacký University Faculty of Science. On the models of individual variants it is possible to observe differences in mutations of the spike protein on the virus surface that plays a key role in the spread of this intracellular parasite.

Structural models of spike proteins of coronavirus delta and omicron variants were created by Karel Berka with the help of the SwissModel server. They are one of the results of the work of a group of Czech scientists who have been continuously sequencing individual variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the Czech population since last spring, which they are continuously reporting on the COVd server. Since the summer, only the individual sublines of the delta variant, referred to as delta + and AY.*, have been observed here. The observed changes were generally minimal and repeated. The researchers therefore thought that the delta infection in the autumn would be the last, as it seemed that SARS-CoV-2 had reached its limit. “My colleague even said that the virus was starting to be scientifically boring. However, one day later, the omicron variant appeared and it was a whole new world,” said Berka.

When the omicron variant appeared, scientists went immediately on alert. “In the total number of mutations the two variants do not differ much, they have about 55 of them. But what makes them very different is the concentration of these mutations on the spike protein, with which the virus penetrates the human cell. While the delta has about six mutations, the omicron has about 25. In addition, they are concentrated on the interaction region for both the human ACE2 protein, to which the spike protein binds, and also the antibodies,” said Berka, describing the main differences between the delta and omicron variants, visible in the models of their spike proteins.

As early as November, mutations in the spike protein of omicron suggested its significantly higher infectivity, and thus the potential to spread more rapidly among the human population. “I have noticed that mutations at the tip of the spike protein will lead to an increase in the positive charge on the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which will thus bind more strongly to the predominantly negatively charged human ACE2 protein. At the same time, however, the bond between the spike protein of the omicron variant and existing antibodies is weakened, which reduces the antibodies’ effectiveness. Both hypotheses were subsequently confirmed experimentally. These differences in mutations on spike proteins are also probably the cause of the different clinical pictures of Covid-19 between its delta and omicron variants,” Berka pointed out.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus genome has ca 30,000 nucleotides, which encode ca 25 proteins and peptides. “Now there are already experimental structures available for most of them, so it is not difficult to model their mutations using homologous modelling. When comparing variants, I mainly observed the effect of mutations on the spike protein. The modelling took place on the SwissModel server and I used experimental structures in the ‘open state’, in which they bind to the human ACE2 protein, which is the main target of both variants,” added Berka.

Structural models have been used to understand biological processes for some time. 3D visualizations help scientists mechanically describe the interactions between individual proteins. “They show us what mechanisms are used by the cells,” said Berka.

For example, in 2012, the research team of Karr et al for the first time mathematically simulated all processes in the smallest cell of the bacteria Mycoplasma genitarium. Last year, the team Maritan et al built a virtual 3D model of this cell, which shows what the processes between individual proteins and nucleic acids look like. With their help, new experiments were designed that revealed and confirmed new biological functions and showed that this novel virtual cell biology can facilitate the search for new biological discoveries.

“For the visualization of the Mycoplasma genitarium cell model, the authors used the Mol* program, which my colleague Václav Bazgier and I, together with colleagues from the CEITEC research facility in Brno and from abroad, also helped to develop. This program is the only one able to display the whole cell model in atomic resolution in a browser in real time,” added Berka.

Categories: News from UP

A new nanomaterial may reduce the manufacturing cost of pharmaceuticals and chemicals

News: Faculty of Science - Mon, 10/01/2022 - 13:03

Scientists from the Czech Advanced Technology and Research Institute (CATRIN) of Palacký University Olomouc and the Technical University of Ostrava (VSB-TUO) have developed, in collaboration with colleagues from the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock, Germany, a unique eco-friendly nanomaterial that can enable cheaper and more effective production of many important pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The results of this Czech–German research were published at the end of the year in the prestigious journal Nature Catalysis.

Scientists focused on efficient production of various chemicals used in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, petrochemical, or food industry by so-called hydrogenation—a reaction using molecular hydrogen. One of the necessary conditions to accelerate these chemical reactions and achieve higher yields is the use of a catalyst. The goal was to develop a cheap and non-toxic material that could make organic compound conversions cheaper and more efficient. Currently, the industrial production particularly relies on noble metals such as platinum, palladium or ruthenium, which are costly. Nickel also serves as an effective catalyst; it’s toxic, however.

