Research and development at University of Ostrava is centred around 15 main areas of research instituted as Main Research Directions (MRD). MRDs are stable areas of research based on the academic tradition of the university as well as a long-term effort to establish the research at the UO around the topics which are up-to-date and relevant to both academia and the world around us. These research areas also reflect our robust academic personnel, most notable teams and individuals who are the forefront of our research. Our faculties indeed focus on many other research areas but those named below compose the very core of UO solid research establishment. For further information you can contact the named team leaders.
- The Governance of Lagging and Destabilized Areas
- Research on the Impact of Industrial Technology on the Environment
- The Geomorphological and Paleoenvironmental Response to Global and Regional Environmental Changes
- Global Analysis and Number Theory
- The Study of Biological Diversity in Real and Evolutionary
- Genomic Biology: The Study of the Evolution of Living Organisms Using Genomic and Bioinformatic Approaches
- Transformation of Professional Discourse in Cultural Contexts: New and Innovative Types/Genres of the Text
- Research of the Identity of Places and Regions in Literature, Language, and Culture
- The Economic and Social History of Modern Times
- Research on Medieval Society and Culture
- Epidemology and Prevention
- Monoclonal Gammopathy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment Objectives and Prevention
- Education Research Using ICT
- The Housing of Low-Income Groups – Intervention of Social Work and Social Policy Measures
- Theory and Application of Fuzzy Modeling
The Governance of Lagging and Destabilized Areas
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Petr Rumpel
Ten years ago, the main research subject in the regional sciences was the growth of developed regions in different parts of the world. The research was aimed at understanding the factors and institutional organization (of the systems of governance), which led to a high dynamics of economic growth. Similarly, policies in lagging regions were supposed to "copy" or "imitate" successful strategies, measures and projects, thus getting onto the path of growth. Different functional, structural and institutional characteristics of the regions were practically ignored (or at least not taken into consideration) and implementation (transplantation) of strategies from developed to lagging regions was not successful meaning that the "one-size-fits-all" policy failed. Current research focuses on lagging regions in order to define the optimum institutional and organizational structures for decision-making and governance, and to define political initiatives, strategies, tools and projects fine-tuned to the functions and structures of the lagging regions.
Research on the Impact of Industrial Technology on the Environment
Team leader: Prof. Katerina Malachova
This research programme involves a complex chemical-physical-biological approach towards an actual assessment of changes and their impact on the environment, which is, under the long-term influence of industrial technology, producing harmful and low-degradable waste. Research focuses on arriving at an understanding of the causes and mechanisms of disturbance of the natural equilibrium with a simultaneous focus on the application sector needs, plus the design of an effective platform for cooperation between academic work sites and industry.
Particular specification of the research focus can be defined as follows: research on the effects of the long-term impact of a polluted environment on organisms; research on the impact of environmental contamination on changes in biodiversity; research on the impact of climatic changes on the photosynthetic activity of plants; and research of the formation and interaction of pollutants with the environment in order to reduce their quantity.
The Geomorphological and Paleoenvironmental Response to Global and Regional Environmental Changes
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Tomas Panek
Georelief is a sensitive component of the landscape, which responds to a number of external stimuli by changing the dynamics of its development, which can be used in analyses of the impact of spatially diverse extensive environmental changes. The presented proposal for the primary area of our research fully respects the global trend of basic research in the geosciences and at the same time has evidently applicable importance in predicting and reducing the negative impact of natural extremes on society. Global and regional environmental changes raise a number of technical issues related to the intensity and size of the impact of accelerated geomorphic extremes on human society. The fundamental objective is to understand the spatial distribution of potential extremes, their intensity, predispositions, and triggers, as well as their effect on the landscape which can be seen as yet another source of instability.
