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Faculty of Social Studies

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Faculty of Medicine

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Centre of Excellence IT4Innovations

Research of the Identity of Places and Regions in Literature, Language, and Culture

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 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. This team also responds to the current growth of interest in the cultural memory in humanities research and reflects the sensory perception of the world, the essence of literary depictions of space and especially the phenomenon of literary landscape. 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.

Transformations of Professional Discourse

The research programme represents a response to the transformations which professional communication is currently undergoing. The perception of these changes, and the ways in which they are applied in practice, are of key importance for Czech researchers’ ability to present their work on the international stage. It is also essential to keep pace with these developments if researchers are to successfully communicate their work to a broad general public; professional discourse is increasingly viewed as a type of communication featuring not only experts and specialists at various levels, but also non-experts. The aims of the research are to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the changes affecting traditional genres of professional communication and to describe the development of selected new genres of professional discourse, with a particular focus on the roles and mutual interactions of verbal and non-verbal elements and the ways in which the advent of electronic media have influenced the structure and functions of the genres in question. One of the key objectives of the research is to carry out a broad-based intercultural comparison of parallel genres in the English-, German- and Czech-speaking contexts, which will provide Czech communicants with a thorough insight into intercultural differences within professional discourse.

Economic and Social History

Předkládaný hlavní směr výzkumu v oblasti hospodářských a sociálních dějin kontinuálně navazuje na předchozí odbornou vědeckou aktivitu výzkumného týmu FF OU. Zaměřuje se na analýzu modernizačních prvků v doposud nedostatečně zpracovaných dílčích výzkumných oblastech hospodářských a sociálních dějin Moravy a Slezska. Zasazuje tyto výzkumy do kontextu všeobecné transformace společenských struktur od 18. do 20. století. Analyzuje mj. proměny jednotlivých sektorů ekonomiky v závislosti na proměnách společnosti, historickodemografické procesy, proces společenské aktivizace a faktory, které jej ovlivňují. Pozornost je věnována také proměnám společnosti ve vztahu k sociálním a kulturním změnám, transformaci mentálních map a společenských postojů ve zlomových okamžicích dějin apod. V rámci bádání bude ověřeno, do jaké míry lze využít výsledky dosažené výzkumem modernizující se společnosti 18. a 19. století pro roky 1918–1938. Výzkum se opírá o širokou paletu archivních a dalších pramenů a vytváří prostor pro případnou interdisciplinární a mezinárodní komparaci s dalšími zeměmi západní, střední a východní Evropy. Cílem projektu je i integrace odborného zaměření jednotlivých badatelů do výzkumu aktuálních a v české historiografii doposud málo probádaných problémů, které však mají klíčový význam pro pochopení komplikovaných vztahů soudobé společnosti.

Research on Medieval Society and Culture

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, visual 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.

Population Groups at Risk of Social Exclusion – Social Work and Social Policy Interventions

In accordance with the main research direction, The Faculty of Human Studies focuses on research and development of theoretical concepts of social exclusion which is perceived as a threat to social integrity and social cohesion, as a mechanism of social, material and cultural isolation, and of the decline in social participation. For research purposes, we conceptualize social exclusion as a multidimensional phenomenon which requires a multidisciplinary research approach. The threat of social exclusion concerns both individuals and groups; we focus on specific groups in individual parts of our research. Suitable approaches and methods focusing on preventing social exclusion, or promoting social inclusion by means of participative approaches, are studied through basic and applied research in social work practice. We make use of the multidisciplinary approach, reflecting computerisation of social work as a promising research direction since 2016.

Monoclonal gammopathies and haematological malignancies

The main aim of the research direction is identification and understanding of genetic changes in hematological malignancies and subsequent translation of obtained results into clinics. Research will be focused on unveiling mechanisms of malignant transformation determined by genetic characters and manifested by aberrant molecular pathways. The methods of modern genomics, flow cytometry, molecular and cell biology will be employed and applied on model systems and also on patient primary cells. Archivation and sharing of biological material will be maintained by the Biobank. Collection of a critical number of samples contributes to accelerate research projects. Bioinformatic section is closely linked with the IT4innovation supercomputing center at the Technical University in Ostrava. Clinical part of the research benefits from the unique cooperation with University Hospital Ostrava. The laboratory has a collaboration with other research centers in the Czech Republic and abroad. Results of the integrated research lead to better understanding of tumor cell regulatory mechanisms, uncover new diagnostic and prognostic markers and bring new therapeutic targets. The research activity thus creates the platform for application of the personalized medicine, which maximizes the therapeutic effect for a patient. Other research area is the cellular immunotherapy using nonspecific (NK cells) and specific (CAR-T cells) effectors of antitumor immunity, which has significant curative potential in terms of the complete elimination of residual tumor population. This research builds appropriately on the previous activities and develops, among others, in cooperation with the commercial sector in the context of long-term inter-sector cooperation. Linking experts with different specializations, use of modern equipment, mutual transfer of knowledge and technologies will accelerate research and achievement of highly competitive scientific results, which will enhance the prestige and importance of Faculty of Medicine of University of Ostrava.

Epidemiological research

The main objective of the epidemiological research is to investigate an impact of selected environmental and life-style risk factors on population health and aging. Demographic trends, resp. aging of population, is an issue that needs to be addressed in all regions of developed countries. Preservation of physical and mental health to an old age is one of the pathways how to ensure healthy aging. It involves identification of both risk and protective factors of health including biological predictors that may help in early diagnosis of diseases.

The health status of people from industrial region is dependent not only on elimination of risk factors of environment but also on healthy lifestyle. The research therefore focuses on the effect of lifestyle factors on health and a perception of aging in the population from industrial environment.

