Highlighted Finished Projects

​​Dynamic assembly and exchange of RNA polymerase II CTD factors

Project description:  The C-terminal domain (CTD) of the RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) largest subunit coordinates co-transcriptional processing and it is decorated by many processing factors throughout the transcription cycle. The composition of this supramolecular assembly is diverse and highly dynamic. Many of the factors associate with RNAPII weakly and transiently, and the association is dictated by different post-translational modification patterns and conformational changes of the CTD. To determine how these accessory factors assemble and exchange on the CTD of RNAPII has remained a major challenge.

Here, we aim to unravel the structural and mechanistic bases for the dynamic assembly of RNAPII CTD with its processing factors. Using NMR, we will determine high-resolution structures of several protein factors bound to the CTD carrying specific modifications. This will enable to decode how CTD modification patterns stimulate or prevent binding of a given processing factor. We will also establish the structural and mechanistic bases of proline isomerisation in the CTD that control the timing of isomer-specific protein-protein interactions. Next, we will combine NMR and SAXS approaches to unravel how the overall CTD structure is remodelled by binding of multiple copies of processing factors and how these factors cross-talk with each other. Finally, we will elucidate a mechanistic basis for the exchange of processing factors on the CTD.

Our study will answer the long-standing questions of how the overall CTD structure is modulated on binding to processing factors, and whether these factors cross-talk and compete with each other. The level of detail that we aim to achieve is currently not available for any transient molecular assemblies of such complexity. In this respect, the project will also provide knowledge and methodology for further studies of large and highly flexible molecular assemblies that still remain poorly understood.

​​ Structural studies of human picornaviruses directed towards development of anti-viral compounds

Project description:

Many picornaviruses are human pathogens that cause diseases varying in symptoms from common cold to life-threatening encephalitis. Currently there are no anti-picornavirus drugs approved for human use. We propose to study molecular structures of picornaviruses and their life cycle intermediates in order to identify new targets for anti-viral inhibitors and to lay the foundations for structure-based development of drugs against previously structurally uncharacterized picornaviruses.

We will use X-ray crystallography to determine virion structures of representative viruses from Parechovirus, Kobuvirus, Cardiovirus, and Cosavirus genera and Human Rhinovirus-C species. We will use cryo-electron microscopy to study picornavirus replication complexes in order to explain the mechanism of copy-choice recombination of picornavirus RNA genomes that leads to creation of new picornavirus species. We will determine whether picornavirus virions assemble from capsid protein protomers around the condensed genome or if the genome is packaged into a pre-formed empty capsid. Furthermore, we will investigate how picornaviruses initiate infection by analyzing genome release from virions and its translocation across lipid membrane.

A major innovation in our approach will be the use of focused ion beam micromachining for sample preparation that will allow us to study macromolecular complexes within infected mammalian cells by cryo-electron tomography. Our analysis of virion structure, cell entry, genome replication, and particle assembly will identify molecular details and mechanism of function of critical picornavirus life-cycle intermediates.

In case of any inquiry regarding the ERC projects please contact:

Mariana Tesařová Ing. et Ing. Mariana Tesařová, MSc Project Manager
Phone: +420 54949 8175, +420 54949 4615
Email: mariana.tesarova@ceitec.muni.cz

Medical Genomics and Epigenomics Network

  • ​Principal investigator: prof. RNDr. Šárka Pospíšilová, Ph.D.
  • Acronym: MEDGENET
  • Investor: European Commision
  • Project type: H2020-TWINN-2015
  • Implementation period: 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018
  • Budget: 974.529 €
  • Project website: medgenet.ceitec.cz

Project description:

The main goal of MEDGENET consortium is to use synergies and existing expertise in EU leading partner institutions – EMBL, Uppsala University and CERTH, to reinforce the productivity and competitiveness of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) of Masaryk University (MU) in the field of medical genomics and epigenomics.

All consortium members are intensively analysing human genome and its relation to development of various diseases, mainly tumors. The project has a clear strategy based on combination of unique complementary skills of partner institutions that will lead to effective knowledge transfer in designing specific tools for disease diagnostics, treatment, prognosis assessment, and prevention in order to develop targeted therapy and personalised medicine. Stimulation of knowledge exchange, implementation of cutting edge technologies and mastery of modern genomics and bioinformatics methodologies will have a direct impact on the overall research and innovation potential of CEITEC and will increase its visibility in the international scientific community.

MEDGENET intends to create a well-educated taskforce of biomedical researchers, who will notably contribute to the development of new genomics and bioinformatics tools and their application in clinical practice. It will enable establishing the best practices for performing innovative and high-quality biomedical research which results can be translated into high value-added clinical applications.​​

Twinning for Improving Capacity of Research in Multifunctional Nanosystems for Optronic Biosensing

  • Principal investigator: prof. RNDr. Josef Humlíček, CSc.
  • Acronym: TWINFUSYON


  • Investor: European Commision
  • Project type: H2020-TWINN-2015
  • Implementation period: 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018
  • Budget: 999.718 €
  • Project website: twinfusyon.ceitec.cz

Project description:

The TWINFUSYON project unites 4 partner-institutions Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) of Masaryk University (MU), CNR-NANOTEC, Linz University (JKU), and CNRS-LNCMI under a single mission to seek opportunities in the development of nanotechnologies, new materials and structures with intelligent surfaces and exceptional mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical and biological properties to develop novel design of an optronic biosensor.

