The staff of the specialised laboratory at the Department of Biology are part of the international research team engaged in research of biosensors applicable, for example, in detection of pesticides and herbicides. Research at the department of biology in the above listed areas has been supported by a number of projects as, for example, by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (GAČR) 522/03/0659 (Dr. J.Malý)- “Perfection of photosynthesis-based biosensors for routine detection of residual herbicides and risks for non-target organisms” and MPO FT-TA/089 (Dr. J.Malý) – “IBIS – Intelligent biosensor system for detecting pesticides and herbicides in the environment”. The main output of the latter project, along with numerous publications, is the joint patent application in collaboration with the firm BVT Technologies a.s. PV 2005-294 ” Nanostructured working electrode of electrochemical sensor – the technology of its production and the production of sensor with integrated nanostructured working electrode”. Currently, the department staff are investigating the problems of biosensors in the framework of project 203/07/P412 Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (GAČR) (Dr. J.Malý) ” New detection methods of electrochemical apt sensors based on redox reporter molecules” and KAN200520702 (Dr. J.Malý) “Nano-Immunosensors for detecting cytokines” Grant Agency of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic (GAAV ČR), program “Nanotechnology for society”.
Despite the fact that anti-substances are still the most important candidates for the development of protein chips for application in proteomics or in a number of diagnostic applications, synthetic ligands, the so-called aptamers, are getting greater significance of late. Although these molecules are in a number of parameters comparable with anti-substances, or even in some respect excelling them, their application is still at the beginning. The reason lies, particularly, in the absence of appropriate method by which it could be possible to effectively obtain and transfer information about the binding between aptamer and the target analyt. The analytical equipment which use aptamers as bio-recognition element is generally named as aptasensors. In most cases they are based on the principle of optical detection. As distinct from this, electrochemical detection could bring about a number of advantages as high sensitivity, quick response, direct producing of electric signal, low cost, possibility of miniaturization and multi-constituent analysis. The first project focuses on the development of new generally applicabel methods for the transfer of information about binding between aptamer and the target analyt in electrochemical aptasensors. The outputs of the research will find potential application in a broad range of diagnostic areas including proteomics.
The aim of the second project is to develop in the Czech Republic integrated basic research of physical principles and nanotechnological procedures which enable preparation of fast response, sensitive, specific and robust Nano-Immunosensors for detecting biological ligands, mainly cytokines. Four academic groups have joined their efforts here with three research oriented companies to create a research consortium. This will in tight expert cooperation investigate the relation of structure and function of recombinant binding proteins, mechanisms of their immobilization on a colloid nanoparticle and nanostructured surfaces, principles of effective preparation of optimised nanoelectrode surfaces and their integration in biosensors. Dynamic characteristics and selectivity of the proposed immunochronographic and electrochemical sensors will be examined on a model event of detection of interferon gama in defined solutions and real blood samples of patients with suspicion on tuberculosis.
The outputs of the Department of Biology in the field of research of spider silk, its ultrastructure, macrostructure and histology of spinning glands were presented in 2008 in the program of Czech television PORT-“Fascinating Spiders”.
We can’t leave out further patents of the Faculty of Science UJEP. Dr.Nguyen Thi Thu Huong at the Department of Chemistry shared in the framework of collaboration on the project of the Grant Agency of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic (GA ČR) with the University of Chemical Technology in Prague on preparing of Czech patent applications (PV 2007-868-“Synthesis of methyl (5b)-3,3-diIH-pynol-2-ylcholan24 oat” and PV 207869-“Synthesis of spiroanel oligopyrrolic macrocycles derived from lithotomic acid”). These outputs have already been patented. One of the co-authors for the Faculty of Science UJEP is student Petra Klimová, who was engaged in the project in the form of diploma thesis.
