Animal Physiology – Field of study catalogue MU
“To the core of animal life”
The study programme of Animal Physiology studies the problems of contemporary physiology and immunology. The research is conducted both at the level of the whole animal organisms and tissue and at the cellular level. The institution covers research topics ranging from general issues of basic research to the veterinary and biomedical applications. The studied issues focus especially on the problems of cell signalling, which is crucial for the understanding of the processes controlling embryonic development, tissue differentiation and their regeneration, as well as the processes of carcinogenesis or immune regulation. The spectrum of investigated topics is solved on a wide range of animal species, ranging from invertebrates over fish and farm mammals to humans. In the long term, the institution specialises on the model group of insects, where neuroethological and immunological problems are investigated. The study programme of Animal Physiology integrates methodical approaches of molecular biology, genetics and cell biology with immunological, morphological and behavioural methods.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- independently and fully understand the problems of basic and applied scientific research in a given field
- identify crucial scientific problems and design the ways of research suitable for appropriate solutions
- independently plan and conduct scientific research using modern methods of molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and immunology
- lead and manage other researchers in specialized research
- critically evaluate obtained scientific data and discuss them in the context of current knowledge
- identify areas and targets of interest for future research; critically evaluate potential risks of further research
- actively present scientific data and conclusions at the international scientific level, both as oral presentations and scientific publications of high quality
- independently engage in the management of research and demonstrate an orientation in funding opportunities
- establish international cooperation in research problematics
Graduates from the doctoral study programme of Animal Physiology are prepared for work in both research- and application-oriented research institutions both in the Czech Republic and abroad. A wide spectrum of themes resolved in cooperation with a number of training institutions outside the faculty provides the graduates with the possibility to succeed in top-ranking biomedical research or to apply for occupation at clinical affiliated human medicine facilities. Analogically, students may decide to prepare for work in a veterinary oriented research. Besides the human and veterinary medicine, graduates find employment as scientific staff at universities, institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and/or departmental institutes, specialized laboratories and companies, at institutes of nature conservancy, in state administration, etc. The aim of the study of the respective programme is to prepare Czech and/or international students for independent scientific work and to equip them with the knowledge and skills required for work in a wide range of institutions.
The standard duration of the study is eight semesters. The customized study plan is designed by the student together with the supervisor in accordance with the rules of the doctoral degree programme in Biology. The supervisor decides which of the special lectures and courses, students must complete. The customized study plan includes: 1) Subjects expanding and deepening knowledge in the scientific field beyond the Master's degree programme; 2) Subjects deepening specialized knowledge. The extent of the customized study plan is specified in the Course Catalogue.
Throughout the whole study, students participate in Seminars for PhD Students (Bi0100 a Bi0101), for eight semesters they take part in Life Sciences Seminar (XD010). Teaching Assistance (XD102) in the undergraduate programmes includes not only contact teaching and preparation of study materials but students can also act as supervisors and/or readers of Bachelor’s theses.
In the third semester of their studies, after completing Study of Literature Seminar (XD101), students present the thesis of their research topic to the doctoral committee. They introduce the studied scientific issues, aims, hypotheses and ways of solution, and/or the primary results. The committee assesses whether the requirements of the respective research project (Thesis of the Work, XD104) and a chosen approach have been fulfilled, and recommends the way of further studies, and/or the reiteration of this checkpoint in the next year. At least once in the course of their studies, students must complete the course of Scientific Publication (XD105), a publication for a foreign language journal, and deliver a Lecture in English (XD106) at a scientific conference. An Internship in a Foreign Country (XD103) can be taken in any semester. At least once a year, supervisors submit a written report on the progress of the study and work of their PhD students according to the customized study plan.
The state doctoral examination should take place well in advance of the doctoral thesis defence (ideally one year in advance). During the examination, students must primarily demonstrate their orientation in a particular scientific problem investigated in the doctoral thesis. In 20 minutes, students should introduce their research project, hypotheses and data that has been obtained, describe data evaluation, conclusions and perspectives of further research, which resembles the format of the thesis defence. In the following discussion with the members of the committee, students must demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge to solving specific problems. Evaluated will be: 1) overall knowledge of the topic, including contextualisation with other related research fields; 2) ability to explain and present own work; 3) ability to explain and justify assumptions and ability to find the solution; 4) knowledge of experimental techniques; 5) ability to correctly interpret the data, draw and discuss conclusions.
The preferred form of the doctoral thesis is a set of published articles or manuscripts accepted or ready for publication. The doctoral thesis in this form usually contains three, but at least two articles or manuscripts of articles supplemented with an introductory chapter of at least 20 pages logically connecting the individual articles and putting them in the context of contemporary knowledge. In the introductory part, the author defines the main objectives of the work and evaluates the significance of the achieved results for the respective field. Students have to demonstrate an extended knowledge of the given field, not only a narrow specialization of the individual articles. The recommended language of the thesis is English, but Czech or Slovak are also possible alternatives. The doctoral thesis has to be based on own and original scientific results and a necessary prerequisite for its acceptance in the study programme of Animal Physiology is that its most significant results have been published or accepted for publication in international peer-reviewed scientific journals (registered in the ISI Journal Citation Reports database). The student has to be the first author of the publication in the journal of the first two quartiles of particular scientific specialisation (according to Journal Citation Reports). If the articles and manuscripts in the thesis are written with co-authors, then the PhD student has to clearly define his or her contribution to each of them. Concurrently with the thesis, students electronically submit a thesis report.