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Developmental and Cell Biology


Developmental biology is an integrating scientific discipline whose subject is the study of reproduction and individual development throughout the life cycle of organisms. He studies the programmed use of genetic equipment during cell differentiation and germ and adult morphogenesis. It further investigates genetically or epigenetically based regulatory processes in the processes of proliferation, programmed death, migration, communication, recognition and cooperation of cells and their complexes during the individual development of the organism. These events take place to varying degrees, especially regeneration, from the unicellular stage and morphogenesis throughout life, including adolescence and aging. Developmental biology interconnects and expands knowledge and uses methodological equipment especially molecular and cell biology (the cell is the basis of all life processes), developmental genetics, embryology, functional morphology, cell pathology, teratology and reproductive physiology.

Study requirements for PhD students of Developmental and Cell Biology

The goal of study is to train students at advanced level in developmental and cell biology. The students should acquire broad knowledge of the research area, master their research topic, become competent in conducting and planning experiments, get trained in scientific writing, and obtain qualification which would make them competitive candidates for positions in research, teaching, and technologies internationally.

Learning goal 1

Students must take at least three study obligations (courses) and schedule them within the first 3 years of study. When preparing their proposal of the individual study plan (ISP) for approval by the Subject area board (Board) in the Study Information System of the Charles University (SIS), students should include all three courses in the plan.


All students must take the obligatory “Grant application strategy and preparation of scientific publication” course. After the theoretical background is explained in several lectures, the student will prepare a grant application related to the Ph.D. project in English, using the forms and guidelines of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic.


Students choose at least two study obligations from the list below. Students should actively seek the opinion of their mentors about the suitability of courses with respect to their project. The prerequisite for the inclusion of courses is that students have not passed them in previous or concurrent study programs.


Theoretical courses

  • MB140P82 Advances in molecular virology
  • MB150P23 Cells and tissues in vitro (*)
  • MB150P32E Cell differentiation in ontogenesis
  • MB160P44 Computational Genomics
  • MB151P80E Cytometry
  • MB151P96E Fluorescent microscopy in cell biology
  • MB151P129 Methods in Genomics
  • MB140P86 Methods of functional genomics
  • MB150P89 Molecular Biology of Cancer I (*)
  • MB151P105 Molecular Biology of Cancer II
  • MB150P79E Molecular mechanisms of apoptosis
  • MB150P84 Molecular mechanisms of cell cycle regulation
  • MB150P66 Molecular mechanisms of fertilization (*)
  • MB150P83E Model organisms in developmental biology
  • MB151P107E Protein dynamics in development and cancer
  • MB150P09 Proteins of signaling cascades
  • MB150P10 Reproduction biology
  • MB150P91E RNA structure and function
  • MB151P116 Structural bioinformatics
  • MB150P67 Structure and function of cytoskeleton (*)
  • Advances in molecular biology and genetics (Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR, v. v. i.) https://pokroky.img.cas.cz/ (according to the information for the current academic year)
  • MB150P85 – Epigenetics

(*)  enquire about the availability of the course in English

Practical courses:

Learning goal 2


Internships and visits in cooperating laboratories

Students conduct part of their work or training at foreign institution for a total length of at least one month or directly participate in other forms of international cooperation, such as participation in an international creative project with results published or presented abroad. The recommended form is an internship (in total for at least three months) with emphasis on advanced methods or new approaches/ models.

Presentations of results

Students are required to attend the conference of doctoral students, which is summoned every year by the Board. Students actively participate in its organization. During the conference, students present results of their projects and discuss methods and issues of common interest. Both the Board members and the mentors are invited to the conference.

Active participation in international conferences according to the focus and possibilities of the mentor’s team is also recommended.

Ph.D. exam

The state doctoral exam is an important control point of the study, in addition to the annual ISP checks.  The exam serves to test student’s understanding of the research project and his/ her orientation in the research field. The committee assesses depth and breadth of knowledge of developmental and cell biology with emphasis on areas related to the project. The recommended timing of the exam is the second semester of the second year of study or the first semester of the third year, so that the exam can serve as a useful feedback for the student. Postponing the exam after the 3rd year without reason may affect student’s grading during the subsequent annual evaluation.

PhD Thesis

Publication prerequisites:

The applicant must be an author/ co-author of at least two papers accepted in peer-reviewed journals indexed in the Web of Science (preferably with IF above the research field median) and should be a first author on at least one publication (shared first authorship should be communicated ex ante with the Board). In exceptional and warranted cases, the Board may decide otherwise; an example of such situation may be one excellent first author publication.

PhD Thesis:

The thesis should be written as concise, fair and comprehensive information about the applicant's scientific achievements. It should enable the reviewers and the defense committee to assess whether the candidate has acquired both theoretical knowledge and methodical experience as prerequisite for independent scientific work in the field. The candidate should address the scientific problems and open questions of the project and formulate his/ her independent opinions.

The text contains:

a) Abstract – It should summarize the project’s aims and results for the public; it should not exceed 500 words.

b) Introduction – It should be outlined as brief review of current knowledge related to the project. Recommended length is ca 20 pages of standard manuscript formatting.

c) Methods, Results – These sections should describe in detail the methods and the results of experiments carried out by the applicant, which have not become part of the published papers/ submitted manuscripts. The published papers/ submitted manuscripts should be included as supplements.

d) Discussion – This section gives the author the opportunity to present her/ his independent opinions on the results and their significance. It should reflect the level of knowledge at the date of thesis submission and it should mention relevant literature containing supportive or contradictory results. Minimum length is 10 pages.

e) Summary - Summary of the main results. Recommended length is 1 page.

f) Accompanying sections - list of abbreviations, list of references, information on data repositories or websites where appropriate, statement describing the contribution of the applicant to the published work, including a detailed statement about his/ her role in the preparation of the publications.

g) Publications and submitted manuscripts which contain the results obtained by the student.

The text in parts a) to e) should be written by the student and must not be contained elsewhere. The text cannot be copied, even in part, from the publications in section g) or other texts. The text can be written in English, Czech or Slovak. Formatting of the text, figures, tables and accompanying data should comply with the rules for manuscript submission of a journal of choice, such as the journal where one of the author’s papers was published.

Proposal of PhD projects in the academic year 2020/2021

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