SSP 2021 – Available projects

Here are the projects available for students enrolled in the Summer Student Program at IOCB Prague. Learn more about the program here.

Sebastian Zoll Group – Structural Parasitology

Project: Structure Determination of Newly Described Trypanosoma Surface Receptor

African trypanosomes, the causative agents of sleeping sickness, have developed elaborate mechanisms to avoid clearance by the human immune system. While some of their defence systems have been described in detail, many of the molecular details of immune evasion in trypanosomes are still unknown. It is the principal aim of this project to identify new receptors that interact with components of the human immune system, to determine the structures of these immune complexes, and use the obtained molecular insights as a basis on which new anti-trypanosomal drugs can be developed.

Robert Hanus Group – Chemistry of Social Insects

Project: Functional Characterization of Candidate Terpene Synthases (Jitka Štáfková, Pavlína Kyjaková)

Our group focuses on the biology and chemistry of social insects, especially termites. We are particularly interested in the chemical diversity, function, and biogenesis of pheromones and defensive compounds used by termites to communicate and defend their colonies. We propose to the summer students to participate in one of our running projects, which focuses on the biosynthesis of a sesquiterpenoid queen pheromone in one termite species, more specifically on the identification of a terpene synthase enzyme, responsible for the final step of the pheromone production. The students can be involved in the entire workflow of functional characterization of candidate terpene synthases, ranging from their heterologous expression to chemical identification of their products. The proposed tasks are suitable for molecular biologists, biochemists, or analytical chemists.

Petr Bouř Group – Biomolecular Spectroscopy

Project: Computational Modeling of Molecular Optical Activity

Computational methods are increasingly helpful in chemical research. We will use them to interpret optical spectra, which will help us to understand the structure and interactions of biologically relevant molecules.

Zlatko Janeba Group – Medicinal Chemistry of Nucleotide Analogues

Project: Anti-inflammatory Substances (Viktor Kolman, Zlatko Janeba)

We design, synthesize and study substituted pyrimidines with anti-inflammatory effects. During the summer internship, several new derivatives will be prepared, during the synthesis mainly cross-coupling reactions, such as the Suzuki-Miyaura reaction, will be used. The student will learn the basics of organic synthesis directly in the laboratory.

Tomáš Slanina Group – Redox Photochemistry

Project: Synthesis and Investigation of Molecules Activatable by Visible Light

The candidate will synthesize and investigate various molecules activatable by visible light with switchable and photocleavable properties. The project includes organic synthesis of target molecules, spectroscopic characterization of their properties, and photochemical experiments focused on switching and photoinduced fission of their structure.