study programme

Biophysical Chemistry

Faculty: FCHAbbreviation: DPAP_BCHAcad. year: 2021/2022

Type of study programme: Doctoral

Study programme code: P0531D130046

Degree awarded: Ph.D.

Language of instruction: English

Tuition Fees: 2000 EUR/academic year for EU students, 2000 EUR/academic year for non-EU students

Accreditation: 8.10.2019 - 8.10.2029

Mode of study

Full-time study

Standard study length

4 years

Programme supervisor

Doctoral Board

Fields of education

Area Topic Share [%]
Chemistry 100

Study aims

The main objective of the study is to train highly educated professionals in the field of biophysical chemistry, intended for independent creative, scientific and research activity. The objective of biophysical chemistry, as a field of science, is to provide physical-chemical and biochemical explanations of functions and activity of biological systems. The student is taught to independently formulate a scientific problem, suggest hypotheses and methods for its solution and perform experimental or theoretical trials to verify it. An integral part of the studies is a training of skills for critical assessment of published scientific information and abilities to express themselves, in writing and verbally, in English professional language.
The study program focuses on an independent creative activity in the field of biophysical chemistry, includes both, theoretical and experimental work and prepares the graduates for scientific and research activity. The studies are realized in cooperation with a foreign partner in the form of a “joint degree”. The key parts of studies are physical-chemical and biochemical rudiments of biological processes and biomaterials. These are further developed according the selected theme of a thesis in the field of biocolloid chemistry, nanobiotechnology, biophysical instrumental techniques, immunochemistry, technology of biomaterials. Students enroll subjects, theoretical and laboratory activities in the way to meet requirements of the FCH BUT and a specific foreign partner.
The focus of doctoral degree programs provides graduates with acquisition of theoretical knowledge and experimental erudition in basic and applied chemistry fields (physical chemistry, chemistry and technology of materials, macromolecular chemistry, food science and biotechnology and chemistry and technology of environment). Students’ qualification works are then oriented into fields that are dealt by academic and scientific research workers of the faculty, especially with the support of research projects. The faculty has contemporary technology equipment acquired inter alia within development and grant programs (e.g. the OP VaVpl project of Material research center), which usage is ensured by key academical workers of individual facilities. Thanks to this, the basic prerequisites for professional activity of doctoral candidates are created.

Graduate profile

A graduate of the program is a professional with high competences, able to participate in highly qualified scientific research activity based on physical-chemical and biochemical principles and processes, especially at universities and Academy of Science, research institutions, but also in the industrial research. The graduate is capable of independent creative activity in the field of biophysical chemistry. Thanks to the wide range of uses of biophysical chemistry, graduates can very well employ not only in the fields of biophysical-chemical research, but also in other fields of healthcare or studies of living systems. Thanks to the compulsory internship and the obligation to present results in international magazines, they can also find employment at similar positions abroad.
The main objective of the study is to train highly educated professionals in the field of biophysical chemistry, with sufficient experiences from abroad, intended for the independent creative, scientific and research activity. The graduate is able to independently formulate a scientific problem, suggest hypotheses and methods for its solution and perform experimental or theoretical trials to verify it. An integral part of the studies is a training of skills for critical assessment of published scientific information and abilities to express themselves in common and professional English language, in writing and verbally, and work in an international team.
Pursuant to the European Qualifications Framework, the outcomes of the study in doctoral degree study program meet the highest level – the EQF 8 level, which characterizes graduates as highly educated individuals in the field, eventually in the interdisciplinary problematics, who masters specialized and highly advanced techniques, are able to independently solve problems, show authority, innovative potential and academic and professional integrity, develop new processes for the work, studies or research.

Profession characteristics

The main objective of the Biophysical chemistry program is to train highly educated professionals in the field of biophysical chemistry, intended for independent creative, scientific and research activity. The objective of biophysical chemistry, as a field of science, is to provide physical-chemical and biochemical explanations of functions and activity of biological systems. The student is taught to independently formulate a scientific problem, suggest hypotheses and methods for its solution and perform experimental or theoretical trials to verify it. An integral part of the studies is a training of skills for critical assessment of published scientific information and abilities to express themselves, in writing and verbally, in English professional language.
Within this program, professionals with high competences will be trained, who will be able to participate in highly qualified scientific research activity based on physical-chemical and biochemical principles and processes, especially at universities and Academy of Science, research institutions, but also in the industrial research. The graduate is capable of independent creative activity in the field of biophysical chemistry and has sufficient foreign experiences. Thanks to the wide range of uses of biophysical chemistry, graduates can very well employ not only in the fields of biophysical-chemical research, but also in other fields of healthcare or studies of living systems, in the Czech Republic or in international teams.
Graduates of the doctoral studies has prerequisites to find employment at institutions of applied or basic nature, both in scientific-pedagogical and managerial positions. They can also find employment in an industrial praxis at highly specialized technological positions, acquired skills and competences allows them to be at managerial and controlling functions. They can apply in all above stated fields without problems, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Fulfilment criteria