The TWINFUSYON aim is to strengthen, to the highest European level, CEITEC MU scientific excellence and innovation capacity in nanosystems for a novel generation of label-free non-invasive optronic biosensing by harmonising integration of expertise in nanomaterials synthesis, characterisation at nanoscale, nanofabrication technologies, theory and modelling development, design of biosensors, which are the building blocks to innovate biosensing devices.​​

BrIdging Structural BiOlogy with Biological SyNthesis and Self Assembly to Reveal Key Processes in Living Systems 

  • Principal investigator: Prof. Jaroslav Koča
  • Acronym: BISON
  • Project partners: University of Vienna, Université Grenoble Alpes, University of East Anglia 
  • Investor: European Commision
  • Project type: H2020-TWINN-2015
  • Implementation period: 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018
  • Budget: 996.375 €
  • Project website: http://bison.ceitec.cz/

Project description: 

The BISON project intends to enhance the collaborative framework of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) of Masaryk University (MU) and three top-level European research institutions – University of Vienna (UNIVIE), The Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA), and University of East Anglia (UEA). The projects purpose is transforming the research in the Structural Biology to be more applied and relevant to urgent societal challenges. The aim is to stimulate scientific excellence and innovation capacity of CEITEC MU by opening several identified interfaces to Cell biology, Biological chemistry and synthetic biology, and New generation of therapeutics. The project will strengthen the competence of CEITEC MU to study complex problems in the field of structural biology and related trans-disciplinary areas and improve the potential to translate the research results into high value-added applications. A significant impact is expected on the overall scientific and innovation capacity of CEITEC MU and will be measured by a set of performance indicators including numbers of quality publications, citations, prestigious grants, results relevant for applications.

In case of any inquiry regarding the TWINNING projects please contact:

The ERA Chair Culture as a Catalyst to Maximize the Potential of CEITEC

Project description: The proposed ERA Chair project aims at supporting the on-going structural shift in the culture of the scientific community of Masaryk University by engaging a world-class scientific leader capable of inspiring positive change. Masaryk University has already been deeply involved in this process as the largest contributing member of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC). CEITEC is a scientific centre in the fields of the life sciences and advanced materials and technologies with the aim of establishing itself as a recognized centre for basic as well as applied research. The CEITEC consortium includes the most prominent universities and research institutes in Brno in the Czech Republic. Thanks to EU Structural Funds, CEITEC is currently in a very rapid stage of development, constructing 25 000 m2 of new research facilities and purchasing state-ofthe- art equipment valued at 100M Euro. One of the challenges facing our organization will be to maximize the high potential that CEITEC has at its disposal through cross-disciplinary collaboration. Within this proposal, we outline the intent to recruit an individual with the commitment to act as an agent of transformation to CEITEC and Masaryk University as a whole, and we will provide the eventual incumbent with a position and the means within the organisation to implement a robust cross-disciplinary program aimed at catalysing the creation of an open, dynamic scientific environment. Thus, we believe transformational leaders are an essential asset, not just for what they can achieve scientifically, but also how they can lead by example.

Synergies of Life and Material Sciences to Create a New Future

  • Principal investigator: Prof. Jaroslav Koča
  • Acronym: SYLICA
  • Investor: European Commision
  • Project type: FP7-REGPOT-2011-1
  • Implementation period: 01.10.2011 - 31.03.2015
  • Budget: 3.930.000 €
  • Project website: https://www.ceitec.eu/project-sylica/t1372

Project description: 

The project SYLICA – Synergies of Life and Material Sciences to Create a New Future concentrates on unlocking and developing research potential of CEITEC Central European Institute of Technology located in Brno, Czech Republic. The SYLICA project applicant is Masaryk University, the main beneficiary of CEITEC, and the second largest Czech university. CEITEC concentrates the best teams in life sciences and advanced materials research, including interdisciplinary interactions with a promising scientific potential. It is both interdisciplinary and international scope, which create the major added value of SYLICA, and which also need further endeavour based on an international evaluation.

SYLICA creates important synergies with the EU Structural Funds; CEITEC receives a large investment worth 208 mil EUR from the main instrument of the EU Cohesion Policy – ERDF Structural Fund into the state-of-the-art infrastructure with national and international significance. By combining ERDF and FP7, the EU added value is created, and a strict complementary approach is followed. SYLICA principally concentrates on the missing expertise for the new core facilities of CEITEC. Through a series of workshops, seminars, postdoctoral and expert inter-ships and visits, and reintegration of experienced nationals, the project will strengthen our research potential on one hand in methodologies and techniques needed for the infrastructure, and on the other hand in the interdisciplinary research fields including studies of novel biomaterials and composites with enhanced biological and mechanical properties.

SYLICA will foster strategic partnerships with prestigious EU research institutions and attract external users of the infrastructure and research results including industry. It will contribute to the vision of CEITEC as a flourishing research centre well-networked and integrated in the ERA, training a new generation of researchers, and delivering research results of top level European quality and significance.​​