Open projects

1. Role of monocyte metabolism and transcription factor networks in progression of human sepsis.
Program: VES 2018
Number: NV18-06-00529
Agency: AZV ČR
Researcher: Mgr. Jan Frič, Ph.D. FNUSA-ICRS
Duration: 2018 - 2021
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The host immune system plays a critical role in the development and progression of sepsis, but the mechanisms that lead to cellular dysfunction, organ failure and death remain poorly defined. Peripheral blood monocytes are a major source of the effector molecules that are closely correlated with sepsis development and clinical outcomes. We aim to dissect the signalling pathways and transcription factor networks that control monocyte function in human sepsis. We will also use a newly-developed 3D organoid model to assess how patient monocyte signalling is influenced by lung tissue, which is the most common site of infection in sepsis and serves as a reservoir of monocytes for release into the blood. Given that sepsis-linked changes in monocyte function alter the metabolite content of blood, we will also use a metabolomic approach to identify novel biomarkers within the volatile fraction of patient serum. This project will better define the molecular determinants of monocyte activity in human sepsis and assist the identification of new prognostic biomarkers for use in the clinic.



2. Towards the Understanding a Metal-Tumour-Metabolism
Program: Starting Grant 2017
Number: 759585
Agency: ERC
Researcher: prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Adam, Ph.D.
Duration: 2018 - 2022
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A tumour cell uses both genetic and protein weapons in its development. Gaining a greater understanding of these lethal mechanisms is a key step towards developing novel and more effective treatments. Because the metal ion metabolism of a tumour cell is not fully understood, we will address the challenge of explaining the mechanisms of how a tumour cell copes both with essential metal ions and platinum based drugs. The metal-based mechanisms help a tumour to grow on one side and to protect itself against commonly used metal-based drugs. On the other side, the exact description of these mechanisms, which are being associated with multi-drug resistance occurrence and failure of a treatment, still remains unclear. We will reveal the mechanism of the as yet not understood biochemical and molecularly-biological relationships and correlations between metal ions and proteins in a tumour development revealing the way how to suppress the growth and development of a tumour and to markedly enhance the effectiveness of a treatment. To achieve this goal, we will focus on metallothionein and its interactions with essential metals and metal-containing anticancer drugs (cisplatin, carboplatin, and oxaliplatin). Their actions will be monitored both in vitro and in vivo. For this purpose, we will optimize electrochemical, mass spectrometric and immune-based methods. Based on processing of data obtained, new carcinogenetic pathways will be sought on cell level and proved by genetic modifications of target genes. The discovered processes and the pathways found will then be tested on two animal experimental models mice bearing breast tumours (MCF-7 and 4T1) and MeLiM minipigs bearing melanomas. The precise description of the tumour related pathways coping with metal ions based on metallothioneins will direct new highly effective treatment strategies. Moreover, the discovery of new carcinogenetic pathways will open a window for understanding of cancer formation and development.



3. InteGRated systems for Effective ENvironmEntal Remediation
Program: H2020
Number: SEP-210512132
Agency: Evropská komise
Coresearcher: doc. Mgr. Markéta Vaculovičová, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2022
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Increasing chemical pollution seriously compromises the health of ecosystems and humans worldwide. Hazardous compounds, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals and emerging pollutants contaminate soils/sediments, ground and surface waters. To prevent/minimise the risks associated with the accumulations of these chemicals in the environment it is key to establish low-cost/green methodologies for the treatment and redevelopment of contaminated areas. Several physico-chemical methods have been explored to remove pollutants in the environment, but these are complex, energy consuming or expensive. The exploitation of the capability of bacteria, fungi and phototrophs to transform toxic contaminants into harmless end-products, can lead instead to cheap and sustainable bioremediation alternatives. GREENER proposes the development of innovative, efficient and low-cost hybrid solutions that integrate bioremediation technologies with bio-electrochemical systems (BES). BES, such as microbial fuel cells, break down organic contaminants through the action of electroactive bacteria while generating electrical current. We will investigate the synergetic effect of different bioremediation strategies and demonstrate effective pollutants removal in water and soil/sediments, while generating side products of interest, such as bioelectricity. The type and entity of contamination, along with the specific physico-chemical/microbial characteristics of the environment to be depolluted, will feed into a decision-making toolbox. The latter will allow the establishment of ad hoc integrated solutions, which will take into account effectiveness of biodegradation, costs, environmental risks and social aspects. Fundamental research will be performed at lab-scale, while pilot-tests will be used to proof the scaling-up feasibility for field applications. Environmental benefits and risks, compared to standard remediation approaches, including energy efficiency, will be investigated.