Requirements of the study are generally set by the BUT Study and Examination Regulations. Specific study obligations are determined in the individual study plan. The realization of the double-degree international study program of Biophysical Chemistry is performed within the close cooperation with the partner university – University of Huelva, Spain, and with other foreign experts and experts from the application field. An individual study plan is made for every student with precise definition of responsibilities in individual countries.
A student enrolled to study at the FCH BUT enrolls and passes exams from one compulsory and at least two compulsory electives with respect to the focus of his / her thesis. He / She can sign up for the state doctoral examination only after passing all examinations given by his / her individual study plan. Prior to the state doctoral exam, the student elaborates a treatise on dissertation thesis in which he / she describes objectives of the work in detail, thoroughly evaluates the state of knowledge in the field dealt within the dissertation, eventually nature of methods that will be used for solving. The defense of the treatise, which is opposed, is a part of the state doctoral exam. In the next part of the exam, the student has to show thorough theoretical knowledge of the field. The state doctoral exam is in the verbal form and consists of thematic areas related to compulsory theoretical subject of Biophysical Chemistry and compulsory electives.
The student signs-up for the dissertation thesis defense after passing the state doctoral examination and after meeting the conditions for graduation, such as participation in lectures, at least six-month long study or work internship abroad, at least one oral presentation in English (conferences, workshops…) and meeting the below stated conditions of the creative activity.
For Spain students, conditions given by the UHU regulations are binding, they do not contain partial exams or the state doctoral exam. It is necessary to elaborate a dissertation thesis, publish its results and submit the thesis supplemented by publications to defense. The graduate acquires the Dr. degree. Czech students at the UHU are offered practical courses that are alternative to the practical courses at the FCH.
Within the double degree program, it is possible to gain a degree at both universities in the case that the student meets the binding conditions given by the regulations of corresponding university and perform a part of the study at a partner university. Regarding to the fact that at the UHU no partial exams are required, the student can choose from several practical courses as an alternative to the Czech courses.

Study plan creation

The realization of the double-degree international study program of Biophysical Chemistry is performed within the close cooperation with the partner university – University of Huelva, Spain, and with other foreign experts and experts from the application field. An individual study plan is made for every student with precise definition of responsibilities in individual countries.
The set of subject reflects current development of the interdisciplinary area of biophysical chemistry including the specter of its practical applications. The study follows the rules of the parent university, including admission procedure conditions and the students’ obligations.
For students enrolled to study at FCH BUT, rules and conditions of the individual study plans creations and all responsibilities related to study are given by the BUT Study and Examination Regulations, Article 32, and they are specified by the relevant faculty directive. Upon the commencement of the study, the content of the study and related creative activities are determined, together with at least three study subjects that are compulsory (for all students, the Biophysical Chemistry is compulsory), related activities (foreign, eventually domestic, internships, participation in conferences) and teaching practice. The time schedule of all activities for the first grade, overlooking the years to come, is determined as well. Compliance with the individual study plan is annually assessed by the student and the supervisor, and subsequently it is discussed by the subject committee that approves it.
During the first five semesters, a doctoral candidate passes exams from the one compulsory subject and two compulsory electives and intensively focuses on the study and analysis of knowledge in the field determined by the topic of the dissertation thesis and its publication. By the end of the third year of study, the doctoral candidate passes the state doctoral exam, by which he proves a broad overview and deep knowledge of the field related to the dissertation thesis topic. In the third and fourth grade of study, the doctorand candidate continues his / her research activities, publishes obtained results and elaborates his / her dissertation thesis. In the fourth year of study, doctoral candidates submit the unfinished dissertation thesis to their supervisor by the end of the winter examination period. The finished dissertation thesis shall be submitted by the end of the 4th grade of study. One part of the dissertation thesis are results published in international impacted magazines, with at least one publication of which the doctoral candidate is the first author.
For Spain students, the binding conditions are given by the UHU rules, they do not contain partial exams, neither the state doctoral exam. It is necessary to elaborate a dissertation thesis, publish results and submit the thesis supplemented by publications for defense. The graduate acquires the Dr. degree. Czech students at the UHU are offered practical courses that are alternative to the practical courses at the FCH.
Within the double degree program, it is possible to gain a degree at both universities in the case that the student meets the binding conditions given by the regulations of corresponding university and perform a part of the study at a partner university. Regarding to the fact that at the UHU no partial exams are required, the student can choose from several practical courses as an alternative to the Czech courses.

