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Medicine in Olomouc raised to a new level

Olomouc, 18th March 2011 - Palacký University in Olomouc is experiencing a significant milestone in its history. From the Operational Programme Research and Development for Innovation, it received almost 2 billion of support for two of its projects which are now entering the next phase. At the University Hospital Olomouc, foundation stones were ceremonially laid today of two new buildings, the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine and the completion of Theoretical Institutes of the UP's Faculty of Medicine in Olomouc. Both buildings will conveniently complement the architecturally valuable building of the Theoretical Institutes which has served the Faculty of Medicine of UP Olomouc since the 1950s.

"The university management believe that both projects will start the development of medical sciences in Olomouc, not only in the area of education, but also basic and mainly applied research. The project of the Theoretical Institutes completion is closely connected with the project BIOMEDREG which includes the development of the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine. Through the development of this new infrastructure, we will be able to increase the level of research and teaching at the Faculty of Medicine," says prof. Dr. Miroslav Mašláň, Rector of Palacký University in Olomouc.

The emerging Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine is one of the most important projects implemented in the area of ​​science and research in the Czech Republic. The success of this institution whose activities are primarily focused on the research into cancer and infectious diseases and the development of new diagnostics and drugs would not be achieved without the participation of top scientists. The director of the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine one of the leading experts in the area of the development of drugs and molecular oncology in the Czech Republic,
 Associate Professor Marian Hajduch who has registered more than 20 patents of anticancer drugs and biomarkers.  His team recently participated in the significant success   in combating the deadly cystic fibrosis. In cooperation with their Canadian colleagues, they discovered a substance which can prevent infection of which patients with this genetic disorder often die.

The scientific director of the IMTM is Professor Jitka Ulrichová, one of the leading Czech women scientists in chemistry. In addition to the scientific work as head of the Institute of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry and president of the Central Committee of the Czech Chemical Society, she is also dedicated to supporting Czech science. Professor Ulrichová is the Vice-rector of Palacký University in Olomouc for Science and Research, and within the BIOMEDREG project she leads a research programme focused on pharmacology and toxicology.

Another top scientist who is involved in the BIOMEDREG project is Professor Jiři Bártek, the Czech most frequently cited scientist in the field of life sciences who also leads the Cancer Research Centre in Copenhagen. At the Olomouc Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Professor Bartek, who is considered as one of the most respected experts in the study of DNA damage, will lead one of the six research programmes to study the nature of human disease, particularly tumours of brain, prostate, breast and gastrointestinal tract.

The main building of the Institute represents an investment of around 200 million. Our laboratory equipment will cost twice as much, i.e. almost half a billion. The leading scientific centre which is being developed in Olomouc is going to be equipped with the most modern technology. The good news is that in the first year of its formal existence the institute's scientists produced many top publications and several patents, "says Associate Professor Marian Hajdúch, director of the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine. He also points out that a big risk for the project is the bill to amend the current VAT, which will make purchases of instrumentation and general material more expensive and this increase is likely to be higher than the savings generated from public competitions.

The project of Development of Infrastructure for Research and Teaching at the Medical Faculty of UP, the main part of which is the completion of the UP Medical Faculty's Theoretical Institutes, was necessitated by unsatisfactory condition and capacities of both the process technology and the historic building in which research as well as teaching takes place. The plans to extend the Theoretical Institutes had previously been postponed several times and, with the European funds, it can now finally be implemented. Within the following two years, new premises will be built next to the old building, with a total area of ​​16,443 m2, which will be connected to the historical building of Theoretical Studies of the UP's Medical Faculty.

"The completion of Theoretical Institutes will bring significant expansion of laboratory and teaching facilities. In these labs, especially doctoral programme students will be able to develop their scientific research activities. In addition to laboratories, there will be a significant increase in the number of classrooms, lecture halls, computer workrooms, including a large study provided within the library, "says the Associate Professor Martin Modrianský, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, who leads the project of the Completion.

Commencement of the construction work of the two buildings is a major impetus in the increase of the level of medical studies in Olomouc which already have a high standard. This is confirmed by the fact that,  according to a recent evaluation of the Council for Research, Development and Innovation, the Olomouc Medical Faculty ended in the fourth place out of eight Czech medical faculties, and in almost five hundred evaluated research organizations in the Czech Republic it was ranked 26th place. 

Our faculty was greatly handicapped in comparison with other large cities which have a high concentration of biomedicine oriented Academy of Sciences institutes. Nothing like this has existed in Olomouc, but we were still able to achieve good placings. With the two projects, our teachers and students now have far greater opportunity to work on research projects, which is crucial for further development of human resources in science and research. In fact, best teachers, but also students, are those who pursue active scientific work," says Professor Zdeněk Kolář, Dean of the UP Olomouc Faculty of Medicine.

The contractor of both construction projects is the construction company Gemo Olomouc. The architectural plan was developed by the studio atelier-r.

The project Biomedicine for Regional Development and Human Resources - BIOMEDREG, which umbrellas the development of the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine, has been running since 29th March 2010, when the then Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Miroslava Kopicová signed off the decision on its financing. Stakeholders of the project include the Olomouc University Hospital, the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry AS CR and the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague. The total amount of the grant amounts to CZK 883,877,406 of which the EU contribution totals CZK 751,295,795 and the contribution from the CR budget is CZK 132,581,611. 

The project Development of Infrastructure for Research and Teaching at the Faculty of Medicine of UP - Completion of the Theoretical Institutes of the Palacký University Medical Faculty in Olomouc was confirmed on 31 January 2011, when the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Josef Dobeš signed off the decision on the grant. Its total amount is CZK 798,430,054 of which the EU contribution totals CZK 678,665,545.9 and the contribution from the CR budget is CZK 119,764,508.1.

Both projects of the UP Faculty of Medicine Olomouc, BIOMEDREG - the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine and the Completion of UP Medical Faculty's Theoretical Institutes, are part of the integrated development plan called "Attractive and Competitive Olomouc".

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