History of the Department
In 2005 the Department of Biology moved to new buildings of the University Campus in Brno-Bohunice and Petr Dvořák was appointed to head the Department. Under his leadership research at the Department of Biology is being incorporated into broad international cooperation in the field of stem cell biology and its medical application.
In 1992 the former Nečas' student Augustin Svoboda was named Head of the Department. Supported by grants and promoted by international contacts in the early 1990s, research in biology began to diversify, giving rise to new projects, namely molecular biology of bacteriocins, Treponema genome analysis, and investigation into cell cytoskeletons, cell stress and apoptosis.
In 1960, Oldřich Nečas, a former Herčík's student, was appointed Head of the Department. He focused on yeast cells and protoplasts and on protozoans as model systems for extensive studies of cell morphogenesis. Jan Šmarda, another of Herčík's students, and his group were involved in studies on the biology of bacteriocins.
A new era for the Department came in 1937 with Ferdinand Herčík, a renowned biophysicist. After the war the Department moved into the building on Joštova Street, no.10, where all science departments were located.
Soon, F. Herčík gathered a team of enthusiastic and dedicated co-workers who were interested not only in radiobiology, but also in virology and cytology. Together with his students he first set up a biophysical laboratory and, in 1955, he founded the Institute of Biophysics at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
F. Herčík himself was interested in general biophysics (quantum biology), bacteriophage morphogenesis and electron microscopy.
Between 1935 and 1937 the Department was chaired by Vilém Laufberger and then Ludvík Drastich, both physiologists.
Experimental studies started when Jan Bělehrádek joined the Department in 1924. His studies of the effects of temperature on living processes made him worldwide known particularly after his monograph Temperature and Living Matter was published in 1935.
In his pedagogical career he achieved great respect with the outstanding textbook General Biology. The textbook experienced five editions; the last one appeared in 1946.
The Department of Biology was established in 1919, shortly after Masaryk University and its Faculty of Medicine were founded. At the beginning it was housed in the old military barracks on Údolni Street no. 73.
The first to chair it were Edward Babák, physiologist, and František K. Studnička, histologist, who both focused primarily on teaching general biology.