Department of Genetics
"Genetics is not a neighbor chatting over the fence with some helpful hints ... In fact, it is central to any biological scientific disciplines," write Robert Plomin and his co-authors in the latest edition of the textbook Behavioral Genetics. Modern genetics has a quintessential role in integrating natural and social sciences and the new opportunities provided by the current methodology is a huge challenge.
Anyone with a serious interest to take this challenge, has the opportunity to get a formal education in genetics at the oldest Department of Genetics in Slovakia (founded in 1968). Lectures, seminars, practicals and an opportunity to perform hands-on experiments within the framework of diploma theses addressing various problems of contemporary genetics, prepare students for an exciting career in experimental and clinical genetics, not only at Slovak but also at the top foreign institutions. Our teachers, researchers and technical staff are confident that with the assistance of our talented students the Department of Genetics represents an attractive educational and research environment.
The Department has long been dedicated to the study of the molecular mechanisms of DNA repair in several eukaryotic model organisms and their modulation during the cell cycle or by various bioactive substances. In cooperation with the Department of Biochemistry the mechanisms of replication of linear DNA molecules in the nucleus and mitochondria of selected eukaryotic cells are studied, focusing on the study of stabilizing their ends (telomeres) and with implications for cellular senescence and tumor transformation. Molecular mechanisms ensuring proper segregation of chromosomes during mitosis and meiosis are studied in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We are also interested in the molecular means of communication between nucleus and other membraneous compartments (such as mitochondria and vacuoles) of eukaryotic cells. In cooperation with the Department of Microbiology and Virology we study the molecular mechanisms of a response of microorganisms to xenobiotics. In the field of plant genetics there is a population-genetic analysis of different types of wheat and their evolutionary origin. In cooperation with the Institute of Experimental Endocrinology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences we investigate the genetic control of ontogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster.
In teaching we have an ambition to lead students to understanding of the key principles of contemporary genetics, to grasping the major biological concepts, to gaining the ability to critically read the scientific literature, formulate hypotheses, plan their experimental testing and to being competent to interpret experimental data.