4. Galileo Enhanced Solution for Pest Detection and Control in Greenhouse Fields with Autonomous Service Robots
Program: H2020
Number: 776324
Agency: Evropská komise
Coresearcher: prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Adam, Ph.D.
Duration: 2017 - 2020
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European agriculture is facing numerous challenges such as population growth, climate change, resource shortages or increased competition. Besides, the area of land available for agriculture is declining, rural areas become depopulated and farming population is aging. Today’s challenge is to produce “more with less”. Greenhouses protect crops from adverse weather conditions allowing year-round production. Integrated crop management approaches provide better control over pests and diseases. However, the intensification of greenhouse crop production creates favorable conditions for devastating infestation that can cost a 25% of the potential income. Greenhouse crop production is growing throughout the world, generating 46,377€/ha across Europe. GreenPatrol aims at developing an innovative and efficient robotic solution for Integrated Pest Management in crops, which has the ability to navigate inside greenhouses while performing early pest detection and control tasks in an autonomous way. Main developments will be focused on: - Precise positioning to provide accurate and detailed pest maps in greenhouses (light indoor environments) - Perception with visual sensing for on-line pest detection, including reasoning mechanisms for efficient action selection - Strategies for manipulation and motion planning based on pest monitoring feedback. Galileo capabilities are considered a fundamental technology for the proposed solution as it provides better performance against the multipath and signal degradation present in greenhouses. GreenPatrol will achieve a remarkable reduction of production losses and chemicals usage, as well as an increase in quality and competitiveness, leading to more sustainable farming and enhanced food safety and soil and water protection. The project includes a validation stage where the prototype will be tested in real environment to reach TRL7. GreenPatrol will be commercially exploited. Its business plan shows profits starting in year 3.



5. Assessment of Simultaneous Application of SIT and MAT to Enhance Bactrocera Fruit Fly Management
Program:
Number: 2190
Agency: FAO/IAEA
Researcher: Ing. Lucie Vaníčková, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2023
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Genus Bactrocera Macquart (Diptera: Tephritidae) belongs to the family of true fruit flies and contains over 500 species occurring in South-east Asian and Pacific regions. The genus Zeugodacus currently includes 192 species. Most species within this genus are restricted to the Oriental and Australasian Regions, with a few species reaching into the eastern Palearctic in China and Japan, except for Z. cucurbitae which was introduced into other parts of the world. Bactrocera dorsalis, B. carambolae, B. oleae and Zeugodacus cucurbitae are considered one the most destructive pests of agricultural crops worldwide. Despite their economic importance, little is known about the production of cuticular hydrocarbons in both sexes of Bactorcera spp. and Zeugodacus. Investigating the chemical ecology of this important pests may allow shedding light on mate choice mechanisms, adding useful information to improve behavior-based control strategies. In this research we propose to ivestigate in detail the epicuticular composition of Bactrocera spp. and Z. cucurbitae males and females using two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometric detection and multivariance factorial analysis together with behavioral assays. This study will add basic knowledge to the chemical ecology of the metioned fruit flies, pointing out the potential implications for Integrated Pest Management, with special reference to the development of behavior-based control tools and new tephritid lures.



6. Encapsulation of cholinesterase reactivators using apoferritin for enhanced bioavailability in central nervous systém
Program: Standardní projekty
Number: 19-13628S
Agency: GAČR
Researcher: Doc. PharmDr. Kamil Musílek, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2021
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Organophosphorus compounds are produced as chemical warfare agents or used as insecticides and cause life endangering intoxications. For the treatment of intoxication, acetylcholinesterase reactivators (oximes) are used as causal antidotes. Currently, clinically used or promising experimental reactivators (so-called quaternary reactivators) have major limitation in a very limited penetration into the central nervous system, where intoxication and irreversible changes in nerve tissue also occur. For this reason, biocompatible delivery systems are developed to encapsulate the reactivator´s molecules, transfer them to the central nervous system, and then release for reactivation of organophosphorus intoxication. This project focuses on acetylcholinesterase reactivators encapsulated with apoferritin and preclinical research on their bioavailability in the central nervous system.



