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Immunology is a dynamically evolving discipline integrating the knowledge of molecular and cell biology, physiology, histology and functional morphology (in the context of evolution and ontogenesis) relevant to the immune system, self-defense unit composed of functionally interacting molecules, cells, and tissues involved in immune responses. Immunology outputs show a major impact in a multitude of biomedical fields today. Topics such as transplantation, allergy, immune deficiency, autoimmunity, immunosuppression, immunotherapy, or anti-tumor immunity are typical areas of interest to immunologists. Immunology covers all levels of biological knowledge from molecules (cytokines, immunoglobulins, receptors, signaling molecules), cells (a wide array of immunocompetent cells), whole organisms (having transgenic animal models in use and interaction with immune system is being investigated) and communities (evolution of immune mechanisms, e.g. frequencies of different alleles regulating the immune response within a population). Clinical immunology is an important emancipated immunology specialization, for which human immune system is the object of studies and understanding of the mechanism of its action leads to the development of potential therapeutic applications.
Typically, a four-year postgraduate's study of immunology deepens the master's education having more specialized lectures and mainly by intensive scientific education by the supervisor. Courses and lectures are provided by specialists from the Faculty of Science and Faculties of Medicine of Charles University and, to a great extent, experts from the institutes of Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (mainly IMG and IM). Students are conducting doctoral theses, in these institutions mainly, but also in hospitals, clinical laboratories or private companies - biotechnology development centers. Students are repeatedly reporting their progress of their doctoral theses at conferences, as of a poster or an oral presentation. For their projects, students can receive support through various grant calls. They learn about the international dimension of scientific cooperation in foreign laboratories. The output of scientific activities associated with the elaboration of doctoral theses is numerous posters and presentations at international conferences and publications in international impacted journals. The key activity of the Immunology program guarantor as well as the immunologists at the Faculty of Science is student project supervision, stimulation of their independent experimental work and critical evaluation of the primary literature. In order to achieve that, we provide the course Advances in Immunology (in English).
Duties required for graduation are: a minimum of two courses taught in English, passing the state examination, and publishing at least two publications, while the student must be first author on at least one publication arising from her/his work.
The duty of a student in the doctoral study programme is to deepen his/her professional knowledge gained in the bachelor and master stage of the studies. One of the objectives of the doctoral studies is mastering the methods of scientific work and thought so that the student will be able to independently formulate and solve a scientific problem, to critically evaluate the results achieved and to prepare their publication in internationally respected professional scientific journals with exacting review procedures.
Following the agreement with the Supervising Tutor, the student shall choose at least two courses from the offer provided by the Field Board or the faculties.
Other options are provided by the offer of courses of field boards of doctoral studies in DSPB Biomedicine at the website: http://dspb.avcr.cz/oborove-rady/.
In the pipeline, following the agreement with the Supervising Tutors, is the introductory methodological course in imaging techniques and OMICS technologies, prepared in co-operation with some units of the BIOCEV, which should become a compulsory part of the individualized curriculum (“study plan”, ISP), for the academic year 2019-2020 it is an optional study obligation.
Requirements on creative activities
The applicant must be the author/co-author of at least two publication accepted by journals with review procedures indexed in WOS (best with the IF above the mean value in the given field), and he/she must be the first author of at least one of the publications (shared first author position should be previously communicated to the Field Board). In special exceptional and clearly justifiable cases the Field Board can decide otherwise. One typical example can be a single excellent first-author publication.
The dissertation thesis should mean objective and coherent information about the applicant’s scientific output. The thesis is to enable the relevant board and reviewers to judge whether the applicant has obtained theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills that are requisite for independent scientific work in the given field and whether he/she is able to formulate and solve scientific problems and – under the guidance of the Supervising Tutor – present the achieved results in the highly competitive environment of world science.
The dissertation thesis shall contain:
(a) author’s text presenting the analysis of the present state of knowledge of the topic area that immediately pertains to the topic studied (ca 20 pages);
(b) publications or manuscripts being submitted which originated within the project;
(c) author’s text describing in detail experiments performed by the applicant which did not become part of the published papers or manuscripts.
(d) discussion of all results in the applicant’s view, updated to reflect the level of knowledge by the date of submission of the thesis (not fewer than 10 pages);
(e) standard annexes such as list of quotations, list of abbreviations etc.
Author’s text here means original text whose no part was included in any previous text or publication. Nevertheless, publications and/or manuscripts that originated within the project can be part of the thesis, if clearly marked as such. Modality in the structure of the thesis are permissible. The thesis must include an unambiguous and detailed indication of the applicant’s share in the data presented, including indication of his/her proportion of authorship of the publications. The thesis can be compiled in English, Czech or Slovak language. A separate author’s summary is not required.
Requirements on placements taken
Part of study obligations is taking a part of the studies at an institution abroad, not shorter than one month in the total, or another form of the student’s participation in international co-operation, e.g. participation in an international creative project with results published or presented abroad, etc. The recommended form is a scientific placement abroad (best at least three months of total time) with special focus on advanced methodologies and mastering unique models.
Other study obligations
Part of the studies is active participation in a conference of PhD. students, which is annually organized by the Field Board. Within a conference, students present the results of their projects and discuss the issues of common interest as well as methodological issues. Invited to the conference are members of the Field Board as well as the students’ supervising tutors. Also recommended is active participation in international conferences.
State doctoral examination
The state doctoral examination is, besides the annual control of the individualized curriculum (ISP) the key point in doctoral studies, when the student’s competence, knowledge and orientation to the research project are evaluated and the knowledge of the field is tested, with special emphasis on understanding the contexts, mechanisms and overlaps of particular fields. The recommended timing of the doctoral examination is the second half of the second year or the first semester of the third year so that the control of study progress can be effective and appropriate feedback can be provided by the board. May the registration for the doctoral examination be delayed, the students are and will be actively invited by the Guarantor to register and pass.
Areas for the state doctoral examination are available here.