Faculty of Medicine Masaryk University


Last update: 7. 2. 2019 18:01:28
Tomáš Navrátil
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Document ID: 795
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Created: 4. 9. 2009 10:28:52

PhD programmes at the Faculty of Medicine – Department of Biology

Scientific committee


  • Petr Dvorak, Prof., Ph.D.


  • Vladimír Divoký, Assoc. Prof., Ph.D. (Palacky University Olomouc, Faculty of Medicine)
  • Aleš Hampl, Assoc. Prof., D.V.M., Ph.D.
  • Lumír Krejčí, Assoc. Prof., Ph.D.
  • Pavel Krejčí, Ph.D.
  • Eva Matalová, Prof., Ph.D. (Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)
  • Alexandr Nemec, Assoc. Prof., Ph.D. (The National Institute of Public Health, Prague)
  • Vladimír Rotrekl, Ph.D.
  • Iva Slaninová, Assoc. Prof., Ph.D.
  • Karel Souček, Ph.D.
  • Augustin Svoboda, Prof., Ph.D.
  • David Šmajs, Prof., Ph.D.
  • Stjepan Uldrijan, Ph.D.

Information of doctoral board


The aim of the doctoral program of Medical biology is to groom top-quality experts in scientific fields developed at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University in Brno. At the same time, the program provides to the graduates such a wide methodology basis that their careers are not limited to the doctoral degree field only. The graduates are ready for further scientific careers in academic institutions as well as in companies with scientific background, healthcare facilities or specialist lecturers.

For continuing scientific careers the graduates are actively promoted and required to go through a long-term experience abroad at the position of a postdoc. PhD candidates are methodologically very well prepared, handle new demanding methods, are capable of reflecting essential scientific issues, make individual plans, design and perform complex experiments, interpret and defend the results by word and writing and put them into a wide context of the scientific field. PhD candidates are also being systematically motivated and prepared for the application of their scientific knowledge in practice.

At present, the doctoral board of Medical biology and the Department of Biology focus on the doctoral thesis topics connected to the structure of the department. Since 2016 the department has been structured according to performance and quality into 4 categories of individual laboratories with specific research program - low-cost (Yuh-Man Wadeley), junior (Vladimir Rotrekl, Stjepan Uldrijan), senior (David Smajs, Pavel Krejci) and excellent (Lumir Krejci).

The individual labs cover the following research topics, in which the doctoral students are trained:

  • DNA recombination and repair (Lumir Krejci)
  • Cell signaling (Pavel Krejci)
  • Bacterial genetics and genomics (David Smajs)
  • Biology of pluripotent stem cells (Vladimir Rotrekl)
  • Cancer biology (Stjepan Uldrijan)
  • Neurodifferentiation of stem cells (Yuh-Man Wadeley)

The individual laboratories guarantee the relevant parts of training of PhD students in connection with solving their scientific projects/topics. The laboratories share their experimental methods and technologies, common seminars, specialized seminars, annual PhD conferences and mutual PhD mentorship. Students are motivated by a high quality of research and a competitive and cooperative environment. The performance of individual students is recognized both financially and also in the form of participation in renowned conferences abroad.

Graduate´s profile

After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • Has a perfect grasp of current knowledge in his/her specific field;
  • Is able to be well informed in related fields or change his/her focus quite rapidly;
  • Masters wide theoretical and methodological basics of research work;
  • Is methodologically so equipped that he/she can immediately enter a job of scientific postdoctoral worker in a top laboratory abroad without any need for further methodological preparation;
  • Is very well instructed about the ethics of scientific work and specific ethical issues of his/her specialization;
  • Is able to guide and tutor students;
  • Is able to independently design and perform research in all stages;
  • Can interpret results up to the stage of oral presentation at international conferences or preparation of a paper submission to international scientific journals;
  • Is able to arrange a competitive grant application.

Admission requirements

We accept graduates of master studies from medical and biological fields who prove a required level of knowledge and capacity for independent creative thinking and independent scientific work
The standard duration of the study is 4 years. Under exceptional circumstances, when a PhD student achieves excellent results and meets all prerequisites, he/she can defend his/her doctoral thesis earlier. The maximum duration of studies is 7 years, which is quite exceptional in Medical biology.

Rules and Conditions of a Study Plan

Common subjects proposed for the Ph.D. study programme:

Students are obliged to enroll 2 compulsory courses (English, MU Life Science Seminar), at least 4 compulsorily optional and an optional one. Professional training and Thesis preparation must be enrolled each semester.


