Director’s Introduction

Václav Hořejší

The past year 2016 was again successful for the IMG. The research support of our scientific groups from grant funding was again improved, the institutional part of our budget was again slightly increased. Based on very good results of our recent 5-year evaluation by international committees, our institutional budget for 2017 was increased by about 7 %, unprecedented in the past seven years.

Two new “IMG Fellow” research groups were started and received good grant support.

The past year was satisfactory in the area of our ‘raison d’être’ – good science. We again published a number of scientific papers in prestigious international journals including PLoS Genet., Mol. Cell. Biol., Sci. Rep., PNAS, Nature, J. Cell. Sci., J. Biol. Chem., Development, Mol. Biol. Cell, Eur. J. Immunol., Nat. Protoc., Oncotarget, Cell. Mol. Life Sci., BBA, RNA Biol., Mol. Biol. Evol., Transl. Oncol., Genesis, Int. J. Oncol., etc.

Scientific life at our Institute was again highlighted by tens of scientific seminars and lectures given by our researchers and by our guests. Our main conference hall (bearing the name “Milan Hašek Auditorium” in honour of Milan Hašek, founder of our Institute) hosted several conferences, organized by IMG but also other Academy institutes.

The BIOCEV project (www.biocev.eu), successfully completed by the end of 2015, flourished in 2016. Researchers and students from six Academy institutes and two faculties of Charles University have been working in the brand new well-equipped buildings in Vestec, including over 150 IMG employees.

At present, 28 research groups of the Institute are engaged in the topics of molecular and cellular biology, molecular immunology, functional genomics and bioinformatics, study of oncogenes, molecular biology of development, structural biology and mechanisms of receptor signalling. Very positive for the Institute is the presence of about 100 doctoral students and 30 undergraduates. A number of our scientists actively work as university teachers (e.g., eight as professors and 12 as associate professors; we teach 17 semestral courses at the Universities).

Although we consider basic research as the priority area of the Institute activity, with publications in prestigious international journals as its main output, valuable applied research with particular practical applications is also being developed at our Institute. Also in this area the Institute has achieved significant success, with several well-prospering spin-off companies established in the past years as a result – these companies maintain close collaborations with several of our research groups.

The high standing of the Institute researchers is manifested by a number of recent awards and prizes, including the National Award of the Government of the Czech Republic “Czech Brains” awarded to Prof. J. Svoboda in 2010, the Prize of the Academy of Sciences to the team of Prof. J. Bártek (2011), František Běhounek Award to Prof. J. Bártek (2013), Silver Memorial Medal of the Senate of Parliament of the Czech Republic to Prof. J. Bártek, Prof. V. Hořejší (2013) and Dr. J. Hejnar (2015), prize of the Neuron Foundation to Dr. P. Svoboda (2014) and Dr. Jana Dobrovolná (2015), Novartis Discovery Award to Dr. M. Flemr (2014) and Dr. Lenka Kyjacová (2015). Prof. J. Forejt was holder of the prestigious five-year Academy award Premium Academiae since 2008; three Institute researchers (Dr. R. Sedláček and Dr. P. Svoboda in 2008, Dr. V. Varga in 2015) were awardees of the five-year J.E. Purkynje Fellowship, Dr. L. Macůrek and Dr. H. Fulková were awarded the Otto Wichterle fellowship in 2011 or 2015, respectively. Three Institute scientists (Prof. J. Svoboda, Prof. V. Pačes and Prof. J. Forejt) are elected members of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic. Four Institute scientists (Prof. J. Bártek, Prof. J. Svoboda, Prof. V. Pačes and Prof. J. Forejt) are elected EMBO members. IMG scientists serve on 30 Editorial Boards of scientific journals.

Outstanding achievements of the previous year were the National Award of the Government of the Czech Republic “Czech Brains” to Prof. J. Forejt and election of Prof. J. Svoboda as the Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

The scientists of the Institute of Molecular Genetics are very open to co-operation with the media in popularizing scientific results and explaining the importance of science in general and molecular genetics in particular (see e.g. www.img.cas.cz/novinky/img-v-mediich – in Czech).

Among important tasks of this new year will be further successful continuation of the BIOCEV project and operation of three National research infrastructures (Czech Center for Phenogenomics, CZ-Openscreen a Czech-BioImaging).

I am convinced that the Institute of Molecular Genetics can more than ever hope for a good future, as a continuation of the famous past represented by the names of Milan Hašek, Josef Říman, Jan Svoboda, and a number of others.

I wish to cordially thank all Institute employees for their work in the past year and hope that a lot of success awaits us in the newly born year 2017.

 

January 2nd, 2017
Václav Hořejší

Last change: January 4, 2017