November 1, 2016

Zuzana Holubcová Team

CV | Research Interests | Selected Publications | Fellowships and Awards | Collaborations

PharmDr. Zuzana Holubcová PhD

Email Address: Zuzana Holubcová
Researcher Unique Identifier(s):


2011 – 2015 Career Development Fellow (postdoctoral researcher)
2010 – PhD – Masaryk University, Faculty of Medicine (Brno Czech Republic)
laboratory of Assoc. Prof. D.V. M. Ales Hampl, PhD
2006 – Mgr – (Master of Pharmacy degree)
2007 – PharmDr – (Doctor of Pharmacy degree)
University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno (Brno Czech Republic)

Research Interests

Infertility is a problem of increasing importance in our society. Despite the advancements of assisted reproduction, molecular basis of human procreation remain poorly understood. My general scientific interest covers various aspects of gametogenesis and early embryonic development. In particular, I have focused on investigation of causes of human embryonic aneuploidy which diminishes reproductive success.

coc sem-fertilisation blastocyst-nanog_v2

During my PhD, I discovered that human embryonic stem cells frequently contain supernumerary centrosomes and studied how centrosomal abnormalities promote genetic instability of pluripotent cells.

hesc-colony_edit hesc-multicentrosomal-mitosis

Genetically abnormal embryos are often derived from aneuploid eggs. Thus, for my postdoctoral research, I decided to study mammalian egg development.

Holubcová et al Science 2015

First, I investigated molecular mechanism behind asymmetric division in mouse oocytes and identified surprising role of vesicles in modulating actin network dynamics.

Holubcová et al Nature Cell Biology 2013

Later, I built on my experience from mouse model and established protocols for high-resolution fluorescence microscopy in live human oocytes undergoing meiosis in vitro.1 So, for a very first time, process that leads to the formation of fertilisable human eggs could have been observed and mapped out in step-by-step way.

Video 1. Human oocyte maturation – chromosomes(maganta), spindle/microtubules (green)
Holubcová et al Science 2015
Live imaging has shown how human oocytes assemble their spindles in the absence of centrosomes and uncovered acentrosomal spindle instability as a major contributor to human egg-derived aneuploidy. Moreover, a follow-up study4 has recently revealed loss of cohesion and precoucios sister chromatid splitting as a mechanism underling female reproductive aging.

mi-dic-mt-dna mi-wide-and-pccs mii-numa

I am currently working towards detailed analysis of how fragile acentrosomal spindle poles in human oocytes are organised on molecular level. This work might explain why chromosome segregation machinery in human oocytes often fails to keep its bipolarity during prolonged oocyte maturation and why human oocytes are so prone to spindle pole fragmentation promoting spindle instability and erroneous chromosome segregation.

Video 2. Human oocyte spindle in meiosis I and meiosis MII.
Holubcová et al Science 2015

Pursuing research in the area of human reproductive biology I hope to improve understanding of fundamental biological processes at the beginning of our lives.plm

My academic research activities are built on collaboration with IVF specialists and clinical embryologists. I am taking the advantage of strong links to fertility experts to familiarise with clinical aspects of assisted reproduction and infertility treatment. At the same time, I am helping to disseminate scientific findings, implement cutting-edge technology, innovative approaches and evidence-based decision making into clinical practice for better treatment for a growing number of patients seeking assisted reproduction.

Image: Polarized light microscopy enables egg maturity assessment prior fertilisation (an arrow indicates meiotic spindle – a hallmark of completed meiotic maturation of an egg and its readiness for fertilization.

Selected Publications

  • 1) Holubcová Z, Blayney M, Elder K., Schuh M. Error-prone chromosome-mediated spindle assembly favors chromosome segregation defects in human oocytes. Science 2015 Jun; 348(6239):1143-7.
  • 2) Holubcová Z, Howard G, Schuh M. Vesicles modulate an actin network for asymmetric spindle positioning. Nature Cell Biology  2013 Aug;15(8):937-47.
  • 3) Holubcová Z, Matula P, Sedláčková M, Vinarský V, Doležalová D, Bárta T, Dvořák P, Hampl A. Human embryonic stem cells suffer from centrosomal abnormalities. Stem Cells 2011 Jan;29(1): 46‑56.
  • 4) Zielinska AP, Holubcova Z, Blayney M, Elder K, Schuh M. Sister kinetochore splitting and precocious disintegration of bivalents could explain the maternal age effect. eLife 2015 Dec;10.7554/eLife.11389.

Complete list of publications….link to reserach gate

Fellowships and Awards

2016 NEURON IMPULS Award – Medicine 
Analysis of structural and functional organisation of acentrosomal spindle in human oocytes

neuron-predavani Neuron award ceremony. Sponsor Martin Ducháček handing the Neuron Impuls Award in Medicine.
neuron-legendy Living legends of Czech medicine prof. Josef Koutecký a prof. Jan Pirk – Neuron Award selection committee members.

2015 ESHRE Basic Science Award

eshre-awards ESHRE Award handing ceremony, Lisbon 2015

2011 Masaryk University Rector´s Award for the best dissertation thesis in 2010



Reprofit International s.r.o. – clinic of asssited reproduction and gynecology logo-reprofit-new
– member of an international consorcium FutureLife futurelife
TESCAN Orsay Holding – global supplier and manufacturer of electron microscopes tescan

Membership of Scientific Societies and Professional Organisations

Since  Jan 2015 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) eshrelogo
Since Jan 2015 Association of Reproductive Embryology (ARE) are_black

Science Communication and Public Engagement

TEDx Zlin – „Fascinating drama at the very beginning of our lives“  (science communication talk)
English subtitles available

Science Slam – „Born from chaos“ – (talking science contest)

Czech Television – magazine Gejzir and 168 hodin

Czech National Radio – Český Rozhlas 1 Radiožurnál. – Host Radiožurnálu – a hour-long live interview–1506132

Selected printed media interviews

Scientific education–Splitting-Off/