“Together with German colleagues, we studied the processes of a hydrogenated synthesis of amines, which are precursors or intermediates especially in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Amine groups are present in more than 40 percent of all pharmaceuticals. But amines also play an important role in the production of dyes, plastics, tenzides, disinfectants, or agricultural chemicals. While developing a new hydrogen catalyst, we bet on iron and silica, i.e., widely available, non-toxic, and cheap materials,” said Manoj Gawande from CATRIN Olomouc.

Preparing this new nanomaterial is, according to scientists, cheap and technologically easy to transfer to an industrial scale. The material can be used repeatedly and is extremely effective in synthesizing a wide range of amines. “Thanks to its chemical composition and topography, the material can be likened to the surface of Mars, only on a much smaller scale. Rod-like iron nanoparticles grow from quartz mass, thus forming sort of craters on the surface of the catalyst. The iron nanoparticles are coated in a multi-nanometre shell of iron oxide, which seems to be absolutely crucial for achieving a high amine yield. Equally important is the presence of small amounts of aluminium,” described the material Radek Zbořil, one of the corresponding authors based at CATRIN and VSB-TUO. The explanation of the relation between the chemical composition of the catalyst and its extraordinary efficiency made it particularly challenging for the Czech–German team.

“It’s an almost magical nanomaterial in which all components have a defined role. I believe that this joint work can have a major impact on the global effort to find an industrially usable low-cost catalyst that can replace the noble metals used so far and which will also work in other important reactions deploying molecular hydrogen,” concluded Matthias Beller, who is the German team leader and director of the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock.

Scientists have successfully tested the nanomaterial for more than 80 organic reactions including the synthesis of so-called fatty amines. These are widely used in the production of agricultural chemicals, cosmetics, antimicrobials, and a wide range of other products. Their market turnover is over US$3 trillion.

Categories: News from UP

How plant roots grow: A precise interplay of proteins and hormones

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 05/01/2022 - 09:00

Belgian, Czech and British scientists have made a significant contribution to understanding how vascular bundles in plant roots develop. They have proved that interactions between the plant hormones cytokinins, and proteins that regulate their concentration in cells, play a key role in this complex process. The knowledge gained can help in the future, for example, in breeding more drought-resistant crops. Experts from the Laboratory of Growth Regulators, a joint workplace of the Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Palacký University participated in the research. The results of the work of an international team of scientists were published by the prestigious journal Nature Plants.

The study focused on the vascular bundles in the roots of the arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). “Cytokinins control the growth and development of vascular bundles in the roots. The Olomouc team was able to identify molecular processes that directly affect the content of these plant hormones,” said Ondřej Novák from the Laboratory of Growth Regulators.

Tailor-made roots

The researchers found that certain regulatory proteins – proteins that affect the activity of genes for enzymes that produce or degrade plant hormones cytokinins – are essential for the development of vascular bundles. “Precisely tuned levels of cytokinins in various parts of the emerging vascular bundle determine its anatomical structure,” specified Novák, according to whom the roots of the plant are an excellent object for the study of developmental biology.

“Each root is covered by a ‘cap’, in which new cells are formed by division. They gradually specialise in various functions and create individual anatomically distinguishable parts of the root,” explained Novák, According to whom, knowledge of the mechanisms that control the development of vascular bundles in the roots may have practical use in the future. “By modifying the relevant genes, it would be possible to obtain crops with a root system ‘tailored’ to the requirements of growers. As a result, new varieties would be better able to withstand drought, as they would be able to draw more water from the soil or obtain mineral nutrients more efficiently,” added the scientist.

New pieces to the puzzle

The vascular bundles run through the centre of the root along its entire length and consist of three parts. Wood (xylem) transports water with mineral nutrients from the roots to the stem and leaves. Bast (phloem) mainly transports sugars and other organic substances. Between these two parts, at the young roots there is a procambium, whose cells later begin to divide and produce new cells of wood and bast. All components of the vascular bundles must develop in the right place and at the right time. Biologists already know some of the players involved in this process. However, many pieces are still missing in the conceptual puzzle. The aim of the new study was to supplement some of them.

The researchers assumed that the plant hormones cytokinins as well as the proteins TMO5 and LHW are important for the development of vascular bundles. Both proteins are transcription factors, which means that they control the activity of selected genes. The research therefore focused on finding genes that are linked to cytokinins and, simultaneously, are regulated by the TMO5/LHW pair.