7. Paperfluidic-based rapid low cost portable analytical devices with instrumentation-free readout
Program: Standardní projekty
Number: 19-02108S
Agency: GAČR
Researcher: prof. RNDr. Miroslav Macka, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2021
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Paper-based microfluidic analytical devices (?-PADs) significantly advance the options of rapid and low-cost portable analysis. Instrumentation-free readout based on distance-based detection enhances the value of ?-PADs due to their extremely low cost, and simplicity of use without any instrumentation required. Selective reagents have to be immobilised on the ?-PAD to achieve formation of an accurate reaction boundary allowing distance-based detection, but so far only very limited range of immobilised reagent have been used. Herein we propose new ways of reagent immobilisation, thus broadening the range of reagents that can be used. We propose to utilise electrostatic interaction on ?-PADs with paper substrate modified to carry ionic charges, and explore other approaches including paper-embedded nano- or microparticles. Finally, integrated sample preparation compatible with distance-based detection ?-PADs will be studied for the determination of selected (bio)analytes in samples with various types of matrices.



8. Diffusive gradient in thin film technique (DGT): an effective tool for predicting mercury bioavailability
Program: Standardní projekty
Number: 19-11528S
Agency: GAČR
Researcher: doc. Mgr. Pavlína Pelcová, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2021
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The proposed project deals with the optimisation and utilisation of the diffusive gradient in thin film technique (DGT) for the determination of bioavailable mercury species (Hg2+, CH3Hg+, C2H5Hg+, C6H5Hg+) in contaminated soil and aquatic environment (in the locality of Jedová hora – Brdy, Czech Republic), and with the assessing the capability of the diffusive gradient in thin film (DGT) technique to predict the bioavailability of mercury for agricultural crops and for aquatic plants. Furthermore, the influence of acid rain and soil parameters on the transport of mobile mercury forms from soil to plants will be also observed, and the contamination of the Záskalská aquatic ecosystem, which is located at the foothills of Jedová hora, will be evaluated. The obtained results will serve to better understand the mercury bioaccumulation in similarly mercury-contaminated areas.



9. Zinc signaling and metallothioneins sub/isoforms expression in breast cancer: implications for prognostic and therapeutic purposes
Program: Mezinárodní projekty
Number: 19-13766J
Agency: GAČR
Researcher: prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Adam, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2021
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The project is focused on a detailed study of zinc-dependent signalization and its relation to expression of sub/isoforms of metallothioneins in selected subtypes of breast cancer. Research plan is a cooperation effort, connecting expertise of Prof. Haase (Technical University in Berlin) in analysis and biochemistry of zinc and zinc-dependent signalization with expertise of Prof. Adam (Mendel University in Brno) in metallomics and metalloproteomics with special emphasis on metallothioneins. In the project, we will study the influence of zinc-depletion and supplementation (in vitro and in vivo) on signal transductions, invassiveness and susceptibility to cytostatics using advanced analytical and molecular biology methods. Proposed study will enhance our knowledge on relation between zinc, metallothioneins and behavior of various subtypes of breast cancer, which is characterized by a steadily increasing incidence. The obtained data will form the basis for the use of zinc-dependent molecules as prognostic biomarkers for breast cancer.