Availability for the disabled

The condition for to study is a certificate of health fitness to study. The study is connected with work in chemical and technological laboratories and operations, where students have access to wide range of chemical substances, they work with it and are in a direct contact with them. Within the laboratory practice, not only the health of the student can be endangered, but the student can also endanger the health of other people. Therefore, in addition to general health fitness, the illnesses and diseases states, which can be in contradiction to work with chemical substances, or cause certain limitations for this work, are taken into account during the assessment of health fitness to study. For more information about illnesses and diseases, see the electronic application or the website for an applicant at http://www.fch.vut.cz/cs/zajemce-o-studium.html

What degree programme types may have preceded

Program in general continues master study programs in chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, eventually biology or medicine. Regarding programs realized at the Faculty of Chemistry, the program continues master study programs of Chemistry for Medical Application, Consumer Chemistry and Food Science and Biotechnology.

Issued topics of Doctoral Study Program

  1. A physico-chemical contribution to discussion on soil organic matter

    Soil organic matter, in a narrower sense, humic substances, has been subject of research for several centuries. Nevertheless, questions on its formation or character still have not been resolved. The traditional polymer theory seems to be replaced in the last two decades by supramolecular views, lately claims on the non-existence of the humic substances have become rampant, looking at the soil organic matter as a complex mixture of products at various degrees of the decomposition of decaying original plant or animal matter. Further, it can contain also metabolic products of the soil microorganisms. After additional but in-depth literature search, the PhD study will be focused on one of or both following partial goals. 1) Thermodynamics and kinetics of the soil metabolic reactions with special regard to the synthesis of polyketides and their potential incorporation into the principal structural unit of the soil organic matter. 2) Colloid structures in the soil solution or in the soil aqueous leachates, their size, stability, diffusion behavior, aggregate character, chemical composition. Just hydrocolloids and water-soluble molecules are accessible to plants and thus are among key factors enabling and controlling their development and growth. Results will be evaluated also from the point of view of the current discussion on the origin, character, and stability of soil organic matter.

    Tutor: Pekař Miloslav, prof. Ing., CSc.

  2. Analysis of DNA binding proteins with a focus on their interaction with local DNA structures

    Local DNA structures play an important role in basic cellular processes such as replication and transcription. Recently, the presence of G-quadruplexes in DNA has been shown to be important for regulation in the cell, but also in the regulation of the life cycle of various viruses (HIV, HSV, EBV). These local structures are recognized by a variety of proteins. In this dissertation thesis, protein interactions with local DNA structures will be studied with a focus to cruciforms and quadruplex DNA. Physical, biochemical and molecular biological methods including the isogenic yeast system will be used to study the recognition of target structural motifs in the gene promoter region. Microscopic methods including confocal microscopy will also be used to study localization and interactions in cellular systems.

    Tutor: Brázda Václav, doc. Mgr., Ph.D.

  3. Fluorescence spectroscopy in the study of properties of associative colloidal systems

    This work is focused on the use of stationary, time resolved and microscopic fluorescence techniques in research of physical properties of associative colloids. The information obtained will be correlated with technological parameters of associative colloids such as solubilization and solubilization capacity, stability, size distribution, etc. The study will acquire not only skills in various techniques of fluorescence spectroscopy, but also in comparative techniques such as light scattering techniques.

    Tutor: Mravec Filip, doc. Ing., Ph.D.