Global Analysis and Number Theory
Team leader: Prof. Olga Rossi
Research in the field of number theory is focused on the theory of Diophantine approximations and the theory of sequence division. One of the focal points of both theories is the issue of the description of the distribution type and size assessment of certain sets of real or natural numbers. In the next three years, research in the theory of Diophantine approximations shall be aimed mainly at issues of irrationality and transcendence of the sums of an infinite number series, and related issues. Since it is well known that each real number can be expressed as the sum of an infinite number series, one of the central problems of this theory is to set sufficient conditions so that the sum of a certain infinite number series, specifically the sum of all the infinite series of a certain type, can be irrational, or transcendent numbers. The results generalize classical results of perhaps the most famous mathematician of the second half of the twentieth century - Paul Erdös. The research also focuses on the Erdös problem of the so-called describable sets of the specific sequence of real numbers. The real sequence of non-zero numbers is used to somehow form a set of real numbers using a sequence of natural numbers in order to analyze the characteristics of the resultant set, while the investigation of the characteristics of that set usually represent quite a difficult problem. Another problem is the approximation of numbers and the associated degree of irrationality. Research is centred on how well irrational numbers can be approximated by rational numbers.
The Study of Biological Diversity in Real and Evolutionary
Team leader: Prof. Zdenek Duris
The proposed main area of our research focuses on the study of complex biological diversity from several different aspects at different levels of life organization:
- The taxonomic and morphological biodiversity description of selected taxa of fauna and flora
- Molecular phylogeny of selected groups of taxa
- The study of sub-population characteristics of model taxa (structure of populations, their variance, inter-species interactions, bio-geographical parameters)
- The study of the trophic networks in order to clarify the relationship between biological diversity and food specialization
- The study of regularities (patterns) of biodiversity in environmental gradient (altitudinal, latitudinal, successional gradient, and the gradient of anthropogenic disturbances)
Genomic Biology: The Study of the Evolution of Living Organisms Using Genomic and Bioinformatic Approaches
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Marek Elias
Understanding of how life works at levels from molecules to ecosystems is one of the main quests of modern science. Medicine, agriculture, industry, and environmental protection have benefited from biological research to an extent that cannot be overstated, and human lives will undoubtedly be deeply impacted by discoveries yet to come. The last two decades have witnessed a “genomic revolution,” which has dramatically changed the everyday practice of biological and medical research and opened up completely new research avenues as well as opportunities for practical applications. Genome biology, or genomics, thus now essentially permeates all biological and biomedical research, and this trend will continue to grow. Indeed, one of the main themes in genomics in the last few years is rapid technological development leading to a drastic reduction of the cost per data unit, and hence opportunities for even small laboratories to embark on genomics research projects. However, new challenges have emerged stemming directly from the ease with which huge amounts of genomic data can now be generated – above all requirements for adequate infrastructure for storage and processing of the data, and the need for experts properly trained in the highly specialised methodology of biological data mining, i.e. in bioinformatics.
The interests of individual researchers of the Life Science Research Centre (LSRC) are broad. Below we provide an overview of the primary areas of research:
- Area 1 – Genomics and transcriptomics of evolutionarily of biotechnologically significant groups of protists (Principal Investigator: M. Elias)
- Area 2 – Genome biology of kinetoplastid parasites (Principal Investigator: V. Yurchenko)
- Area 3 – Population genomics (Principal Investigator: P. Hulva)
- Area 4 – Genomic approaches towards understanding the evolution of clonal vertebrates (Principal Investigator: K. Janko)
- Area 5 – Using genomics and bioinformatics to address salient biological questions (Principal Investigator: P. Flegontov)
Transformation of Professional Discourse in Cultural Contexts: New and Innovative Types/Genres of the Text
Team leader: Prof. Lenka Vankova
Our research focus is keyed into the myriad transformations, which professional communication faces today. Perception of these changes and their application is one of the major preconditions to pushing through the results of domestic scientific research and professional experience on an international scale, and is also an essential factor for successful dissemination of knowledge amidst the general public. Especially since professional discourse is currently perceived as a communication area, in which not only experts of different degrees of specialization, but also non-experts, or even the general public contribute to.
Our research aims to carry out a detailed analysis of the changes, through which traditional professional communication texts are currently going through, as well as an analysis of selected new text types/genres of professional discourse. The research is also focused on methods of presenting professional content in a non-professional context. The research also pays special attention to the role and mutual cooperation between verbal and non-verbal elements, as well as specific features shown when issuing the text in an electronic form.
