PřF BCHA Biochemistry
Name in Czech: Biochemistry
doctoral full-time, language of instruction: English English
Included in the programme: PřF D-BCHA_ Biochemistry

Final state doctoral examination and defence of the doctoral thesis

The final state doctoral examination is designed to verify the student's general knowledge in the field and acquaintance with scholarly methods of research. A student can apply for this examination when he/she has met all the requirements prescribed by the curriculum. The examination committee has a minimum of five members, one of them being the thesis supervisor, and at least two are not employed at the Masaryk University. A month before the examination, the student is assigned three different examination topics to study for beforehand. These topics are comprehensive and are not restricted to the content of graduate courses. Some examples are as follows:
Regulation of gene expression
Quantitative proteomics
Biochemical aspects of tumor formation, progression and therapy
Modulation of protein functions by post-translational modification
Application of capillary zone electrophoresis for studying enzymes
Bioconjugation (labeling and immobilization of biomolecules)
DNA repair mechanisms
Methods for experimental study of transcription
Production of recombinant proteins and their mutant forms
Analysis of ligand-macromolecule interactions
Tumor suppressors
Biochemistry of viral replication
Molecular mechanisms of antiviral agents
Biocompatible nanoparticles
The examination has the form of a one hour interview between the doctoral student and the members of the committee. The committee announces the assessment of the examination obtained by secret voting immediately after the examination has been completed.

A student who successfully passes the state examination can then advance to the dissertation defence which takes place the same day or at a later date. The candidate presents a thesis which embodies original and published research, complies with the generally acctepted norms and is approved by the PhD supervisor. The thesis is evaluated by two independent external referees, who submit the written reports. The defence is conducted as a session open to the public, with the candidate, the two referees, the supervisor and additional committee members. At the beginning the student summarizes his/her results (20 min), the referees then read their reports in which they put forward their questions and views on scientific relevance, methodology and results, and, finally, the student answers questions posed by the referees, committee members and other audiences. The committee then secretly votes to decide on the final assessment that is announced to the student.

Requirements of the study

- Research training (70% workload)
The largest part of the doctoral training is the independent work with the PhD thesis as well as the collaboration in a team environment (at least 25 hours per week). The student is committed to work on the thesis according to the schedule in the plan approved by the supervisor. The student regularly summarizes the progress of his/her research work in semestral progress reports that are evaluated by the supervisor every semester and by the supervisor along with the doctoral board once per year.
In the first semester, the student is required to perform a literature review of 20-40 standard pages in relation to the selected topic of research. This work is assigned and evaluated by the supervisor.
Each PhD student should actively attend at least one international scientific conference as a speaker or poster presenting author. He/she is also expected to do the bulk of the work in writing papers on the his/her own research findings.
- Academic training (15% workload)
The academic training complements the research work by giving students theoretical background and developing broader perspectives on thinking about science. Each student has to take at least five full-credit courses. The student, with the agreement of his/her supervisor, selects courses from among those offered by the Faculty of Science, faculties or other units within the university. Master level courses can only be taken if these were not a part of the student's master degree. External courses that are credited and terminated by an examination are also acceptable upon approval by doctoral board. In exceptional case, individual literature study of specific topics relevant to the thesis work that are not covered by existing courses, terminated by an examination, can be included and considered to be equivalent to one regular course.
All PhD students are required to attend and actively participate in a research seminar that takes place weekly at the Department of Biochemistry and provides a forum for presentations and discussion of their ongoing research. The requirement is attendance at a total of 60 seminars during PhD studies and presentation at a minimum of 3 seminars.
- Language skills and international competitiveness (10 % workload)
The students for whom English is not the native language are expected to improve their written and oral communication skills in order to prepare him/herself for the challenges of their chosen profession in international environment. Each PhD student is required to give a 15-20 min public presentation in English, followed by discussion with the audience. The students should also make use of the offer of international exchange programmes ond other sources of support to undertake a compulsory study stay for at least 1 month at one of the partner universities or research institutes.
- Development of pedagogical competence (5% workload)
The PhD programme offers participants the opportunity to gain practical educational experience, enabling them to acquire and develop their teaching skills. Mandatory teaching duties involve 100 contact hours (counted over the entire PhD study period) that are expected to be collected mostly by participating in the first and second cycle education. The Department of Biochemistry has several laboratory courses that are considered particularly appropriate for PhD students. Other possiblilities include, among others, help in performing workshops and summer schools, science demonstrations for lab visitors and popularizing lectures at secondary and elementary schools.
- Soft skills development
As part of the PhD program, the students are encouraged to write and submit a competitive grant proposal to obtain funding either from the Masaryk University or outside sources. In case of acceptance of the project, they take responsibility for technical execution as well as schedule and budget management.

Proposal of dissertation topics and topics of defended dissertations

Adámik, M. (2018) Interactions of p53 family proteins with biologically significant DNA quadruplexes

Bartheldyová, E. (2018) Preparation of adjuvant nanoliposomal carriers for construction of recombinant vaccines

Mrázková, J. (2018) Mutagenesis of carbohydrate-binding proteins – the efficient tool for preparation of high-affinity lectins (in Czech)

Schejbal, J. (2018) Study of beta-secretase reaction by modern electromigration methods

Zouharová, D. (2018) Antiviral effect of synthetic derivatives of nucleotides and nucleosides against DNA and RNA viruses

Recommended progress through the study plan


The study plan does not contain any courses.