Extensive analysis has revealed two genes for enzymes involved in cytokinin metabolism. One gene participates in their synthesis, while the other degrades them. Each works in a different part of the vascular bundle. “We have combined various experimental approaches that have enabled to map the activity of identified molecular players at the single cell level,” said Federica Brunoni of the Olomouc team.

Further experiments made it possible to describe the relationships between the genes, proteins and hormones involved. The TMO5 and LHW proteins are active only at the site of emerging xylem, approximately in the middle of the vascular bundle. There they trigger the production of cytokinins, the high levels of which then promote the development of xylem.

However, the neighbouring procambium needs fewer cytokinins to develop. This is also ensured by the TMO5/LHW pair, but indirectly. It “switches on” the gene for another regulatory protein, which travels from the xylem to the area where procambium is located and there conversely activates the gene for cytokinin dehydrogenase, an enzyme that degrades excess cytokinins.

“Specifically, our laboratory has helped to demonstrate that altering the activities of regulatory genes affects the cytokinin content at the tip of the root, where cells divide intensively. It has also been proven that the correct switching on and off of these molecular modules is essential for the proper formation of plant tissue,” added Brunoni.

In addition to experts from the Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Klára Hoyerová from the Laboratory of Hormonal Regulations in Plants of the Institute of Experimental Botany of the CAS, scientists from Ghent University and the VIB research institute in Belgium, and scientists from the University of Nottingham also took part in the research.

Categories: News from UP

Christmas Greetings from Martin Procházka, Palacký University Rector

News: Faculty of Science - Wed, 22/12/2021 - 10:30

Esteemed colleagues and dear students,

With the end of the year approaching, I would very much like to wish you a wonderful Christmas holiday in the company of your loved ones, and also good health and joy in the New Year. Given my medical profession, and due to the ongoing pandemic, I place particular emphasis on health.

We have had another challenging year, one in which we have all had to deal with a number of difficult situations – far from being solely due to the coronavirus. For the pandemic itself has exposed many more societal problems and uncovered human characteristics whose collisions have encroached upon the lives of all of us. Society is becoming polarised: people are getting into conflicts, even friends and acquaintances are turning away from each other. Negative attitudes and aggression are escalating, even towards those who have been doing their best to help others.

It is precisely at the time of Christmas and New Year’s reflections that each of us should pause for a moment and think about the situation we find ourselves in. This thought was inspired by the words of His Excellency, Mons. Jan Graubner during the Advent gathering at the Archbishop’s Palace in Olomouc, where I had the honour to be present. “What is good and what is evil is something everyone is deciding for themselves, since they have already elevated their own self to the place of an infallible god. And since logically there can only ever be one supreme being, all others become competitors. Then friends and associates are missing. Relationships are at stake. As love and trust form relationships, they also become scarce commodities. Without love, we lack happiness. Without trust, nothing works,” said Father Archbishop.

Let us put our trust in one another. Who else should put their trust in science and scientists than we at Palacký University? We, who take part in research and scientific discoveries – and also in developing leaders and other great experts. Let us trust one another, and with this trust and love we will build and maintain mutual relationships. Without them, we are nothing. All we have to do when looking back and evaluating the past year is to focus on this theme, and enter into the New Year with the determination to make a personal investment and contribute to making this one better than the last. This is something we can surely accomplish.

I would like to thank all of you for everything that you have done and do for Palacký University. For representing it successfully, for helping to maintain its good name, and strengthening its position and role in education, scientific research, and in society. I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2022.

 

Martin Procházka, UP Rector

Categories: News from UP

UP Faculty of Science experts help produce bronze model of the former synagogue in Olomouc

News: Faculty of Science - Mon, 13/12/2021 - 13:00

A detailed plastic model of the former synagogue which stood in the centre of Olomouc and was burned down by Nazis and Nazi sympathisers in 1939, was created on a 3D printer by experts from the Department of Geoinformatics at the UP Faculty of Science. This prototype will serve in the foundry as the form for the production of a bronze model of the synagogue, which will be installed on Palach Square (Palachovo náměstí) in Olomouc.

“The model of the synagogue was created on the basis of plans drawn by sculptor Jiří Žlebek on a 1:1 scale against the planned bronze model. Stanislav Popelka first created a model of the synagogue in digital form, then Radek Barvíř and I divided it, printed it in parts and assembled it,” said Jan Brus from the Department of Geoinformatics.

