Department of Parasitology
We provide master (M.Sc.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) programmes in "Parasitology". Recently, we have also opened (in cooperation with two other departments of our faculty) a new master programme "Parasitology and Infection Biology".
Due to its broad focus and diversity of experimental approaches, parasitology occupies a unique position among other disciplines studied at the Faculty of Science. It is characterized by complex and interdisciplinary approaches to the studied issues. In parasitology, classical zoology and ecology meet sophisticated technologies of molecular biology, biochemistry, or immunology. Similar synergistic combinations of two or more approaches can frequently be observed in the current parasitology research. Members of the department, including students, participate in many important projects, together with research institutes from all around the globe. For example, we take part in the study of chemical agents and their effect on human parasites (a necessary step in the development of new drugs for the treatment of human patients) or characterize relationships between dangerous human parasites and their vectors (potentially applicable in the control of life-threatening parasites). Taken together, parasitology in general and our departmental research in particular can bring important knowledge to human and veterinary medicine.
Using the most up-to-date knowledge of molecular biology we are able to enter deeply into the enigmatic world of molecules that stay behind the parasite-host interactions. Those, who prefer fieldwork, may be interested in our field activities either in Czechia or abroad. In recent years, we have described several parasitic species so far unknown to science. Among them, one species of flukes representing a risk for human health was found. We also participate in epidemiological studies of diseases caused by human parasites in Turkey, Israel, Ethiopia, and Iceland. We go for regular expeditions to study the parasites of wild animals in domestic/foreign terrestrial and aquatic biotopes.
It is apparent from the above that the Department provides studies in several basic areas of parasitology. Anyone who is interested in molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, immunology, cell biology, taxonomy, morphology, ecology or evolution may find an opportunity to study at our Department.
The department was established by Prof. Otto Jírovec in 1938 and continued in the tradition of parasitologically oriented zoology which became famous by the works of F. Vejdovský, B. Němec, A. Mrázek, J. Hahn, V. Breindl, J. Komárek and K. Schäferna. Zoologically directed research was developed further, but Prof. Jírovec gave the department a new twist by using parasitological findings in human and veterinary medicine. The world-renowned publications dealing with the agents of serious diseases (vaginal trichomoniasis, pneumocystosis, toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis) that came out of the parasitological laboratories at the Faculty of Science confirmed the rightness of this concept. Parasitology was primarily a part of the department of ecological zoology (since 1953 under the lead of Prof. Jírovec), later (since 1960) a part of the department of parasitology and hydrobiology, and as an independent department, it was established on 1st of March 2004.