In Prague’s Carolinum, new professors of Czech universities received their appointment decrees from the Czech Minister of Education, Vladimír Balaš. Out of the seventy personalities whose appointments were confirmed by President Miloš Zeman’s signature at the end of November, six are employed at Palacký University Olomouc: Beatrice Mohelníková Duchoňová and David Friedecký from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry; Vilém Pechanec, Ondřej Novák, and Michal Bíla from the Faculty of Science; and Milan Klement from the Faculty of Education.
Marek Otisk from the University of Ostrava, who was nominated by Palacký University, was also appointed a professor. Let us briefly introduce all the newly appointed professors.
Beatrice Mohelníková Duchoňová, UP FMD
Beatrice Mohelníková Duchoňová, deputy head for teaching, science and research at the Department of Oncology, UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and University Hospital Olomouc, feels a great responsibility in receiving the professorship. “I firmly believe that I will continue my clinical and research work and will be able to motivate and guide my younger colleagues to further advance the possibilities and our abilities in treatment of oncological diseases,” said the renowned expert on pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult oncological diseases to treat. However, she also focuses on other types of cancer.
The current highest goal of the newly appointed professor in Oncology is to successfully combine her professional career and raising her two children. “In the coming year, my activities are mainly focused on developing national and international collaborations on the study of risk, predictive and prognostic factors for pancreatic cancer. Our greatest challenges are finding the optimal screening programme to detect pancreatic cancer in its earlier stages and individualising its therapy,” she explained.
Mohelníková Duchoňová is a graduate of the First Faculty of Medicine at Charles University, where she later was also board certified in clinical oncology. She worked, among other places, at the Fourth Internal Clinic of General University Hospital in Prague, and since 2011 she has been working at the Department of Oncology at the Palacký University Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and University Hospital Olomouc, where she has managed to build her own research base, which in cooperation with other departments, especially the Department of Surgery I, produces a number of valuable publications every year and also significantly contributes to several grant projects; the project on predictive and prognostic markers of pancreatic cancer was nominated for the Czech Minister of Health Award for Medical Research.
David Friedecký, UP FMD
Newly appointed professor David Friedecký, who has been part of the team of the Laboratory of Metabolic Disorders at the UP Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and University Hospital Olomouc for over twenty years, also has created his own scientific group full of enthusiastic students. He is involved in teaching not only at the Faculty of Medicine, but also at the Faculty of Science, where he studied Analytical Chemistry and was made associate professor in 2017. His professorship was held in Medicinal Chemistry and Biochemistry at UP FMD.
“We deal with the use of mass spectrometry in medicine, specifically clinical metabolomics and lipidomics. We develop advanced high-throughput methods for effective diagnosis of rare diseases in young children. In Olomouc, we have been conducting newborn screening for more than 10 years, which was made possible thanks to mass spectrometry. Correct statistical methods to analyse data and interpret results are another of my scientific passions, and I try to pass that passion on to my undergraduate students and colleagues,” said Friedecký, who has collaborated internationally with experts in Europe and the US.
For him, acquired professorship is not only a recognition of his many years of work but also a commitment to improving the understanding of science and the knowledge of his students. “In recent years, it has appeared to me that there are more questions than answers. But that is the beauty of scientific research. What makes us advance further is the collaboration with clinical departments, and I believe that in the near future we will be able to apply clinical lipidomics to the diagnosis of diseases such as inflammation and cancer. One of my wishes is to continue building a high-quality multidisciplinary scientific team made up of doctoral students and specialists, which I have been very lucky to engage in recent years. An integral part of this is the popularisation of the field, where we all still have a great deal of work to do,” he added.
Vilém Pechanec, UP FS
Another appointed professor, Vilém Pechanec from the Department of Geoinformatics at the UP Faculty of Science, also graduated from UP FS, namely in Environmental Protection and Creation. In his professional and practical work, Pechanec has long focused on the use of geoinformation technology in modelling ecosystem functions of the landscape, especially its water-retention capacity. In his research he combines data generated by field observations, sensor measurements, and non-contact monitoring via satellite systems. He is the author or co-author of more than 250 domestic and international articles, book chapters, and conference papers, as well as several datasets for the Czech Republic, specialised maps and software solutions, five certified methodologies, and three utility models.
He is a long-term member of the Board of the Czech Association for Geoinformation and a member of the Czech Society for Landscape Ecology. He represents UP in the National Secretariat of Copernicus, the EU’s Earth observation programme. He is a member of the Scholarly Board of the UP FS and the Doctoral Programme Boards at UP FS and the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology at Mendel University in Brno. He has been a supervisor of more than 28 successful graduates of Bachelor’s studies, 35 Master’s studies, and 6 doctoral graduates; he is a member of examination committees in Geoinformatics and Applied Ecology at several departments in the Czech Republic.
“Being appointed a professor is such a great honour. I take it as a recognition of the work of our entire workgroup. Obtaining the professorship is a great commitment for the years to come. I want to be able to apply the acquired knowledge and experience to an even greater extent, especially for the benefit of my alma mater department. I want to continue my scientific and research work at the department, keep enhancing its reputation in the professional community, and continue to actively participate in the education of students in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes,” said Pechanec.