  • English
  • MU Life Science Seminar DSCB060 (Autumn) and DSCC060 (Spring) - obligatory to be enrolled each semester of Medical biology doctoral studies

Compulsorily optional (at least 4 courses per Ph.D. studies):

  • Acquisition of scientific information
  • Clinical data analysis
  • Computer network user
  • Ethics of biomedical research
  • Molecular biology and genetics
  • Immunology
  • New trends in pathological physiology
  • Professional Training I-VIII
  • Doctoral thesis preparation I-VIII
  • Foreign fellowship

Optional (1 course per Ph.D. studies):

  • Biochemistry of cell signalization
  • Protein characterisation using mass spectrometry
  • Clinical genetics
  • Molecular biology of tumors
  • Neurosciences
  • Experiment planning and optimization
  • Protein-RNA interactions
  • Metabolic pathway regulations
  • Theoretical bases of oncology

Other obligations:

  • Elaborating of a critical search of doctoral thesis and presentation of methodology at a departmental or lab seminar
  • Teaching practical seminars since the second year of study in amount of 150 teaching hours is a part of the study curriculum. Doctoral students who wish to teach more can do so and get paid for it.
  • Regular presentation of results at departmental seminars or lab seminars
  • Active attendance at an international conference connected with presentation of results by oral presentation or poster (at least 1x per studies)
  • At least one first-author original paper in an international journal with IF. Abstracts or compilation works do not count.


  • Successful application for a student grant (GAMU, etc.)
  • Impact factor of first-author paper above 2 ( in case of IF above 4 it is possible to forgive some of obligatory criteria)
  • Internship abroad (exceeding 2 weeks) at a renowned workplace
  • Two or more original papers with IF (as first author and/or co-author)

Moreover, each student from 2nd year up gets two mentors, besides supervisor, with whom he/she consults the progress of studies and research once a year.

Condition of accepting PhD candidates for external supervisors

  • Medical biology doctoral board settles a limit for external supervisors each year (max. about 20% from total number of students can be students with external supervisors);
  • Medical biology doctoral board approves the doctoral thesis topics announced by supervisors;
  • External supervisor selects a supervisor-specialist among the internal supervisors of Medical biology and then both are approved by Medical biology doctoral board as well as Medical faculty scientific board;
  • A supervisor-specialist is at the same time one of two mentors of PhD candidate of external supervisor; the second mentor is another member of Medical biology doctoral board;
  • A supervisor-specialist will monitor the progress of doctoral thesis development of external-supervisor candidate so that he/she is able to evaluate the quality of the theses at the end of the studies;
  • PhD candidates of external supervisors give a brief presentation of his/her topic at acceptance interviews;
  • Doctoral board decides about accepting such a candidate also on the basis of the compatibility of his/her topic with the research focus at the Department of biology.

Graduation Requirements

  • A standard doctoral thesis defense in Medical biology program requires an unconditional fulfilment of all criteria, including publication activity.
  • There is, however, one exception - a candidate can be allowed to defend his/her thesis although his/her essential first-author paper has not been submitted to a review process yet or has just been submitted at the time of thesis defense. This exception applies only for thesis/research of exceptional importance and quality. The condition of other co-author papers or review papers is of course still valid.

    Under the following exceptional conditions:

    • Mentors and supervisors-specialists (for students with external supervisors) judge the merits/quality of the thesis and if they find it of exceptional quality with an extraordinary potential, they recommend to complete the studies with a "viva voce" defense (further on "viva" only).
    • Those are usually papers aiming at 1st decile in the field and similar (will be subject of detailed consideration by all doctoral board members).
    • The form of the defense is modified and the PhD candidate presents the arguments of the thesis in a 30-minute presentation instead of a usual 15-minute presentation and in a different structure (a more detailed methodology, negative data, stress on the actual contribution of the candidate, etc.).
    • Then follows at least a one-hour debate with both opponents and mentors. Questions involve the whole extent of the doctoral thesis, very much in detail, from methods to results. Discussion is not moderated and questions are put at random. The candidate usually does not know the questions in advance (except for questions formulated in the written opponent opinion). The defense ends up with a public discussion and standard evaluation.

    We aspire to examine particularly the following aspects:

    • Methodological readiness;
    • Ability to design and perform experiments;
    • Ability to interpret results and interpret them in a context;
    • Intellectual and manual participation of candidate in experiments;
    • Ability to express oneself orally as well as in writing (papers);
    • Motivation for scientific work or other work in the field;
    • Overall readiness and maturity for ongoing career.

    Opponent’s opinions for "viva" defense can be less extensive, in fact expressing just approval with the "viva" defense and containing key questions. The opinion must also include the fact that most opponents questions will be written down in the defense minutes, and an overall evaluation, i.e. recommendation to confer the PhD degree or not. Further comments and questions for PhD candidate will be asked on the spot and will not be known in advance.

    In case the opponents do not recommend the thesis for defense, the proceeding will not be even launched.

    In the opinion the opponents explicitly and concisely comment on:

    • Currency of the selected topic;
    • Whether the thesis met the required aim;
    • Selected methods;
    • Results of the thesis, including new knowledge, importance in a wider context and for further development of science;
    • Importance for social practice or further development of science.
  • The Medical biology program includes an obligatory three-day conference which all PhD candidates must attend (except for 1st year students). For second year students (4th semester) this conference stands for an advanced exam in the form of a simplified presentation and subsequent discussion. For third-year students (6th semester) the conference stands for an expert part of final state exam in the form of an extensive presentation and a complex specialist discussion.

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