František Kolář awarded the Jan Evangelista Purkinje Honorary Field Medal (3.7. 2019)
František Kolář has been awarded the Jan Evangelista Purkinje Honorary Field Medal for merit in the biomedical sciences. He has received the award from the hands of the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Eva Zažímalová on Monday, June 1. More
Jan Kudláček awarded the Sanofi Prize (28.6. 2019)
Jan Kudláček has been awarded the Sanofi Prize for Pharmacy for university students. He has received the award from the hands of the French Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Jean-Marie Lehn. The competition for students of pharmaceutical sciences has been organized by the Embassy of the French Republic in Prague in cooperation with Sanofi for the eleventh time. Jan Kudláček placed third with his research on epilepsy treatment.
"Epilepsy requires long-term treatment and patients often need medication for life. Unfortunately, drugs are ineffective for approximately 30 % of patients. To find more effective treatments, it is necessary to understand the long-term dynamics of epilepsy and to clarify the mechanisms that drive long-term fluctuations in brain susceptibility to seizures. Mechanisms that control long-term seizure dynamics have not been considered in drug development; they represent a new therapeutic target not only for seizure-suppressing drugs but also for the treatment of epilepsy itself," Kudláček explained. He added that it is his research that could lead to advancement in this issue.
Jaroslav Kuneš awarded the Mendel Medal (28.6. 2019)
On Thursday, June 27, Jaroslav Kuneš received the Gregor Johann Mendel Honorary Medal for Merit in Biological Sciences from the hands of the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Eva Zažímalová. The Academic Council granted this prestigious award to four scientists who through their work contributed to advancement and popularization of their fields. "The Academic Council unanimously agreed to award the medal to the laureates, and we are honoured to do so," Eva Zažímalová said at the award ceremony at the seat of the Czech Academy of Sciences. More
Winners of the 41st annual contest of Students’ Professional Activities announced (19.6. 2019)
On Sunday, June 16, the 41st annual national contest of Students’ Professional Activities (SPA) ended with an award ceremony for the best students in each category. Advancing to the national round is a great success for the entrants. One of the prizes in the Healthcare category is the Prize of the Director of the Institute of Physiology CAS. Hana Bernhardová (Gymnázium [KB1] F. Palackého, Valašské Meziříčí) won the first place in this category for her paper Effects of the canonical Wnt signalling pathway on differentiation potential of NG2 glia after ischemic brain injuries . Karolina Kubová (Gymnázium T. Novákové, Brno) came second for her paper Kinase Chk1 as a potential therapeutic target in malignant melanoma cells. Kateřina Ptáčková (Gymnázium and Vocational School of Pedagogy, Liberec) placed third with her paper Lactose Intolerance.
Marek Heide, who ranked fourth in the same category, achieved another great success; he won a special prize: a nomination to the competition Česká hlavička—a programme supporting talented students in technology and science —in the category Futura "Solutions for the Future", a prize awarded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Marek completed an internship at the Institute of Physiology at the Department of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering under the guidance of Jana Musílková. Congratulations to all the winners!
65th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF THE INSTITUTE OF PHYSIOLOGY (19.6. 2019)
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. On June 12, 2019, both current and former employees of the Institute and a number of guests celebrated this special event. All the living directors of the Institute took turns in the lecture hall (in the order of their terms in office: Zdeněk Drahota, Bohuslav Ošťádal, Pavel Mareš, Jaroslav Kuneš, Lucie Kubínová, and the current director, Jan Kopecký) and shared their memories of important moments in the Institute's history. Helena Illnerová, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 2001-2005, also reminisced about the beginnings of her scientific career and the atmosphere of that time. The celebrations culminated with an informal garden party, which was also attended by the President of the Academy, Eva Zažímalová, and the Vice President, Zdeněk Havlas.
SECOND SEMINAR OF THE JOINT PRECLINICAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH INITIATIVE IN IKEM AND IPHYS (24.5. 2019)
Physicians and scientists from the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) and the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IPHYS) are working together to improve prevention and treatment of the most serious diseases of today.
On May 22, 2019, the IPHYS hosted a meeting of leading Czech physicians and scientists focused on advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of serious lifestyle diseases.
The IKEM and the IPHYS have been working together to make progress in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, their most common risk factors such as obesity and diabetes, and their chronic complications. During the second seminar of joint preclinical and clinical research at the IKEM and the IPHYS, both institutions presented primarily the results of successful collaboration of their research teams during 13 lectures and 23 poster presentations.
