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)
The 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 the investigation of the causes of human embryonic aneuploidy which diminishes reproductive success.



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.



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 the 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.So, for a very first time, the process that leads to the formation of fertilizable human eggs could have been observed and mapped out in a step-by-step way.

Video 1. Human oocyte maturation – chromosomes(magenta), 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 precocious sister chromatid splitting as a mechanism underlying female reproductive aging.



I am currently working towards detailed analysis of how fragile acentrosomal spindle poles in human oocytes are organized 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.


My academic research activities are built on collaboration with IVF specialists and clinical embryologists. I am taking 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 in clinical practice for better treatment for a growing number of patients seeking assisted reproduction.

Image: Polarized light microscopy enables egg maturity assessment prior to fertilization (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, Kyjovská D, Martonová M, Páralová D., Klenková T., Otevřel P., Štěpánová R., Kloudová S., Hampl A.  Egg maturity assessment prior ICSI prevents premature fertilization of late-maturing oocytes. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2019 Mar;36(3):445-452.
  • 4) Zielinska AP, Holubcová 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.
  • 5) 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.

The complete list of publications….link to research gate



Fellowships and Awards

2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award
Structural and functional organization of spindle poles

  • the interview with the winner


Award ceremony Women in Science Award ceremony
Finalists of the contest with prof. Blanka Říhová Finalists of the contest with prof. Blanka Říhová

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.
eshre-awards ESHRE Award handing ceremony, Lisbon 2015

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



Student Supervision

Bc. Zuzana Trebichalská
– Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
2017 Bachelor Thesis: Cellular and molecular mechanism of fertilization in mammals
Since 2017 Master thesis theme: Analysis of ultrastructure characteristics of human oocytes

Zuzana during her internship in EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany)

Zuzana during her internship in EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany)

zuzka Zuzana talking about her research project at Science Slam contest.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of human oocyte spindle.

imagefunded by GACR  19-14990Y



Reprofit International s.r.o. – clinic of assisted reproduction and gynecology logo-reprofit-new
– member of an international consortium 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

2017 Scientists under Microscope – series of interviews with Czech scientists


2015 Science Slam – „Born from chaos“ – (talking science contest)


2015 TEDx Zlin – „Fascinating drama at the very beginning of our lives“  (science communication talk)


English subtitles available