10. Comprehensive insight into mechanisms of action and metabolism of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and a study of ways increasing their antitumor efficiency
Program: Standardní projekty
Number: 18-10251S
Agency: GAČR
Researcher: prof. RNDr. Marie Stiborová, DrSc.
Duration: 2018 - 2020
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The project is focused on metabolism of selected tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs, vandetanib, lenvatinib, cabozantinib). Project aims on in vitro and in vivo study of interactions of TKIs with biotransformation enzymes from the cytochrome P450 family. The detailed description of TKIs metabolism is crucial for understanding the side-effects associated with their application and for proposing new treatment protocols combining TKIs with other cytostatics. To increase the efficiency, TKIs will be also encapsulated into nanoscaled transporters, whose surface will be modified with selected targeting ligands. Further, we will exploit the obtained data for computer-aided design and synthesis of novel derivatives of TKIs, which will be tested for their anticancer activity. The proposed project will expand the knowledge about the relation between metabolism of studied TKIs and efficiency of anticancer therapy. Moreover, it will provide novel structures with TKI activity and insight into the possible use of advanced nanomaterials to enhance the selectivity of TKIs towards the tumor mass.



11. Metallothionein as Prognostic Biomarker in Skin Cancer
Program: SoMoPro
Number: 6SA17676
Agency: JCMM
Researcher: Ing. Lucie Vaníčková, Ph.D.
Duration: 2017 - 2020
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The search for suitable biomarkers for tumour growth is one of the major foci of current cancer research. Melanoma incidence and mortality in Europe are high but there are significant gaps in the development of new diagnostic methods for early detection of this serious disease. Metallothinonein, the cysteine rich metalloprotein, is one of the potential markers for tumour disease development. The spatial imaging of this protein in tumour tissues could help better our understanding of the processes leading to carcinogenesis. Therefore the present project combines a novel approach of nanoparticle biolabelling with mass spectrometry imaging techniques and electrochemical quantification. The proposed multidisciplinary approach will be applied on a model of swine skin melanoma (MeLiM minipigs) that is close to the human model. The finding of the project could considerably enhance our understanding of the processes occurring during the tumour growth and subsequently lead to the discovery of new approaches to tumour growth inhibition. The experienced researcher and the host institution are mutually complementary in their expertise to profit the knowledge transfer and to achieve the goals of this project.



12. Utilization of nanocomposite materials to eliminate the impact of drought stress and excessive irradiation in maize seed crops
Program: IGA_TÝM
Number: AF-IGA2019-TP011
Agency: Mendelu
Researcher: Ing. Dalibor Húska, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2020
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Lack of water and acute and often prolonged drought are currently among the main environmental influences with a direct impact on plant production. In the Czech Republic, this problem is growing rapidly, and new technologies need to be developed and tested to protect plants from extreme weather conditions - drought and associated excessive irradiation. The Czech Republic has ranked among countries that have huge know-how in nanotechnology and are among the top countries in their use. This project aims to strengthen the position of MENDELU in an increasingly up-to-date program named Industry 4.0, where it also belongs to Agriculture 4.0. It is now that nanotechnology is slowly advancing in agriculture, but the potential of these techniques and new materials is not yet fully exploited and thoroughly explored. Particularly intensive discussions and experiments with NKMs as effective bio-fertilizers (mainly containing microbiogenic elements) or directly in the form of active substances intended for plant protection. At present, NKMs are being used as a new generation of fertilizers or pesticides. We will focus on the development of new Zn or Zn-based NKMs in combination with other metals combined with biodegradable carbon and organic components (polysaccharides, proteins) that will enable the maintenance of NKMs on leaves that enhance their efficiency while at the same time they are biodegradable.



13. UV-Induced Fingerprint Spectroscopy
Program: IGA_TÝM
Number: AF-IGA2019-TP009
Agency: Mendelu
Researcher: Ing. Lukáš Nejdl, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2020
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Spectroscopy of UV-induced fluorescence (UV-IFS) is a novel and unique spectroscopic method currently being developed at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mendel University in Brno. This method is taking advantage of the natural spectral properties of liquid samples (absorbance and emission of light) exposed to the UV irradiation. Changes induced by UV irradiation are typical for chemical composition of the sample and can be monitored by conventional spectroscopic instrumentation (e.g. UV/Vis spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, etc.) Spectral analysis of UV-induced changes of the solution can provide valuable information about physical, chemical or biological properties of the sample in a very short time frame (i.g. minutes). By the proposed method it is possible easily distinguish (profile) and compare different samples with the aim at detection of a) medicine counterfeiting, b) counterfeiting of fruit juices and wine, c) determine the variety and/or origin of fruit and vegetables, d) identify markers of physiological/pathological state of the organism, e) profile addictive and psychotropic substances, f) detect processes occurring within one cell (single-cell analysis) and/or g) investigate the interaction between metal ions and thiols. The main goal of the project is the investigation of the physical chemical processes taking place during UV light exposition of the samples followed by the optimization of the method for selected samples (pharmacological substances, extracts from fruit and vegetables to monitor pesticide residues).