Department of Physics has long been engaged in research in the field of physics of plasma and plasma modifications of substances surface, preparation of new substances by plasmochemical technology, topographic analysis of nanosubstances surface and biological samples by AFM methods, analysis of substances composition by SIMS method, modification of hard substances surface with assistance of plasma – plasma oxidation, characterizing of surface (AFM, SIMS and XPS), modelling of polymer nanocomposite structures. Further on, it is investigated the problem of modelling of energy processes in the solar atmosphere with focus on physics of eruptions, computer modelling of problems of physics of low-temperature plasma and computer modelling of composite and nanocomposite structures, complex random structures, their properties, problems of three-dimensional reconstruction and problems of methodology of molecular simulations and their application to problems of physics.
The potentialities of analysis with SIMS method were presented in2007 in the program of Czech Television PORT-“What is hidden on the surface”.
Problems of experimental preparation of metallised plastic foils, their topographic and structural analyses and application of computer modelling methods for characterising composite substances and ion-surface interaction are the subject of research in which the staff of the department have been engaged since 2006 in the framework of the research centre of basic research LC60051 (Doc. J.Pavlik) – “Preparing, modifying and characterizing of substances by energetic radiation”.
Substances based on metal oxide manifest a wide range of interesting chemical and physical properties. These substances render a spectrum of interesting possibilities, for example, in the field of new technologies for preparing sensors. This problem is dealt in the project KAN 400720701 (Doc. J.Pavlik) – “Hierarchical nanosystems for microelectronics” program “Nanotechnologies for society”. Very interesting electrical and optical properties are manifested by composite metal surfaces or metal oxides with polymer matrix. Their properties are greatly influenced by the structure of the composites. By methods of computer modelling with consequent analysis of the image, it is possible to investigate at this type of surfaces not only reconstruction of 3D structures from lesser dimensional images, but also the charge transfer and the processes of current conduction. This problem is dealt with in the project KAN 10112070 (Doc. S.Novák) – “Nanocomposite surfaces and nanoparticles created in low-temperature plasma for surface modification” program “Nanotechnologies for society”.
In the field of engagement of the Department of Physics of the Faculty of Science in the international program, there can be named, for example, in collaboration with the Institute of Chemical Processes Fundamentals of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic indirect share in investigating the project EU-MULTIPRO, which deals with molecular and mesoscopping modelling of network polymers modified by metallic nanoparticles used in optoelectronic industry. In the framework of this project, the Department of Physics is now collaborating with institutions in Italy – Universita Degli Studi di Trieste and in Swtzerland Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Swiszzera Italiana (SUPSI) in Lugano. As an outlet of this cooperation is the international project COST-TD0802 (Doc. M.Lísal and Dr. M.Malý) “Dendimers in biomedical applications”, which was accepted and approved at the level of the EU Committee in 2008. In 2007-2008, the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Science carried out investigation of the project of science and technical cooperation between the Czech Republic and Austria KONTAKT No.60715 (Dr. J.Lorinčik and Doc. Pavlík)”Slow ion induced kinetic electron emission from metals.” The Czech partners were Institute of Photonics and Electronics of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic and the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Science UJEP, the Austrian partner was TU Wien, Institut fur Allgemeine Physik.
Department of geography has long been engaged in the research of environmental stress in the country, methods of evaluating the potentials and limits of the country exploitation (geomorphological and hydrometeorological risks), horizontal structure of the country, regional identity, sustainable regional development, etc.), investigating regional aspects of European integration (Czech-Saxon borderland, Euroregion Elbe/Labe) and application of GIS technology and immersion virtual reality for landscape planning and regional development. In the past years, the Department research has been supported by CEP projects of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic IJ 008/04DPI (Doc. J.Anděl), the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic IJ008/04DPI “Methods of evaluating social and ecologic coherence on the background of changing cultural landscape in the transformation period”. In 2009, the department was awarded the project with the Grant Agency of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic IAA311230901 (Doc. M.Jeřábek) “Czech borderland after Schengen: peculiar, oscillatory and/ or transit territory.” In the framework of research the Department cooperates with several professional institutions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany.
