Shortly from history of the Institute

Institute of Biology of Medical Faculty of Charles University was founded in the year 1911 by professor Vladislav Růžička (1870 - 1934) as a first institute of biology on the medical faculties. Till then, medical students had studied biology on the Faculty of Philosophy. The Institute was placed in the Kaulich house on the Charles Square until 1926, then in the building of the Medical School in Kateřinská street. Professor Růžička created the concept of General Biology which included both cytology and genetics.

The second Head of the Institute was Professor MUDr. Jan Bělehrádek (1896-1980). His first activity was to move Institute to the new building of Purkyně Institute, Albertov 4. Professor Bělehrádek was the author of the first textbook of General Biology for Medical Students (Prague, 1934) in our country. His so called “Prague school of biology” was based on hierarchy of living systems. Professor Bělehrádek was imprisoned in Terezin during World War II. He built Institute of Biology again in the year 1945, as it was fully destroyed by Nazis. As a rector of Charles University he started teaching activity in a few weeks after the war. Prof. Bělehrádek left our republic in the year 1949 and worked in UNESCO and than in London until his death.

Third Head of the Institute, professor MUDr. et RNDr. Bohumil Sekla, DrSc. (1901- 1987) was famous as a brave defender of genetics in the time of Lysenko´s domination. He was the first who initiated education and research in genetics in modern sense in CR after the year 1965. Department of Human and Medical Genetics of the Biological Institute was created in the year 1969 and Department of Medical Genetics of the Teaching Hospital a year later.

Professor MUDr. Otakar Štark, DrSc. (1925-1991) was the Head of the Institute in the years 1970-1990. He reached important results in immunogenetics, initiated the first course in Clinical Genetics on Medical Faculties in CR and supported development of Medical Genetics in CR. Associated Professor MUDr. František Soukup, CSc., (1933-2000) was the Head of the Institute in the years 1990 - 1992. Associated Professor MUDr. Jan Kapras, CSc. (1940-2001) led the Institute since 1993 until his sudden death. During the years 2001-2016, Associated Professor MUDr. Milada Kohoutová, CSc was the Head of the Institute. In October 2016, the Institute merged with the former Institute of Cell Biology and Pathology to form the Institute of Biology and Medical Genetics, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague. At the same time, Professor Ondřej Šeda, M.D., Ph.D. was appointed as the new Head of the merged Institute. Research of the Institute of Biology and Medical Genetics is focused on molecular genetics of neoplasias and of inherited diseases, on cytogenetics, on experimental oncogenetics and mapping of the rat genome. They belong to the most productive in the First Faculty of Medicine according to number of published papers and citation index. The development of diagnostic and preventive methods in medical genetics is the matter of interest as well. Department of Medical Genetics of the General University Hospital is a part of the Institute since January 1st, 1998.

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