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Svoboda Jan

Jan, Prof., Ph.D., D.Sc.
Born August 14, 1934 in Prague

  • General and molecular biology and genetics, retroviruses and oncogenes
  • Member of Learned Society since 1994 (Founding member)

Educational and professional preparation:

  • 1957, Faculty of Biology, Charles University (CU), Prague; graduate biologist;
  • 1960, Ph.D.; 1966, DrSc.;
  • 1997, Professor of cellular and molecular biology CU

Employment and academic positions:

  • 1953-1957, as undergraduate, scientific assistant, Biological Institutes, CSAS, Prague;
  • 1957-1960, post-graduate student, Central Biological Institute, CSAS;
  • 1960, research scientist, Institute for Experimental Biology and Genetics (since 1976, Institute of Molecular Genetics) CSAS;
  • 1963-present, Head, Department of Cellular and Viral Genetics; removed from this position in 1972 on the basis of a report and decision by Communist Party;
  • 1967-1968, research scientist, Department of Experimental Biology and Virology, Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, London;
  • 1989-1992, member, Steering Committee for Academy Institutes;
  • 1991-1999, Director, Institute of Molecular Genetics (IMG), AS CR;
  • 1999-present, research scientist, IMG, AS CR;
  • 1977-present, external member, Department of Animal Physiology and Developmental Biology, Faculty of Science (FS) CU;
  • 1980, visiting research scientist, Institut Pasteur, Lille, France;
  • 1982, visiting Professor, UCLA, Los Angeles, Calif. (USA);
  • 1984, 1987, Visiting Professor, Microbiology Department, University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Medicine, Columbia, Mo. (USA);
  • 1991, Visiting Professor, Microbiology Department, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn. (USA);
  • 1993, Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, University of Missouri-Columbia (USA)

Membership in selected domestic scientific bodies:

  • Editor-in-Chief, Folia Biologica, Prague;
  • Member: Czechoslovak Biological Society; Czech Immunological Society; Gregor Mendel Genetic Society; J. E. Purkyně Czech Oncological Society; Czech Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Society;
  • 1996-present, member, professional committee for post-graduate doctoral studies in developmental biology and molecular and cellular biology, genetics and virology, FS CU;
  • 1997-present, member, professional committee for post-graduate studies in biomedicine (biochemistry and pathobiochemistry), First Faculty of Medicine (FFM), CU;
  • 1999-present, member, Commission for State Doctoral Examinations and member, Commission for Defence of Theses in virology, FS CU;
  • 2003-present, member, professional committee for doctoral studies in biochemistry and pathochemistry, FFM, CU, Second Faulty of Medicine, CU, Third Faculty of Medicine, CU, and Faculty of Medicine, CU in Plzeň.

Membership and positions in international organizations and societies:

  • European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • Union Internationale Contre le Cancer, UICC (reviewer of International Cancer Technology Transfer Fellowships for Faculty [Reverse ICRETT] projects)
  • International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS)
  • European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) (Chairman of the nominations committee)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • International Association for Comparative Research of Leukaemia and Related Diseases (member of World Committee)
  • European Tissue Culture Society
  • European Tumour Virus Group
  • 1965, WHO Consultant in Immunology
  • 1965-1969, Member, UICC Committee of Virology and Immunology.

Notable awards:

  • 1967, Jane Coffin Child Memorial Award subsidy (for study of cancer)
  • 1980, Czechoslovak State Prize in Science
  • 1981, Prix Lacassagne, La Ligue Francaise contre le Cancer, Paris
  • 1984, G. Mendel Silver Plaque
  • 1999, J.E. Purkyně Honorary Medal, AS CR
  • 2002, Josef Hlávka Medal, Foundation of Josef, Marie and Zdeňka Hlávka, AS CR
  • 2003, Lifetime Achievement Award, Institute of Human Virology, USA

Selected publications:

  • J. Svoboda: Presence of chicken tumour virus in the sarcoma of the adult rat inoculated after birth with Rous sarcoma tissue. Nature 186, 980-981 (1960)
  • J. Svoboda: Malignant interaction of Rous virus with mammalian cells in vivo and in vitro. Nat. Cancer Inst. Monogr. 17, 277-298 (1964)
  • J. Svoboda: Basic aspects of the interaction of oncogenic viruses with heterologous cells. Int. Rev. Exp. Pathol. 5, 25-66 (1966)
  • J. Svoboda, I. Hložánek: Role of cell association in virus infection and virus rescue. Adv. Cancer Res. 13, 217-269 (1970)
  • J. Svoboda: Rous sarcoma virus. Intervirology 26, 1-60 (1986)
  • J. Svoboda: Rous sarcoma virus. In: Portraits of viruses (F. Fenner, A. Gibbs, Eds.), pp 267-327. Karger, Basel (1988)
  • J. Svoboda: Molecular biology of cell nonpermissiveness to retroviruses. Has the time come? Gene 206, 153-163 (1998)
  • J. Svoboda, J. Geryk, D. Elleder: Heterogeneous pathogenicity of retroviruses: Lessons from birds, primates, and rodents. Adv. Canc. Res. 87, 59-126 (2003)

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Luboš Perek is celebrating his 100th year

Founding fellow of the Learned Society and its doyen, astronomer doc. RNDr. Luboš Perek, DrSc, is celebrating his 100th birthday on 26 July 2019. He is an indelible part of history as the person who helped define cosmic space, he was the first to point out the issue of cosmic waste and was also a teacher to the most important Czechoslovak astronomers. Let us express our respect and admiration of the extraordinary scientific career of a person who worked tirelessly and continues to work. The Learned Society wishes Mr Perek health, optimism and joy in the oncoming years.


The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has appealed to the Hungarian President to support academic freedom

On Friday 19 July the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Learned Society of the Czech Republic sent a letter to Hungarian President János Ánder, in which they state their concerns regarding the situation in respect to management and funding of scientific activities in Hungary. An act, according to which not the Academy of Sciences, but a thirteen-member political committee, will decide on research, funding of scientific activities and establishment or closure of scientific workplaces, will come into force on 1 September.


The loss of Learned Society Fellow prof. Josef Koutecký

We regret to inform that prof. Josef Koutecký, a fellow of the Learned Society, a renowned physician and the founder of paediatric oncology in this country, passed away on 5 July 2019 at the age of 88. He founded paediatric oncology here in 1964 and a separate paediatric oncology department was then established at the Faculty Hospital in Motol, Prague in 1978.