Eventually, the production of a plastic model of the Olomouc synagogue, measuring 100 × 60 × 91 centimetres, took 2,300 hours; the building consists of fifty parts. The disassembled plastic model will be transported to the foundry, where a die will be created according to the plastic model to cast the final sculpture.

Sculptor Jiří Žlebek is participating in the project together with experts from the Faculty of Science. The original plans of the Viennese architect Jakob Gartner and numerous period photographs served as the basis for the visualisation of the synagogue.

“The bronze model of the synagogue will be installed on Palach Square. We would like to exhibit the plastic model at the Jewish community centre in Olomouc or in suitable museum premises. We have the consent of Petr Papoušek, leader of  the Olomouc Jewish community,” said Brus. The Jewish community began working on setting up a memorial on the site of the former synagogue in 2017 during the reconstruction of the car park near the Theresian Gate (Terezská brána) in Olomouc.

Categories: News from UP

New strain of cyanobacteria discovered on the skin of dolphins

News: Faculty of Science - Thu, 09/12/2021 - 13:28

A new species of cyanobacteria growing on the skin of the bottlenose dolphin has been discovered by an international team of scientists who analysed samples from a deposit of microscopic organisms living on the bodies of these cetaceans. The new species of cyanobacteria has been named Komarekiella delphini-convector – “dolphin’s travelling companion”. It has also been found that this cyanobacteria strain has nothing to do with the harmful toxins that have been found in the liver of common bottlenose dolphins in previous studies. Apparently, the toxins might originate from cyanobacteria living in the river. However, this theory has yet to be confirmed.

The results of this research into the build-up of microscopic organisms, in which scientists from the Department of Botany at the UP Faculty of Science participated together with experts from the USA and Australia, were published in the prestigious journal Phycologia.

The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) inhabits tropical and temperate oceans throughout the world. However, this species is also often found in estuaries, where the salt concentration is lower than in the sea. Experts have not found out yet why these dolphins visit less favourable waters. “Some dolphins go even further upstream, where it is practically freshwater. This adversely affects their metabolism because it is an unnatural environment for dolphins. Common bottlenose dolphins can be observed, for example, in the St. Johns River in Florida,” said Petr Dvořák from the Department of Botany at the UP Faculty of Science.

Due to their weakened immunity, a build-up of microorganisms gradually forms on the dolphins’ skin. They break up the skin, which can result in the death of the cetacean. Among these microorganisms, cyanobacteria have also been identified, which are notorious for producing many harmful toxins. Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, produce extensive growths called blooms, particularly in ponds. “Cyanobacterial toxins have been found in the liver of some dolphins. The study we were involved in aimed to characterise the microorganisms from the growths on the dolphins’ bodies and to verify whether these are responsible for the production of the toxins found in the dolphins’ livers,” said Petr Hašler from the UP Department of Botany.

The experts therefore took samples of the microorganisms from the dolphins’ skin and from the air above the river, using special equipment suspended from a Cessna aircraft. They identified the same species of cyanobacteria in both samples. The whole genome sequence was obtained for its exact classification. Reconstruction analyses of evolutionary relationships and morphology using light microscopy subsequently showed that this is a new species of cyanobacteria, and it was named Komarekiella delphini-convector.

“Genome sequence and other biochemical methods were used to determine the composition of the toxins. Genome analysis confirmed that the new species of cyanobacteria produced several types of toxins, but none corresponded to the toxins in the liver, which belonged to the group of microcystins and nodularins. Therefore, we have concluded that these toxins probably did not enter the dolphins' bodies from the growths on their skin, but from the river where the cyanobacteria producing these toxins are found. Our conclusions will have to be verified by measuring further samples from the dolphins,” added Dvořák.

The risk of overproduction of cyanobacteria and their toxins in both stagnant and flowing waters is increasing due to the global climate changes. Cyanobacteria benefit from warmer temperatures and rising concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water. “Cyanobacteria thrive in environments with excessive nitrogen and phosphorus. The presence of cyanobacteria and their toxins can be downsized by reducing the amount of these substances in the environment. However, this issue is very complex, and no satisfactory solution has yet been found,” concluded Dvořák.

Categories: 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

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.

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