14. Effect of combination of polyunsaturated fatty acids and nanoparticles on cutaneous wound healing in a model organism
Program: IGA_TÝM
Number: AF-IGA2019-TP006
Agency: Mendelu
Researcher: prof. MVDr. Ing. Tomáš Komprda, CSc.
Duration: 2019 - 2020
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Effects of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) n-3 on wound healing tested on rodents are inconsitent: decreased/increased collagen deposition; lower/higher counts of the inflammatory cells in the healing tissue; increased/decreased concentration of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines; DHA accelerated/delayed wound healing process. An optimal model for wound healing in humans is a pig; however, an application of LC-PUFA n-3 using this model is not described in available literature. An application of nanoparticles (NP; alone or in combination with different biologically active substances) in wound healing is extensive, but a description of their effects in combination with LC-PUFA n-3 are missing in the given context. An optimal composition of the combination of the NP (selenium-based or other metals, and semi-metals) with LC-PUFA n-3, including in vitro antibacterial aktivity and cytotoxicity evaluation (on bacterial and tissue cultures), will be evaluated in the first part of the present project. The main hypothesis tested in the project will be as follows: combination of the topically applied NP/LC-PUFA n-3 has a synergistic effect on wound healing in vivo (pig model) in comparison with individual components alone. A nutritive, technological and sensory quality, respectively, of the products based on meat of pigs fed either a diet enriched with LC-PUFA n-3 or a standard diet alone will be compared in the third stage of the project.



15. Application project TestLine Clinical Diagnostics s.r.o.
Program: OP PIK
Number: CZ.01.1.02/0.0/0.0/16_084/0008833
Agency: MPO
Researcher: TestLine Clinical Diagnostics s.r.o. - Mgr. Lenka Pokorná
Duration: 2017 - 2020
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16.
Program: OP VVV - PAV
Number: CZ.02.1.01/0.0/16_025/0007314
Agency: MŠMT
Researcher: prof. RNDr. Vojtěch Adam, Ph.D.
Duration: 2018 - 2022
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17.
Program: výzva č.02_16_019 Excelentní výzkum
Number: CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000869
Agency: OP VVV
Coresearcher:
Duration: 2019 - 2023
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18. Gastro-processing waste into a solid carbon product for material use
Program: ZÉTA
Number: TJ02000262
Agency: TAČR
Researcher: Ing. Martina Vršanská, Ph.D.
Duration: 2019 - 2021
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The aim of this project is treatment of gastro waste (GW) into a solid carbonaceous product for material utilization by drying, pretreatment with the addition of additives for the pyrolysis process. The first is focused on defining energy in dried GW, as well as pyrolysis products: biochar, pyrolysis oil and syngas. The second direction focuses on the use of biochar in agriculture. The third direction focuses on biochar as a filter medium for removing pollutants from WW. Part of the project is design, production and testing of a functional sample: drying equipment, pyrolysis and filtration units. The project will determine which direction will be acceptable from the point of view of legislation, technical solution and economy. This goal will be achieved at the end of this project.



19. Promoting the functional diversity of soil organisms by applying classical and modified stable organic matter while preserving the soil's production properties
Program: EPSILON
Number: TH03030319
Agency: TAČR
Researcher: Ing. Martin Brtnický
Duration: 2018 - 2022
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The aim of the project is to support the functional diversity of soil organisms by applying stable organic matter This is also achieved by finding methodological procedures and designing equipment for the conditioning (activation) of biochar and digestate. This will eliminate their negative impacts on the soil and improve the ecological and economic aspects of agricultural production. The project will result in improved soil properties, supporting functional diversity, promoting fertility and also returning carbon back into the soil. The project will achieve certification of methodologies of the investigated technologies, design of devices for activation of org. matter and verification of the result in semi-operation. The objectives of the project will be achieved in relation to the field.