News

EHRA Accresitation

22. 8. 2019 | 

EHRA Accreditation for ICE group (FNUSA-ICRC)

The research team of FNUSA-ICRC Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology (ICE) was the first in the Czech Republic to be accredited as a recognized training centers by the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA). "This is a major achievement," said Guido Caluori, research coordinator of the ICE team, "and it is the first step towards building an EP training center in Brno with internationally recognized standards for both Czech and foreign candidates. It also serves to further put FNUSA-ICRC on the main stage of international cardiovascular research."

EHRA (European Hearth Rhythm Association) is a branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The mission of the association is improving the quality of life and reducing sudden cardiac death by limiting the impact of heart rhythm disturbances. EHRA has more than 3 500 members from across the world including physicians, arrhythmologists, young electrophysiologists, nurses and other professionals.

prof. RNDr. Zbyněk Prokop Ph.D.

21. 8. 2019 | 

Enzyme kinetics is one of the scientific disciplines, which can not do without the top equipment not only in the field of instruments, but also dynamic software. The world leader in the development of these sophisticated devices and programs is KinTek Corp. Founded by Kenneth A. Johnson.

And on his initiative and with his participation, New Enzymology Kinetics Workshops are held. The thirteenth edition took place at the beginning of the summer for the first time in Europe - in Brno. The main local organizer was prof. RNDr. Zbyněk Prokop Ph.D., member of the FNUSA-ICRC Protein Engineering research team. Thirty-two participants from all over the world gathered at the event, including academic (University of Cambridge, University of Boston, University of Münster, Francis Crick Institute) and commercial area (Roche, MyoKardia, Pentapharm, Tango Therapoeutics, etc.).

Over the four days, participants learned modern kinetic methods associated with high-resolution structural data, which provide a powerful tool for determining reaction mechanisms. Modern kinetic analysis has been described in detail using various kinetic and equilibrium methods using numerous examples of proteins and nucleic acids. The course also focused on developing the path from experimental design to data collection and analysis to gain new mechanistic perspectives. "The workshop was successful not only in terms of scientific content, it also provided a unique space for creating new international contacts," added Professor Prokop in the evaluation of the event.

Workshop enzymové kinetiky v Brně - 2019
Prof. Hort - FNUSA-ICRC

20. 8. 2019 |

Prof. Jakub Hort, Ph.D.

Head of the FNUSA-ICRC Research Dementia (DMT) MUDr. Jakub Hort was appointed Courtesy Professor at the University of South Florida.

This prestigious award further strengthens thelong term ties between the DMT research team and the American University The relationship includes almost a decade of student exchanges, dozens of publications, and other important scientific and academic outcomes. Dr. Hort has played a pivotal role in establishing and nurturing the relationship between his research group and researchers at USF.

"Collaboration with colleagues at the University of South Florida is long-term, constantly evolving, and younger colleagues are also involved in the research, which is reflected in an increase in publications and scientific stays on both sides," Hort added.

Dr. Jose Hernandez

12. 8. 2019 |

Dr. Jose Hernandez - Kardiovize Brno 20130  FNUSA-ICRC

Dr. Jose Pantaleon Hernandez-Rodriguez is a Spanish scientist who has been working for almost a year at the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno. His has an interest in cardiovascular diseases, and he would like to develop and implement health initiatives in this city, through his expertise in prevention programs. We have asked him how he can compare his pubic health experience in Western countries, with that of the Czech republic.

José, could you briefly describe your career so far?

I have worked for the National Health Service, in the UK, both as a Public Health information Officer and as well as in commissioning roles. Following my training, in Oxford School of Medical Sciences, I have worked as a project manager and in consultancy roles, in England. I am now based in Brno, and I would like to improve the health of communities through public health prevention programmes.

And what are you doing now?

My interests includes studying the awareness of cardiovascular risks, here in Brno. This is a interesting topic, while Western state-supported campaigns to improve prevention and healthy lifestyle have had measurable impacts, that of Central and Eastern Europe is not well-know. I often see here agressive advertising of alcoholic beverages and tobacco. I would like to improve this.

Is it real at all?

There are very real differences between cardiovascular mortality in western and eastern Europe. The Czech Republic has a higher mortality compared to neighboring Western countries. This is probably related to lifestyle, which can be theoretically modified not only by individual choice, but also aided by policies proposed towards reducing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco at state level, and by local politicians. Paradoxically, aggressive marketing campaigns of tobacco companies, coupled with historically a very high alcohol consumption, have made Eastern European countries an ideal place to implement effective and measurable public health campaigns.

Do you have any evidence this is the case here in Brno?

Yes, certainly, thanks to the Kardiovize Brno 2030 project. Since its start, in 2011, is the most comprehensive cardiovascular prevention program in Central and Eastern Europe. It has analyzed the health of the population of the city of Brno, as well as mapped cardiovascular risk factors in as much as one percent of its citizens, providing strength to our findings. Results showed a very high proportion of men (91%) and women (79%) reporting less than recommended fruit or vegetable intake, it also found  that  over a quarter of participants were smokers. This, together with other lifestyle factors may affect  the rate of cardiovascular disease in Brno.
We are helping disseminate this information through scientific publications and conferences. Kardiovize Brno 2030 is aiming to a wider audience, so  that programs looking at improving risk factors work not only in Brno, but throughout the country.

And are we able to contribute to the implementation of specific programs?

This is, of course, the BIG question, are we able to translate research into practice? I am optimistic. Experience from foreign settings provide evidence that raising awareness of risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure or smoking can be effective at town, municipality level and beyond. Is a matter of addressing this issue outside the academic arena. Specific impacts such as reducing health care costs perhaps may be an argument strong enough to plan and implement an appropriate public health strategy.

