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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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Reaction to the case of Tomáš Hudlický: Members of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic support the freedom of expression

„We believe that free exchange of ideas is a key condition for the pursuit of truth and that the honest opinions should be scrutinized, challenged or rebutted but not censored or suppressed,“ say 45 members of the Learned Society in a statement regarding the retracted opinion paper by Prof. Tomáš Hudlický.


The letter by Jan Konvalinka to the President and Vice-Chancellor of the Brock University regarding the retracted article of Prof. Tomáš Hudlický

Opinions could and should be challenged, questioned or refuted but never silenced. In order to be able to think, we have to have the right to inquire, question and even offend or be mistaken,” writes Assoc. Prof. Jan Konvalinka, a biochemist at the IOCB Prague and the Vice-Rector of the Charles University, to Gervan Fearon.


Prof Miroslav Bárta receives the Česká hlava National Government Award

Learned Society member, Prof. Mgr. Miroslav Bárta, Dr. (Charles University Faculty of Arts) received the Česká hlava (Czech Head) National Government Award on 25 November 2019. A renowned Czech Egyptologist and archaeologist, Professor Bárta researches the history of ancient civilisations, the human relationship to the natural environment, and also for many years the evolution of complex societies. He leads the Czech Institute of Egyptology for archaeological and environmental research in Egypt and Sudan. His principal research interest is the period of the pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom.