Director’s Introduction

Petr Dráber

Dear Colleagues,

By April 30th, 2017 ended the mandate of Professor Václav Hořejší as Director of our Institute. Unlike others, he stayed in the post of Director two years longer because while coming into position in May 2005, only starting from January 1st, 2007 he served as Director in the new legal framework of public research institutions (v. v. i.). I wish to thank him for his long-lasting and productive work for the Institute.

His activities at the Institute are associated with a number of changes, including completion of the new IMG building in Krč (2006), new animal facility (2007), conference hall (2009), completion of the guest house (2010), renovation of pavilion CH (2010), partial renovation of the campus in Koleč (2011), construction of the kindergarten (2011), renovation and addition to pavilion V (2013), implementation of project BIOCEV (2013-2015), and extension and completion of equipment of the Microscopy Centre and Light Microscopy core facility  (2016-2017). During this period, the Institute also underwent numerous organizational changes, from transformation to the public research institution (v. v. i.), creation of basis for the Institute of Biotechnology (that became independent in 2008), enrolling of a number of new groups (15 in total), introduction of a system of simplified allocation of wage budget into research groups, establishment of the International Scientific Board (2014), introduction of numerous new core facilities (new animal facilities, transgenic unit, functional genomics and bioinformatics, microscopy, flow cytometry, cryobank, monoclonal antibodies, media, irradiation, histology, information technologies), establishment of three National Research Infrastructures (Czech Centre for Phenogenomics, CZ-OPENSCREEN, Czech-Bioimaging), to intensified use of external services at optimized conditions (e.g., supplies of material).

In the area of scientific life, there were also many changes, such as introduction of regular Wednesday seminars and ensuing Monday meetings of the group leaders, effective utilization of the Institute seminar rooms for meetings of laboratory members, and extensive utilization of electronic tools for inter- and intra-institutional communication. With the increasing Institute quality, our research received higher extra-budget support from large projects of the National Programme of Sustainability, as well as from international projects (COST, Marie Curie, Norway grants, ERC, EMBO installation grants). High success rate was also apparent in obtaining funds from the Czech Science Foundation, Czech Technological Agency, and other funding sources.  IMG scientists were granted a number of awards, including the National Award of the Government of the Czech Republic “Czech Brains” (2x), Prize of the Academy of Sciences (5x), Prize of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (1x), Award of the Learned Society (1x), Silver Memorial Medal of the Senate of Parliament of the Czech Republic (3x), award of the Academy of Sciences Premium Academiae (3x), J. E. Purkynje Fellowship of the Academy of Sciences (1x), O. Wichterle Fellowship (3x), and prestigious membership in the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (1x). The level of educational activities significantly increased by major participation of our scientists in teaching at Universities. Seven professors and 12 associate professors working at the Institute now provide 17 semestral courses at the Universities. At present, the Institute comprises 28 research groups localized on the Krč campus (21 groups), in Vestec (6 groups) and in Dejvice (1 group).

From both the personnel and material aspect, the Institute steps into the coming period as a consolidated formation, which is capable of fulfilling its functions at the required level and is ready to reach new significant milestones. Among the major ones are achieving maximum effectiveness in exploitation and operation of the recent state-of-the-art structures and infrastructures in Krč and Vestec and enhancing cooperation between the laboratories not only within IMG, but among the Academy Institutes. These and other activities, including the submitted project for human resource mobilization and second phase of preparation of the collaborating project between IMG and Max Planck Institute in Dresden, could contribute to elevation of the quality of science at IMG and attractiveness of our Institute both for researchers from the Czech Republic and abroad. Another positive factor are discussions that were launched at the level of Academy management and Government of the Czech Republic on the topic of necessary increase of institutional funding.

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 founded on solid basic 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.

I am convinced that the Institute of Molecular Genetics, in continuation of the famous past represented by the names of Milan Hašek, Josef Říman, Jan Svoboda, Václav Pačes, Václav Hořejší and a number of others, has a bright future ahead.

 

I thank all the Institute employees, both in scientific and supporting departments, for their already accomplished work, and I am looking forward to further collaboration.

 

May 1st, 2017
Petr Dráber

Last change: May 1, 2017