Main research outcomes are markers of health status including genetic, epigenetic and physiological markers, cardiometabolic, oncological, respiratory, infectious, neurodegenerative and mental diseases, and changes in socioeconomic structure of population as well as perception of health risks in relation to increasing age of population. Epidemiological research bring together specialists of infectious and non-communicable epidemiology, natural and social sciences and psychology.

Research activities are generally focused on maintaining and increasing quality of life of EU aging population, a topic of high importance in modern societies. Therefore research outputs are well applicable in health policy making and in public health protection.

Sub-areas of research:

  • Longitudinal monitoring of the relationship between polluted air, health status and lifestyle.
  • Socio-economic aspects of healthy aging, lifestyle roles, risk factors and perceptions of aging populations
  • New technologies in a wider social context and a subjective perception of their health risks
  • Epidemiology of psychological and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Biopsychosocial mechanisms of health and disease (both infectious and non-infectious)

Human Movement and Health

Research activities focus mainly on examining the functional structural relationship between human movment and health. In the field of biomechanics research is focus on causes of musculoskeletal injuries in sport and exercise with recommendations for injury prevention in different age groups of the population. Research is focus on coordination and variability of the human movement during process of motor learning. In the field of physiology and functional anthropology research focuses on functional somatic parameters for assessing the level of physical activity as an important parameter for maintaining the health. The purpose of research is the find for optimal physical activities for different age groups in the context of prevention of lifestyle diseases and improve health-related fitness of the population.

Genome biology

The development of DNA sequencing methods and the exponentially growing volume of genomic data have recently in provided one of the main impulses for biology. The availability of genome sequences from a rapidly increasing number of organisms and the possibility of sequencing genomes and transcriptomes of organisms of interest in labs outside big genome centres have completely changed the nature of biological research. Bionformatic analyses of genomic and transcriptomic data enable in an unprecedented way to explore the organismal gene repertoire and its evolution. At the same time they provide the basis and inspiration for research oriented onto the function of living systems at the level of individual genes, molecular modules, cells, and whole organisms. Genomics is also critical for modern medicine and biotechnology. The proposed „main research direction“ called „Genome biology“ institutionalizes research activities in the aforementioned field as they are presently realized at the Life Science Research Centre (Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science). Support of genomically-oriented research naturally fits the general aspirations of the OU to represent an institution hosting top basic research. The international team embodying this „main research direction“ proposal delivers on a regular basis important new results and discoveries, publishes in high-profile journals, and is able to raise substantial financial resources from domestic and international grants to sustain its activities. Furthermore, the „Genome biology“ research direction should be endorsed as a natural platform for the very much needed co-operation between the Faculties of Science and Medicine.

Biodiversity

Understanding diversity of living forms is one of ultimate goals of biology since the inception of this scientific discipline, and the study of diversity is the basis for evolutionary, ecological and nature conservation disciplines. Our research team focuses on the comprehensive investigations of biodiversity issues, thus not only on the taxonomical and morphological studies or studies solving interactions between organisms, but especially on the specific aspects of evolution with the use of phylogenetical approaches. Subjects of our studies are population characteristics of model taxa (population structure, dispersion, interspecific interactions, biogeographic parameters), trophic networks with the aim to elucidate relationships between biological diversity and food specialization, patterns of biological diversity in the environmental gradient (altitude, latitude, succession gradient, gradient of anthropogenic disturbances) and the processes responsible for speciation, adaptive radiation and reproductive isolation, which are crucial for the understanding of the mechanisms of evolution. Research is also devoted to the biodiversity in anthropogenic ecosystems with an emphasis on the ecology of (post-) industrial habitats, incl. the applications for management and practical habitat conservation. The research can be divided into six core areas (although they are more or less intertconnected), each of them supported by senior research scientists, specialists on sub-issues of the biodiversity research and a particular group of organisms. Currently, the research team consists of 12 researchers and 28 PhD students, it is scientifically very productive (126 WoS publications for 2012-2016) and the quality of scientific outputs is growing in time. A total of 178 new taxa (158 new species and 20 new genera) have been described so far by the members of this research team, and the number of new taxa has been increased with the use of modern molecular methods to the study of cryptic diversity.

Geomorphology, natural hazards and environmental changes

Georelief represents sensitive part of landscape, which reflects external disturbances by dynamical changes of its development. It is possible to use this behaviour for analysis of environmental changes impacts. The main research direction fully respects the world trends of basic geoscience research. Moreover, it reveals obvious application importance for prediction a restrictions of negative impacts on the society. Global and regional environmental changes induce many research questions, which are related to intensity and magnitude of impacts of accelerated geomorphic extremes to human society. The main aim is the understanding of spatial distribution of potential extremes, their intensity, predisposition, triggers, and effect in the landscape as another instability source. The research direction has a strong position among physiographical disciplines. Geomorphologists are an important part of team members. The team of the department of physical geography a geoecology is built for many years. It express pointed research and publication activity with positive results in the course of fund raising. Team is composed by staffers of various gradation degrees with the mean age below 40 years. The research direction reflects the dissertation thesis themes in the doctoral program Environmental geography.

Fuzzy modeling

Research and development of theoretical foundations and applications from the fuzzy modeling field and related soft computing fields, development of mathematical tools for modeling the vagueness phenomenon. Such methods and models enable to solve complicated problems whose mathematical description is not known or it is incomplete or too complicated in order to be directly solved without further significant simplifications. The crucial point is the theoretical investigation of the methods and their foundations so that the usage of all the methods may scientifically justified.

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