A key aim of this research is, based on a broad cross-cultural comparison of parallel text units of the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Czech environment, to provide Czech professionals dealing with professional text with information about cross-cultural differences within professional discourse.
Research of the Identity of Places and Regions in Literature, Language, and Culture
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Jan Malura
Literature, language, and culture significantly contribute to the creation of regional and local identity. Our Faculty of Arts research team focuses on the interdisciplinary study of these processes, whose core is centred in literary science, however in terms of its programme, it also incorporates numerous overlaps into the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics and cultural history. Research is carried out in a historical perspective; our researchers try to answer the question of how the identity of places and regions was formed in various periods in the past, as well as how literature, language, and culture participated in building this particularity (cultural, national, religious). The research team also focuses on the current perception of these phenomena, since in today's globalized world some traditional pillars and values of national culture have been eradicated, and on the contrary, in some cases the sense of local identity (subculture) has been revived, which often involves cross-border ties. The focus is not only on the wider Ostrava region and other nearby regions such as Cieszyn, Wallachia, Jeseniky, but using analytical and comparative surveys it also selectively examines other areas of the Czech lands, or even foreign locations. The confrontations help model the more general methods of construction and representation of space in literature, language and culture, and establish some universal elements of the regional identity.
The Economic and Social History of Modern Times
Team leader: Prof. Ales Zaricky
Research on the economic and social history of modern times, focusing in particular on the issue of the historical process of modernization. Modernization is analyzed with emphasis upon its manifestations in individual segments of modern social structures. The research verifies the eligibility of a hypothesis according to which modernization, despite its global nature, has been promoted regionally. Attention is primarily paid to economic and social manifestations of this process, which are analyzed in Austrian Silesia and Northern Moravia, and subsequently compared to general trends. The research, which relies on a wide variety of archival and other sources, creates room for potential interdisciplinary comparison with other modernizing regions. Our project objective is also to integrate the expertise of individual researchers and their explorations of, in the current Czech historiography, so far little explored issues, which are, however, crucial for understanding the complicated relationships of contemporary society.
Research on Medieval Society and Culture
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Marek Otisk
The fundamental research objective of the VIVARIUM – Centre for Research of Medieval Society and Culture is universal and interdisciplinary research focused on medievistic issues. Our focus is primarily on the socio-cultural horizons of medieval people across the social stratification, with particular emphasis on medieval imagination and multiple image strategies typical for the Middle Ages. The research is based on studies of written and material sources, in which images appear to be the most common communication tool, which can be understood as a culture-creating phenomenon that reflects the differentiated social reality and defines the basic value and self-identification tools of people at that time. Thus our defined field of research activities is leading to an inter-disciplinary exploration of different visual strategies, which might be encountered in the Middle Ages (e.g. iconography, numismatics, heraldry, mural and book paintings, etc.), including written declarations, reflections and an evaluation of the image in philosophical, theological, liturgical, scientific and other texts from those times.
Epidemology and Prevention
Team leader: Prof. Vladimir Janout
Currently, the Epidemiology and Prevention Team focuses on genetic and epigenetic changes in the lung carcinoma ("lung cancer," implementation at the University Hospital of Ostrava), including their relation to environmental, and lifestyle factors, as well as the clinical and pathological characteristics of the patient. In addition to this, the research team solves the authentication role of the HPV virus in the etiology of this tumour in female non-smokers ("lung cancer in female non-smokers"). The research centre also deals with the verification of the heterogeneity of bladder cancer and the identification of risk factors for its formation. These research projects are implemented in cooperation with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon (France), and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Furthermore, the Epidemiology and Prevention Team has been trying to address the risk of cardiovascular disease with increasing age in the context of psychosocial and lifestyle factors in collaboration with the University College London, Great Britain. To solve our research problem, data from the English Whitehall II cohort study that monitors changes in heart rate variability through three phases of measurement over 12 years on a large sample of healthy people, is being used, along with several other sources of information.
