Annual IMG Conference 2024 and Awards for the Best IMG Publications of 2023

5. 6. 2024 Press Releases

On the 23rd and 24th of May 2024, the traditional IMG Conference was held at the premises of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IMG) in Krč. The meeting included a series of scientific lectures summarizing the latest discoveries from the laboratories of half of the IMG research groups, and a keynote lecture by Prof. Jiří Forejt on his lifelong contribution to hybrid sterility research. The conference also featured a lecture by the IMG Director on the work of the Institute in 2023 and the best publications of the past year were awarded.

A total of 13 scientific lectures took place during one and a half days, in which the heads of the laboratories or their representatives presented ongoing experiments and recent research results to the audience.

The afternoon part of the first day of the conference was devoted to the keynote lecture of Prof. Jiří Forejt “Fifty Years of Hybrid Sterility 1”, in which he summarized his contribution to this scientific area. In his lecture, he mentioned not only numerous discoveries, but also great friendships and inspiring meetings with many scientists from all over the world. “I would like to thank all the people I have had the opportunity to work with and who have allowed me to enjoy my passion for research,” he concluded his presentation. The Director then formally congratulated Prof. Forejt on his lifelong work at IMG and presented him with the book “History of the Academy of Sciences in Pictures” as a token of appreciation.

IMG výroční konference 2024
Petr Dráber, Director of the IMG

A word from the Director

Petr Dráber, Director of the Institute, introduced his contribution by summarizing the changes in the organizational structure of IMG in 2023. This included an overview of the terminated or merged groups and the establishment of new junior groups. He mentioned that the Institute Management, the Council of IMG, and the Supervisory Board of IMG had worked almost unchanged in the previous year. A new position of PhD Coordinator has been created within the Office of the Director.

He also devoted time to discussing life at the institute. He appreciated the cooperation of IMG departments in overcoming the energy crisis in 2022/2023. He recalled the need for increased data management activities as well as building new storage capacity for the institute’s servers. He also mentioned the activities related to the lease of the Institute’s premises, which brings in funds used to ensure the maintenance and operation of the Institute’s buildings.

The Director thanked the administrative staff for their great efforts in repairing the terrace next to the cafeteria, replacing the cooling unit on the roof of the main building, and many other repairs and construction-related activities. He also noted that because of the accommodation units we manage, we are able to offer accommodation to new PhD students upon their arrival at the Institute. He mentioned numerous other activities to ensure the running of the Institute at the required level, including a meeting of the heads of research laboratories and administrative and service units in October 2023.

Petr Dráber then recalled the successful completion of the BSL3 workplace for work with animals in BIOCEV and the start of preparatory work for the construction of the BSL3 workplace in Krč. Finally, he thanked all the staff members providing work within the IMG committees and praised the seminars organized by the PhD students and the PhD conference, which had high attendance and interesting keynote lectures.

Finally, the director also mentioned plans for the near future. He reminded that the management of the Institute is currently preparing the documents for the next round of evaluation of research-oriented institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences, specifically for the years 2020-2024. This evaluation promises several simplifications and changes compared to the last evaluation for the years 2015-2019, which was presented by the guarantor of the evaluation, Jiří Homola, on 20 February 2024 at a lecture at IMG. The upcoming evaluation will cover a total of 21 IMG research groups, excluding new and ending groups.

Part of his presentation was devoted to the provision of electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) for the IMG employees. CZ-OPENSCREEN has developed its own ELN system, which has been offered to other IMG users. Initially, the use of ELNs will not be mandatory. The use of the system will be free of charge for users and should facilitate data handling and storage and should gradually become a common part of daily laboratory practice according to the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles.

In the final part, the Director thanked all the staff for their cooperative approach to the work tasks, which should result in even more significant scientific discoveries in the coming period.

Awards for the best IMG publications

At the very end, the Director awarded the best IMG publications of 2023. He mentioned that the IMG Council had not had an easy task to select the top 3 publications from a number of outstanding publications. He reminded that the Director’s Award of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, as stated in the statute of this award, is a prestigious recognition of outstanding achievements and contributions of IMG author teams in the field of the Institute’s scientific focus.

“This award follows the wishes of former IMG Director Josef Říman that funds from his estate be used to recognize individuals and/or scientific teams who have achieved new and fundamental scientific insights in their research activities during each calendar year.” As the Director further adds: “Thanks to the financial support from the estate of Joseph Roman, we are able to recognize the top three publications each year that have made significant contributions to the advancement and development of the field of molecular biology.”


Cena ředitele IMG za nejlepší publikace - 3. místo: A Roithová, D Staněk
Authors of the award-winning publication Adriana Roithová – shared first author and correspondence author David Staněk at the ceremony with the director of IMG.

The third place was taken by a publication from David Stanek’s lab: The “SMN complex drives structural changes in human snRNAs to enable snRNP assembly” published in Nature Communications. [pubmed] [doi]

The second place was awarded to the laboratory of Libor Macůrek for the publication “Phosphorylation of TRF2 promotes its interaction with TIN2 and regulates DNA damage response at telomeres” published in Nucleic Acid Research. [pubmed] [doi]

Cena ředitele IMG za nejlepší publikace - 2. místo: M. Palek, L. Macůrek
Second author Matouš Palek (left) and correspondent author Libor Macůrek (right) at the award ceremony for the second best IMG publication in 2023.
Cena ředitele IMG za nejlepší publikace - 1. místo: K Vanickova, M. Alberich Jorda
First author Karolína Vaníčková (left) and corresponding author Meri Alberich-Jordà (right) at the award ceremony for the best IMG publication in 2023.

Finally, the first prize was awarded to the laboratory of Meritxell Alberich-Jordà for the publication “Hematopoietic stem cells undergo a lymphoid to myeloid switch in early stages of emergency granulopoiesis” published in the EMBO Journal.[pubmed] [doi]

We congratulate all the winners and look forward to another year of discovery and innovation.