The Werner von Siemens Prize was awarded to Kateřina Snopková with David Šmajs and PhD student Veronika Kamenská

For the 26th time, the Werner von Siemens Prizes were awarded to the best students, young scientists and teachers. On Wednesday 13 March, the award for the best dissertation was presented to RNDr. Kateřina Snopková, Ph.D. and prof. MUDr. David Šmajs, Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University. Special award - Award for overcoming obstacles during studies was given to our PhD student Ing. Veronika Kamenská.

14 Mar 2024

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For 26 years, Siemens, s.r.o. has been promoting the prestige of Czech higher education and research institutes focusing on technical and scientific work and highlighting their quality by announcing the Werner von Siemens Prize, aimed primarily at students, young scientists and teaching staff. In this 26th year, a total of 1 million CZK was distributed among 20 winners in eight categories. 496 applications were received for this year's competition.

The prize for the best dissertation was awarded to RNDr. Kateřina Snopková, Ph.D. and prof. MUDr. David Šmajs, Ph.D. from our faculty with their work entitled Genomics of bacteriocinogenic gammaproteobacteria and analysis of newly described bacteriocins.

At least 700 000 people die every year from diseases caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. Concerns about the declining susceptibility of bacteria to commercially used antibiotics are stimulating research into alternatives. In her PhD thesis, Katerina Snopkova identified and characterised new bacteriocins - products of bacteria that can kill other bacteria. She investigated the interactions of environmental strains of enterobacteria and pseudomonads originating from Antarctica, characterized the detected bacteriocins at the molecular level and determined their inhibitory potential against clinical pathogens. The results of this work have considerable potential for practical application. In fact, it has succeeded in discovering antimicrobial agents that have very interesting properties and are an alternative to classical antibiotics.

The award for overcoming obstacles in studying, awarded as part of the Werner von Siemens Prize, went to Ing. Veronika Kamenská of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication Technologies of Brno University of Technology. Veronika Kamenská suffers from a congenital, gradually worsening visual impairment, which limits her in reading ordinary text and working with microscopic technology, in addition to specific learning disabilities. In addition, she developed a psychiatric disorder during adolescence, manifesting itself in depression and anxiety. Despite these obstacles, she successfully completed her engineering studies in the Biomedical Engineering and Bioinformatics program at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication Technology, where she defended her master's thesis entitled Using passwordless authentication to identify students in the classroom. She is also the co-author of Nepanikar, an app that helps people struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Currently, she is continuing her first year studies at the Faculty of Business at the Faculty of Engineering, and at the same time she is a student of the PhD programme Simulation in Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, where she also works at the MU Faculty of Medicine Simulation Centre as an Interactive Learning Technician.

In the recent past, Prof. Petr Štourač, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded as the best pedagogical worker. In 2021, he was awarded for introducing innovative, effective and attractive methods into teaching, especially in the field of anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine.

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