Monoclonal Gammopathy: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis and Treatment Objectives and Prevention
Team leader: Prof. Roman Hajek
Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) is besides the so-called Smoldering Multiple Myeloma (SMM) a precancerous condition with a clearly defined risk of transition to a fully developed tumour over time – a Multiple Myeloma (MM). In terms of the pathogenesis, it is a continuous process (there is no myeloma without MGUS), while the basic characteristics of a malfunction of the genome are already present in MGUS and, in the development and the "maturation" of the tumour, an increased genomic instability can be observed using both simple and genome-wide methods. The pathogenesis has not been resolved. The aforementioned projects are trying to find the key factors in the MGUS transition into MM and bring new findings into the field of monoclonal gammopathy pathogenesis in general. The latest clinical research includes testing of various treatments at a time when the patient has not started to be treated yet, i.e. is at the stage of precancerous MGUS/SMM. The project includes epidemiological analysis, defining groups at high risk for the transformation of the precancerous condition into a tumour, and identification of potential risk factors at the regional level, individual level, and the level of the disease. The plan is to develop clinical studies of phase I/II blocking the development and transition of MGUS/SMM into fully developed cancer requiring chemotherapy.
Education Research Using ICT
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Katerina Kostolanyova
Our research area focuses on education, especially on the research of the teaching and study curriculum. In recent years, information technologies have become an integral part of education at all school levels, but their role as educational media is not yet conceptualized and adequately reflected by pedagogical-psychological and didactic research, particularly in terms of student learning. The main objective of the research is to help clarify how digital (and also other) teaching materials support the learning of pupils and students from primary school to university education. In terms of concept and methodology, the research relies mainly on socio-cultural theories of learning and teaching and focuses on cognitive, metacognitive and emotional support of learning. Simultaneously, the possibilities of various forms of individualization of teaching, including personalized learning and adaptive e-learning are being verified within the research. The research design is mixed with the prevailing qualitative methodology, however, at the same time using, for example, videotaping studies or eye-tracking technology, allowing to obtain exact data when measuring visual perceptual processes.
The Housing of Low-Income Groups – Intervention of Social Work and Social Policy Measures
Team leader: Assoc. Prof. Oldrich Chytil
Our main research topic is the interventions of social work and social policy measures in relation to exclusion from housing. The basis of our research is the theoretical foundations of exclusion, which view it as a threat to social integrity and the cohesion of society (Mares, Sirovatka, 2008), as a mechanism of social, physical and cultural isolation (Giddens, 2004) as well as a limiting factor of participation in the social activities (Hills, Le Grand, Pichaud, 2002). Social exclusion is conceptualized as multidimensional (Percy-Smith, 2000); what is considered important is especially a spatial dimension of exclusion (Lupton, Power, 2002 Byrne, 2005) and the related exclusion from housing (Keller, 2011). The second group of theoretical foundations is theoretical concepts of social work in the post-modern society.
To formulate interventions of social work and social policy measures responding to the problem of exclusion from housing it is required to focus on the mapping of the current situation and attempting to answer the following research questions:
- What types of problems with exclusion from housing do several key social work groups experience and what factors contribute to the emergence and deepening of those problems?
- How are the problems with the exclusion from housing in individual key groups addressed and what role does social work in an international and a historical context play in providing solutions to the problem?
Theory and Application of Fuzzy Modeling
Team leader: Prof. Vilem Novak
Research is focused on the creation and study of mathematical tools and methods from the field of fuzzy modelling helping to solve complicated problems, whose mathematical description is not known or is very incomplete or too complex to be solved without using any significant (and therefore inadequate) simplifications. The decisive factor is the theoretical development of methods and their foundations so that it is possible to scientifically justify the use of all methods. This approach enables our researchers to solve new tasks and create models that are closer to reality than the models produced by classical methods. Application of these methods is promoted in many areas, e.g. in automatic control (regulation) and decision-making, in a robust digital image and video processing (incl. the automatic detection of searched objects or the automatic reading of damaged text) or in data analysis (incl. description and prediction of a time series). Our results are presented in specialized publications, in particular, in prestigious high impact scientific journals, and at international conferences. We also collaborate with commercial entities on the development of innovation tools to be launched in their production.