  4. Hydrogels for medical applications – rheology, diffusion and rational design strategies

    Hydrogels constitute a versatile platform for a variety of biomedical applications – for example, in the drug delivery, as extracellular matrix models, or in tissue engineering. When developing new hydrogels, design rules are still lacking and the development relies largely on trial and error approach. This thesis will make a step in progress in this direction – it will focus on the rheological and transport properties of hydrogels followed by formulating some rules for the strategy of their rational design. At the start, a sufficiently thorough literature search will be made and focused on the published preparation methods for biomedical hydrogels and on the data on their rheological and transport properties. Based on the meta-analysis of the published data a first draft, at least, of the desired rules will be formulated and experiments designed and then performed which will complete and verify the rules. The experiments will make a comparison of different hydrogel matrices for the same drug or model molecule, especially their rheological and transport properties including the release profiles and their mathematical modeling. Depending on the possibility of external cooperation, in vivo release studies will be also realized. The obtained findings will be summarized in the rules for hydrogel design strategies.

    Tutor: Pekař Miloslav, prof. Ing., CSc.

  5. Characterization and application of complex microbial and plant extracts in food and cosmetics

    This thesis is focused on preparation and characterization of natural microbial, algal and plant extracts containing vitamins, provitamins, antioxidants and glucans. The main goal is to evaluate a complex biological effect of these extracts and their mixtures and application potential to some food and cosmetic products. Extracts will be stabilized by encapsulation into different types of organic micro- and nanoparticles and fibres. Characterization of application forms will be performed by microscopy, chromatography and spectroscopy. As a part of thesis development of methods for analysis of active substances as well as testing biological effects and safety (EFSA rules) will be solved. Long-term stability in model and real foods and model physiological conditions will be evaluated. Cytotoxicity and biocompatibility will be studied using cell cultures.

    Tutor: Márová Ivana, prof. RNDr., CSc.

  6. Modelling of transport phenomena in biological environment

    The development of various drug delivery systems is an area of active research. This research is focused mainly on chemical, biochemical, or physiological aspects. The movement of a delivery system in human body, to the point of the drug action is much less investigated. The drug transport to the targeted site where the drug’s chemical action should take place is essential for its proper function. This study will be therefore aimed at mathematical modeling of this transport based either on published data or data collected at the supervisor’s laboratory. The work will be focused on the modeling of the diffusion of nano- and microparticles in model biological medium, especially in hydrogel or similar model of the extracellular matrix, or through biological membrane. These tasks will be solved using COMSOL packet. The tasks include also the construction of realistic structural model of the environment and the modelling support of the microrheological experiments in hydrogels performed in the laboratory where this PhD study will be realized. The aim of this study is obtaining a feedback for the design of the drug delivery systems.

    Tutor: Pekař Miloslav, prof. Ing., CSc.

  7. Preparation and characterization of conductive hydrogels based on polyhydroxyalkanoates

    The focus of the work is the preparation of conductive hydrogels based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Conductive hydrogels have great potential, especially in electronics, biomedicine and tissue engineering. PHAs are biodegradable and biocompatible biopolymers. The aim of the work is to develop a method for the synthesis of low molecular weight PHA, which would be accessible for the modification of functional groups. Two methodologies for preparing low molecular weight PHA will be followed: 1) direct biosynthesis of low molecular weight mcl-PHAs and 2) molecular weight reduction by chemical synthesis. Hydrogels will be synthesized from the modified PHA. Hydrogels will be characterized in terms of their ability to absorb and desorb water as well as the gradual release of drugs. In addition to thermal, rheological, mechanical and electrical properties, their toxicity and the extent of possible biodegradation will be investigated.

    Tutor: Kovalčík Adriána, doc. Ing., Ph.D.

Course structure diagram with ECTS credits

1. year of study, winter semester
AbbreviationTitleL.Cr.Com.Compl.Hr. rangeGr.Op.
DA_BIOBioengineeringen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_MTMaterial technology for the bioapplicationsen0Compulsory-optionalyes
1. year of study, both semester
AbbreviationTitleL.Cr.Com.Compl.Hr. rangeGr.Op.
DA_BFCHBiophysical Chemistryen0CompulsoryColyes
DA_BCHAdvanced Biochemistryen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_KPDAdvanced Colloids Chemistryen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_PFTAdvanced fluorescence techniquesen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_ICHPAdvanced Immunochemistry en0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_PTTAdvanced techniques of thermal analysisen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_BCHBMBiophysics and Biochemistry of Microorganismsen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_F3DPhotochemistry and 3D printen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_SMBSpecial molecular biotechnologyen0Compulsory-optionalColyes
DA_STISpecial techniques of instrumental analysisen0Compulsory-optionalColyes