A PhD candidate contributing to the research of pancreatic cancer

10. 1. 2020

A team led by Professor Michal Holčapek of the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemical Technology is trying to detect the pancreatic cancer at its early stage, and introduce a method which will make the lives of hundred thousands of patients easier. Michaela Chocholoušková, a PhD candidate, who is currently gaining professional experience in Singapore, is also a member of his team. She is trying to develop a procedure for verifying the quality of the biological samples.

Why Singapore?

Singapore is home to a prestigious lipidomic incubator with extensive experience in analyzing sphingolipids. This gives me a unique opportunity to learn something new in our field, which can be later applied in our laboratory.

What is the focus of your research?

I am trying to develop a procedure for verifying the quality of the blood plasma, which may largely affect data interpretation. The aim of such a procedure is to detect a sample where blood plasma has been mishandled when being taken or processed, and thus eliminate the sample from the study, or take the sample again. This should enhance the quality of the statistical models as well as reduce the number of false negatives or false positives.

How did you join the team?

I have been with the University of Pardubice since my BA studies. In the MA programme, I wrote a thesis under the supervision of Doc. Jiří Urban, who suggested that I apply for the PhD programme. However, as he was leaving the university, he recommended me to Professor Holčapek, who agreed to be my supervisor after some talk.

What does it mean for you to work in Professor Holčapek’s team?

It is a great opportunity for me to work on something meaningful and useful. The mere fact that as a student I can work on such a big research project is unique. As a member of Professor Holčapek’s team, I can work with various types of mass spectrometres, I have had the chance to meet important researchers in our field, attend prestigious global conferences and do internships in high-profile labs abroad. Moreover, the international nature of the team means that I use English on an everyday basis, and English is a necessity in today’s world of science.

Do you ever wonder that the research project you are part of may mean a breakthrough if completed successfully?

To tell the truth, I have not taken this perspective yet. What I do realize now, however, is that there is vast amount of work yet to be done to bring the project to a successful end. My top priority this year, however, is completing the PhD studies.





AUTHOR: Věra Přibylová