Although the focus of biomedical research is shifting to cancer research, most people still die of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). In recent decades, there has been an improvement in monitoring of some CVD risk factors such as arterial hypertension or dyslipidemia, but new threats to the Czech population, especially obesity and obesity-related type 2 diabetes, are gaining importance. These diseases clearly represent major risk factors for the future wave of CVDs, such as premature atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. In the rise of obesity and diabetes, the Czech Republic ranks among top countries in the EU, and CVD mortality in the Czech Republic is almost twice as high as in most developed EU countries. In fact, it is the most common cause of death among the Czech population (half of all deaths).
The second key area is the treatment of complex multifactorial metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus. Despite billions of dollars invested in research on new therapies and 100 years after the discovery of insulin, there is still no effective long-term treatment that would cure this complex disease. In particular, the number of patients with type 2 diabetes has skyrocketed leading to a modern epidemic, which imposes a heavy burden not only on healthcare but also on the social systems of all developed countries in the world. This increase is especially related to inappropriate lifestyles and also to the ageing of the population. In the Czech Republic, nearly one million people are currently being treated for diabetes. Moreover, estimates indicate that 300,000 additional patients have not been diagnosed.
What contributes to this alarming situation is the lack of support of biomedical research in this area, particularly the lack of research integration that would make use of existing infrastructure and human resources. There is no centre that could integrate and strengthen existing preclinical and clinical research in the field of CVD-related diabetes and obesity and that could provide a translational phase of research with the transition of new pharmaceuticals and therapeutic approaches to clinical practice directly in the Czech Republic.
THE NATURE INDEX: CAS AMONG THE TOP GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES (20.5. 2019)
The Nature Index, compiled by Nature, tracks the number of high-quality scientific articles in selected scientific journals. In the recently published ranking of outputs in biomedical sciences, the Czech Academy of Sciences took the 13th place in the world in the category of government research facilities. This is also the best result for an institution from Central and Eastern Europe.
The current ranking covers the period from 2015 to 2018. The excellent position of the CAS also represents a year-on-year improvement of 20.7 %. Only four other European countries surpassed the CAS: the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Italy. The Czech Academy of Sciences was also very successful in the overall Nature Index, published in September 2018. The CAS achieved a year-on-year improvement of 18.2 % and ranked 19th in the world. For more information, click here.
The end of alternation between standard time and summer time (2.4. 2019)
Alena Sumová and Helena Illnerová have participated in a media debate on the cancellation of mandatory alternation between standard time and summer time in 2021. The Member States of the European Union should coordinate their steps in order to avoid potential disruptions to the functioning of the single market. After all, the end of adjustment of clocks every six months must be endorsed by the Member States; they are to inform the European Commission of the time they have chosen by April 2020. The Czech government expressed support for winter time during an informal discussion last autumn also based on the position of the Institute of Physiology of the ASCR.
The currently available scientific evidence suggests that the introduction of permanent standard time, i.e. winter time, is the best choice for public health. Adopting standard time all year round provides people with greater exposure to morning light in winter and less exposure to evening light in summer. This will optimize the synchronization of their biological clocks, and their sleep will be set to earlier times in relation to working hours and school time. In general, people will be mentally healthier, and work and school performance will improve.
In the media
Memory Park captivated visitors of the Week of the Brain (14.3. 2019)
The Memory Park interactive workshop was introduced to visitors of the Week of the Brain event at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague on March 11, 2019. Anyone interested could try and test their memory and orientation skills using unique tests. Developed by scientists from the Department of Neurophysiology of Memory, these psychological tests are used to detect memory impairment and impairment of spatial orientation, e.g. in patients with Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy or schizophrenia.
100 scientists in secondary schools (8.3. 2019)
A new project of the Institute of Computer Science of the Czech Academy of Sciences called "100 Scientists in Secondary Schools" aims to improve the approach to science at our secondary schools. This project allows secondary school students and their teachers to touch science and communicate with scientists who have discovered, built, or written something significant. During each Intensive School session, ten scientists elucidate, design and discuss key topics in contemporary science.
Alena Sumová participated in the project with a lecture called "Clocks in our body and how to adjust them properly" during the seminar Biological Inspiration of Computer Science, which took place on March 7-8, 2019 in Prague.
More at www.100vedcu.cz.