Ondřej Novák, UP FS
On the proposal of the Scientific Board of the Mendel University in Brno, another personality of the UP Faculty of Science, Ondřej Novák, was appointed professor. He is an expert in the analysis of plant hormones and was included in the 2022 list of the world’s Highly Cited Researchers (more here).
“My professional life has been closely related to Olomouc and the UP Faculty of Science since its beginning. First as an inexperienced student, later as a young postdoctoral fellow, and today the head of a great scientific team. Based on the technologies developed at our university, we have managed to integrate into the European network of laboratories studying various aspects of phytohormonal research. In the last decade, interdisciplinary collaborations with developmental biologists, biochemists, and plant physiologists from prominent European biological centres have been promoted,” he said, looking back on his career.
Novák graduated from UP FS and specialises in the biosynthesis and metabolism of plant hormones using modern mass spectrometry. He also studies the relationships between the chemical structure and biological activity of plant hormones. He has long been involved in the use of cutting-edge bioanalytical methods and simplification of extraction methods for the isolation of biologically active substances from complex biological matrices.
Michal Bíl, UP FS
The third new professor employed at the UP Faculty of Science is Michal Bíl, from the Department of Geology. He was appointed on the proposal of the Scientific Board of the University of Ostrava, in the field of Environmental Geography. Bíl studied Geography at Masaryk University in Brno, and worked at the Czech Geological Survey and the UP FS Department of Geoinformatics. Since 2009, he has been working at the Transport Research Centre, where he deals with the relationship between the natural environment and transport, and develops methods to assess the impact of natural extremes on transport infrastructure. He also works on mitigating the conflict between wildlife and traffic.
He has authored or co-authored more than 50 publications listed on WOS. As part of his research, he has initiated the establishment of several unique spatial databases, e.g. CHILDA, RUPOK, SRAZENAZVER. He is a co-author of globally distributed geographic analysis tools (e.g. KDE+, ROCA) used to detect weak points in transport infrastructure. During his career, he has worked closely with the UP Department of Applied Mathematics to develop network analysis methods applicable to traffic research.
Bíl has supervised final theses of students in the departments of geoinformatics, geography, and development studies, as well as at other universities in the Czech Republic. “As a supervisor and mentor, I have been lucky to have capable and motivated students. Many of them have done well in the academic environment as well as in professional practice. I am delighted that I am still in contact with some of them, working on joint projects.”
Milan Klement, UP FE
Milan Klement from the Department of Technical and Information Education at the UP Faculty of Education has become professor on the proposal of the Scientific Board of the University of Hradec Králové, in Information and Communication Technologies in Education. He graduated from the UP FE and then enhanced his education and practical experience during his doctoral studies at the same faculty, where he also was made associate professor. His specialty and expertise were furthered during internships at universities and research institutes in a number of European countries. He has been employed at UP FE since 1999 where he also is the head of the Information Communication Technologies Centre. In 2006–2018 he held the post of Vice-Dean for Information and Educational Technologies. He is a member of the UP Information Technology Committee.
“Obtaining the title professor entails great commitment and responsibility but also joy and gratitude. I would like to thank the University of Hradec Králové for the opportunity to be nominated in the field that has been close to me throughout my professional life and which I consider my life’s mission. I would also like to thank those from whom I had the opportunity to learn, those who shaped me professionally and personally, who accompanied me through my successes and failures. They brought me to deeper knowledge and understanding of the order of things in my field. So I thank my teachers, mentors, advisors, and colleagues. It is my commitment to fully utilise their help, and just as they helped me, I must now help others and pass on what I have learned to my students and younger colleagues with the same selflessness and dedication,” said Klement.
His scientific research focuses on three main areas. The first one is the use of modern information technologies in education, with a particular focus on longitudinal comparisons of their impact on the educational process. Another area is the issue of virtualisation technologies and the possibilities of their use in education. The third main area is distance education by means of e-learning with a special focus on electronic learning materials and their evaluation. Klement is the author or co-author of more than a hundred scientific papers and a successful investigator in more than a dozen major grants and projects.
Marek Otisk, University of Ostrava
Marek Otisk from the University of Ostrava, who was appointed professor in Philosophy on the proposal of the UP Scholarly Board, also received his appointment decree in Carolinum. Otisk, who is employed at the Department of Philosophy, Ostrava University Faculty of Arts, has also worked as a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences. He specialises in the history of medieval philosophy, particularly the 10th and 11th centuries. Some of his most important activities are related to the Centre for Research in Medieval Society and Culture – Vivarium at the University of Ostrava. Otisk not only successfully completed his professorship at Palacký University but also was made associate professor here in 2013.
“You have gone through a challenging process to the very top of the scientific and educational pyramid. Thanks to your will and determination, you have managed to overcome many professional and personal obstacles on this long journey. I believe that your productive potential has not been exhausted by now; on the contrary, new doors of research and teaching opportunities are opening for you. Both as university professors and as guarantors of study programmes, you will be both pioneers and creators of inevitable structural changes in the educational process. I believe passionately in your ability to take on new challenges, change established practices, and innovate teaching. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you much strength, determination, and success in fulfilling your mission,” said Czech Minister of Education Vladimír Balaš to the new professors during the presentation of their appointment decrees in Prague’s Carolinum.