Katja Klosterman FNUSA-ICRC

8. 8. 2019 | 

For two months, she participated in our research and worked with neural cells. Katja Klosterman came to the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno from the United States for an internship and gained valuable experience under the leadership of Gorazd B. Stokin, the leader of the center. In an interview, she told us how she liked working with cells and what impressions Brno made on her.

Katja, what or who brought you to the scientific career, was it your childhood dream, or did it come later?

When I was younger, I actually wanted to become a dentist.  I remember being obsessed with this toy that I had that allowed me to pretend I was a dentist when I was a kid.  It wasn’t until I grew older that I saw a commercial for a nonprofit that repairs cleft palates that I realized I wanted to do more in the world of global health.  I remember watching this commercial and saying “I want to do that one day.” Since then, my passion for science and medicine has jumped a bit around.  While I’ve always been incapacitated with a curiosity for medicine, the end focus of my scientific career has always revolved around creating the greatest impact for underserved populations.  This dream of mine continues to grow as I learn more about the health challenges that underserved populations have to face every day.

What exactly did you study in the US?

I am currently in my fourth year of my undergraduate studies in Biochemistry with a certificate in Cross Sector Leadership at Arizona State University.

And what brought you to Brno?

It’s actually kind of a funny story that starts with defeat. I had spent the past year pursuing research in Dr. Yonas Geda’s Translational Neurosciences and Aging Project at the Mayo Clinic.  Within that time, I poured my heart and soul into a project for a small grant that my University was offering students that would have allowed me to research the stigmatization of mental health in five low income countries.  Through the extensive mentorship and support that Dr. Geda had offered me as my mentor, I made it to the final stage of this competitive grant.  Unfortunately, it came down to me not receiving the grant, which as you can imagine, was heartbreaking.  After that, Dr. Geda and I reconvened to have a discussion about where I wanted to go from there.  I mentioned that I had wanted to get more hands-on, experimental research in the future to help me determine if I wanted to choose the MD/PhD path that I had been wondering about for so long.  And that’s when he mentioned the opportunity to work in Dr. Gorazd Stokin’s lab at FNUSA-ICRC in Brno.  Ecstatic to hear about this, I immediately threw myself into reading about the research that Dr. Stokin’s lab was doing.  
For awhile, I really couldn’t believe that I would have the opportunity to work with neural cells while living abroad in Brno at Dr. Stokin’s lab and  thought it was too good to be true.  I learned so much about research and neuroscience during my time at the ICRC this summer that I am so incredibly grateful for the experience.

And what are your impressions of the internship, will it help you in your next career?

I have always wanted to use my future education and career to help solve global health issues that impact so many. Whether that be in the field of research or in the field of medicine, this internship allowed me to further solidify my passion for science and even led me to discover my love for neuroscience in particular.

What was your idea of the Czech Republic before you arrived here?

To be quite honest, I hadn’t really considered pursuing research in the Czech Republic before Dr. Geda had mentioned it.  I asked a couple of my friends that had been to the Czech Republic what they thought of it when I realized that I might be going to Brno for the summer.  They had nothing but great things to say, so I would say that my idea of the Czech Republic was very idealistic and positive.

And what about Brno, how did you get under your skin?

Brno was one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever lived in.  Where I come from, things are so spread apart and you can’t really walk or bike anywhere.  That’s probably one of my favorite things about Brno- the accessibility of public transportation.  Granted, I had plenty of moments of confusion and some panic where I’d realize I was on the wrong bus line or heading in the wrong direction, but there is just something so magical about living in a city that I can just hop on a couple of buses to get to work. Even when I’d get on the wrong bus line, I’d always be excited (unless I was running late for work of course) to see a new part of town.

What are you going to do now and what are your plans for the future?

Currently, I’m finishing my undergraduate thesis and am planning graduate with my Bachelor of Science in December.  From there, I am hoping to pursue more research while studying for the MCAT and applying for an MD/PhD so that I may continue my education.

Are you planning to come back and visit us again? :)

I loved everything about the time I spent in Brno.  The research was exciting and engaging.  The city was beautiful and welcoming. I’ve learned so much through my short time in Brno that I do see myself returning in the future, whether it be for leisure or research.

Katja Klosterman at FNUSA-ICRC, Brno, Czech Republic
FNUSA-ICRC core facilities meeting cooperation

7. 8. 2019 |

The exchange of experience and sharing of information about the core facilities and internal service in various institutions was the aim of the visit of representatives of CEITEC MU and the Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences with colleagues from the International Clinical Research Center St. Anne´s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). They are members of the Alliance4Life project and this meeting was initiated at the last alliance meeting in Jūrmala, Latvia.

“There we introduced representatives of partner institutions partial steps which we have already taken and those that we plan to implement in the future. It was most interesting for Slovak colleagues, so we invited them to check it,” explained Kamila Kočí, Head of the FNUSA-ICRC Research Team, Mass Spectrometry. “We invited CEITEC MU representatives to the meeting, which is logical - they are closest to us and we can inspire each other. And it was a good step, I would like to thank Kateřina Vágnerová, who helped us in many ways,” said Kočí.
Eleven people attended the two-day meeting, in addition to Core Facilities staff also experts in the field of evaluation in science. "The areas of our interest are partially overlapping, but the points of view are different, so we invited representatives of both working groups," Kočí added.

The presentations and results of this meeting will also be used at Alliance4Life's fifth session as part of the Core Facilities & Big Data training group and in the preparation of the FNUSA-ICRC Core Facilities evaluation in the coming years.

FNUSA-ICRC CEITEC Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences meetingFNUSA-ICRC CEITEC Biomedical Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences meeting - Photo 2
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