At the Department of Mathematics there are being developed the following three areas of research: mathematical analysis (space functions and presentment from the point of view of structure and quality aspect, modern theory of derivation and integral), algebra (non-associative algebra and theory of binary systems, variety of arranged subgroups), didactics and history of mathematics. The Department research is supported by the project of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic 406/07/1026 “Obstacles in fylogenetic and ontogenetic development of the concept of infinity”.
Research and Development facilities of the Faculty
Every department is equipped with a range of standard instruments and laboratory systems corresponding to the character of problems under investigation. It is not our aim here to present the complete list of equipment. However, in a number of cases the Faculty premises are equipped with some top facilities, which are worth mentioning.
Department of Biology is equipped with modern microscope AFM with a scanning sensor head – NTEGRA-NT-MDT. Currently, there’s being procured a scanning electron microscope SEM.
Department of Physics is equipped with deposition systems for the preparation of oxide thin layers, metal/plastic polymer composite layers, and a system for plastic modification. Chemical structure of samples’ surface can be investigated by the method of XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) – SPECS. Concentration profiles of single component substances can be investigated by the method of SIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) – ATOMIKA 3000.
Department of Chemistry in the past two years has expanded its equipment by vibration densitometer, infrared spectrophotometer with Furrier transformation and liquid chromatograph with
volume detector. As the first in Central Europe, the Department purchased equipment for determining electrokinetic potential (SurPASS) of hard substances surface.
Department of Geography has long been dedicated to the problem of 3D modelling and creating 3-dimensional outputs in the form of tangible models and visual space perception. The activities at the Department of Geography led to formation of a new division “Centre for virtual reality and landscape modelling”- CEVRAMOK. The main component of the centre is CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment). Thus, the centre has become the third place in the Czech Republic (Škoda car factory, Czech Technical University), where this system can be used, and the second accessible to the general public (the facility in the Škoda car company is not accessible to general public or to the majority of private institutions).
Notable Collaboration in Research and Development with Institutions in the Czech Republic
It is characteristic of the Faculty of Science to intensively collaborate with a range of academic and research institutions in the Czech Republic. Collaboration with the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic is traditionally based on joint investigation of projects (Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, Grant Agency of the ASCR, research centre of basic research), joint publication activities and collaboration in the field of engaging students in the form of diploma theses or dissertations (for example, in 2008 our student Vit Rozsíval defended diploma thesis which he had elaborated on the premises of the Physical Institute of the ASCR, and student Romana Mikšová is working on experimental diploma thesis at the Nuclear Physics Institute at the ASCR, in the same way Mgr. Petr Malinský is elaborating the experimental part of his dissertation there).
Collaboration with the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic is carried out at the following institutions:
- Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the ASCR in Prague
- Nuclear Physics Institute in Řeži
- Institute of Astronomy in Ondřejov
- Institute of Organic Chemistry in Prague
- Institute of Entomology in České Budějovice
- Institute of Botany in Průhonice
- Institute of Country Ecology in České Budějovice
- Institute of Microbiology in Třebon, division of phototrophic organisms
- Institute of Physiology in Prague
- Institute of Physics in Prague
The Faculty of Science collaborates in the field of research and development with about ten higher education institutions. Since the Faculty foundation, the number of collaborating faculties or institutions has nearly doubled. Since 2007 this number has been further growing in connection with the engagement of the Faculty of Science in the three networks of institutions investigating the project “Nanotechnologies for Society”.
Collaboration with higher education institutions:
- Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, University of Technology in Brno
- Faculty of Chemistry, University of Technology in Brno
- Institute of Physical Biology, University of South Bohemia in Nove Hrady
- Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague
- Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague
- Pedagogical Faculty, Charles University in Prague
- Faculty of Military Health Sciences, University of Defence in Hradec Králové
- Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague