Research initiatives

Faculty of Social Studies

Faculty of Arts

Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Education

Faculty of Science

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 on literary science, however, in terms of its programme, it also incorporates numerous overlaps into the fields of linguistics and cultural history. The 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 research team, the core of which consists of the Centre for Regional Studies and the Department of Czech Literature and Literary Criticism FA UO, focuses not only on the wider Ostrava region but also regions such as Wallachia, Cieszyn and Czech Silesia. The research does not omit also further locations, especially when it follows more general principles of interweaving local, regional and national, or even transnational identities. The specificity of many Central European regions is their multi-ethnic character and it is the Czech-German-Polish-Slovak context and cross-border cultural exchange that are the focus of this research direction. The research also responds to the current trends of cultural sciences in which there is a growth in interest in space phenomenon. Team members examine the representation of landscape, nature, countryside and industrial cities in literature and art, draw attention to the developmental changes of these topics from pre-modern times to the hot present with its ecological threats.

In addition to publishing scientific outputs (monographs, journal articles), holding scientific conferences and workshops, the research team also focuses on the popularization of research results (exhibitions, popularization of websites and databases, public lectures and discussions).

Sub-areas of research:

  1. Literary, cultural and language methods, ways of creating identity of places.
  2. Landscapes and regions’ mythization (and ideologization) processes.
  3. Building of memory of places in the modern Czech literature (including disappearance of memory of places, loss of their identity). Literary geographies, literary maps.
  4. Research on culture and literature of pilgrimage places in Moravia and Silesia, sacralization of landscapes.
  5. Czech-Polish cultural and literacy contacts in north-east Moravia and Silesia.
  6. Key persons of literature and culture of wider Ostrava region (Petr Bezruč, Vojtěch Martínek, Jaromír Šavrda, Vilém Závada, etc.), the phenomenon of “regional author”, cultural heritage of regions.
  7. Popular literature in regional and supraregional contexts (shopkeeper and pilgrim’s prints, handwriting, manuscript works).
  8. Cultural-historical research on Wallachia.
  9. Border regions and their interdisciplinary analysis, specifics of multiethnic areas (Cieszyn region, Hlučín region).
  10. Theme of countryside and local work in the literature and fine arts.
  11. Political aspects of toponymy and its role as a tool of space control and demonstration of political power.
  12. New methodological stimuli in the research of regions and places (e.g. so-called memory studies, new regionalism, ecocriticism).

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Transformations of Professional Discourse

The focus of the research is determined by the changes that professional communication is undergoing today. The perception of these changes and their application is one of the important prerequisites for the promotion of the results of domestic scientific research on an international scale and is also a necessary factor for the successful dissemination of professional knowledge to the general public. The expert discourse is currently perceived as a communication area in which not only experts of various degrees of specialization participate, but also non-experts or the general public. The aim of the research is to make a thorough analysis of the changes that traditional textual formations of professional communication are undergoing and to analyze selected new text types/genres of professional discourse, paying special attention to the role and interplay of verbal and non-verbal elements and the specific features that electronic realization of a text type/genre brings to its formation. The key task of the research is to provide Czech writers with information about intercultural differences within professional discourse on the basis of a broad intercultural comparison of parallel formations from Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Czech environments.

  1. New text types and genres.
  2. Changes in professional terminology.
  3. Evolution of professional language.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Economic and Social History

The presented main direction of research on economic and social history continuously follows up on the previous professional scientific activity of the Faculty of Arts UO’s research team. It focuses on the analysis of modernization elements in the so far insufficiently processed partial research areas of the economic and social history of the Habsburg monarchy and Czechoslovakia. It puts this research into the context of the general transformation of social history from 18. until 21. century. It analyzes, among others, the environmental changes and change of individual economic sectors depending on the changes of society, historical-demographic processes, process of social activation and factors which affect them. The attention is paid also to changes of society in relation to the social and cultural changes, transformation of mental maps and social attitudes in turning points in the history, etc. An integral part is also a professional analysis of problems associated with the onset of Anthropocene and the post-industrial transformation of regions in the 21. century. The research is based on a wide range of archival and other sources and creates space for possible interdisciplinary and international comparison. The aim of this research direction is also an integration of the professional orientation of individual researchers into the research of current and still under-researched problems, yet which is of key importance for understanding the complexities of our contemporary society. The main research direction follows up on study programmes from the field of history that are at the Faculty. Sub-areas of research:
  1. Theoretical issues of economic and social history; research methodology, manifestations in individual economic sectors and interactions of processes influencing economic and social history.
  2. Historical-demographic processes in the history with the emphasis on the analysis of population change in basic historical-demographic categories and their interpretation in relation to the economic and social history.
  3. The issue of Anthropocene, the impact of human actions on the society and its manifestations in the process of post-industrial transformation of the 21. century.
  4. The issue of environmental history.
  5. Formation of the civil society and transformation of its components, the genesis of the social, legal and technological innovations, their interactions and the contribution to the changes of social structure, the genesis of the social networks and infrastructure in the historical perspective and in relation to the changes of social and economic structure of society.
  6. Process of modernization and social activation in economically and socially different regions, mechanisms of this activation.
  7. The transformation of the social and cultural structure of society and changes in lifestyle, the integration of old social strata into civil society, the genesis of the proletariat and the entrepreneurial class, the participation of the state and social strata in these changes, the formation of a legislative framework and its evolution in connection with changing social and economic factors and shifts in social structure, attitudes of individual social strata and their changes in turning points in history.
  8. Issues of education and professionalization, social inclusion and exclusion, social practice. Motivation of actors leading to improvements in social positions during periods of economic growth and decline, the influence of crises on social structure, possibilities and degree of adaptability of societal components.
  9. Transformation of individual economic sectors in relation to the changes of societal conditions.
  10. Research on developing trends in the society in the 18. till 21. century.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Research on Medieval Society and Culture

The fundamental research goal of the VIVARIUM - The Centre for Research in Medieval Society and Culture is universal and interdisciplinary research focused on medievistic issues. The focus is primarily on the socio-cultural horizons of medieval people across the social stratification, with a particular emphasis on the medieval imagination and multiple image strategies encountered in the Middle Ages. The research is based on the study of written, visual and material sources, in which image and imagery appear as the most common means of communication, 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. The field of research activities defined in this way leads to interdisciplinary research of various image strategies encountered in the Middle Ages (e.g. iconography, numismatics, sphragistics, mural and book painting, etc.), including written declarations, reflections and evaluations of the image in philosophical, theological, liturgical, scientific and other texts from those times.

Bulletin (in Czech only) of research on medieval society and culture at the UO.

Sub-areas of research: Medieval Church; Medieval Philosophy; Medieval Iconography; Medieval Imagination; Medieval Latin And Latin Literature; Medieval Science; Medieval History; Medieval Communication Strategies; Medieval Sources; Medieval Art; Medieval Law.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Population Groups at Risk of Social Exclusion

In accordance with the main research direction, the Faculty of Social 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 the 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. Within the research, a multidisciplinary approach is applied, which has reflected the informatization of social work and digital exclusion as one of the dimensions of social exclusion since 2016.

In the research we focus mainly on two target groups of population and the related topics:

  1. People excluded from housing - the focus is on complexes of tools to overcome the difficult housing situation, to obtain and maintain adequate and dignified housing.
  2. People in unfavorable life situation in threat of social or digital exclusion, especially because of age or health status (in particular seniors, minors or people with disabilities) - in the research we focus on the role of social work and social services in overcoming it.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Monoclonal Gammopathies and Hematological Malignancies

The main aim of the research is to identify and understand genetic changes in hematopoietic malignancies and to translate the findings into clinical practice. The emphasis is put on uncovering causal links between genetic traits and molecular mechanisms that lead to malignant transformation and the development of resistance to treatment. The research uses methods of modern genomics, flow cytometry, molecular and cell biology on model systems and patient tumour cells. Archiving and sharing of samples is provided by the Biobank. A critical number of archived materials accelerates research projects. The bioinformatics section is directly connected to the supercomputer’s capacities of the IT4Innovations National Supercomputing Center at the VSB - Technical University of Ostrava. The clinical part of the research benefits from the unique cooperation with the University Hospital Ostrava. The laboratory is in close contact with other universities and research centres in the Czech Republic and abroad. The results of the integrated approach lead to a deeper understanding of regulatory mechanisms in cancer cells, reveal diagnostic and prognostic markers and provide new therapeutic targets. The research activity thus helps to create a platform for personalized treatment that maximizes the therapeutic effect for a specific patient. Another research area is cellular immunotherapy using non-specific (NK cells) and specific (CAR-T cells) effectors of anti-tumour immunity, which has significant curative potential in terms of permanent elimination of the residual tumour population. This research builds on previous activities and is being developed, among other things, in collaboration with the commercial sector in the framework of a long-term intersectoral collaboration. Connection of experts with different specializations, use of modern equipment, mutual transfer of knowledge and technology will accelerate research and enable the achievement of competitive scientific outputs, which will increase the prestige and importance of the Faculty of Medicine UO.

  1. Study of mutational and expression profile of aberrant cells in monoclonal gammopathies.
  2. Identification of therapeutic targets for the treatment of hematological malignancies using modern methods of molecular biology and genetic engineering.
  3. Research on potential in therapeutic procedures using cell therapy in hematological malignancies treatment.

The research direction is related to all doctoral studies with a focus on biology, molecular biology in general and molecular biology in medicine, students are involved in the doctoral programme in Biology at the Faculty of Science and in the Hematooncology programme at the Department of Hematooncology at the Faculty of Medicine.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Epidemiological research

The main objective of the research of the Centre for Epidemiological Research with the support of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ostrava is to investigate an impact of selected environmental and lifestyle risk factors on the population’s 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 an industrial region is dependent not only on elimination of risk factors of environment but also on healthy lifestyle. Preparing for active aging requires one’s own contribution to maintain the self-sufficiency until the highest age possible. Determining the impact of the real effects of health risks of polluted environment, lifestyle and their perception, especially related to the aging of population, is the main goal of the research activities.

Monitored output variables are health status indicators such as, e.g. genetic, epigenetic and physiological markers, cardiovascular, metabolic, oncological, respiratory, infectious as well as mental diseases or changes in the socioeconomical structure of the population and the perception of health risk factors in relation to increasing age of the population. A significant initiative of the research team, resp. the Centre for Epidemiological Research, are the longitudinal cohort studies and a long-term monitoring of the above-mentioned health status and life-style indicators of the population in areas with different environmental impacts. The Centre for Epidemiological Research and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health bring together specialists of infectious and non-communicable epidemiology, natural and social sciences and psychology.

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

Sub-areas of research:

  1. Research on environmental (especially impacts of polluted air) and lifestyle impacts on the health and healthy aging of the population.
  2. Research on the impact of lifestyle and environmental indicators in the younger generation (especially mothers with children).
  3. Research on psychosocial and socioeconomic determinants.
  4. Research on molecular biological aspects of diseases of civilization with a focus on the cardiovascular system diseases.
  5. Research on the impact of physical factors (noise, electric and magnetic fields and non-ionizing radiation) on the population.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

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 organisms is one of ultimate goals of biology since the inception of this scientific discipline. Our research team focuses on the comprehensive investigations of biodiversity issues, thus not only on the taxonomical and morphological diversity of organisms and studies solving interactions between organisms, but especially on the phylogeny and evolution. 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 with the applications for ecological management and practical habitat conservation. The research can be divided into nine core areas (although they are more or less interconnected), each of them supported by senior research scientists, erudite specialists on sub-issues of the biodiversity research and a particular group of organisms. Currently, the research team consists of 18 researchers and a number of doctoral students, many of whom have worked within the solved scientific projects. An accredited doctoral study program in Biology is linked to the research field. The results of research are regularly published in prestigious scientific journals.

Sub-areas of research:

  1. Diversity, trophic and host specialization of herbivorous and mycophagous insects, incl. studies of herbivore-plant-parasitoid food chain.
  2. The role of microbial symbionts in shaping the host specialization of insect herbivores.
  3. Evolution of sex and alternative reproductive strategies.
  4. Systematics, molecular phylogeny and evolution of selected groups of organisms (Crustacea; Insecta: Diptera, Orthoptera, Dermaptera, Odonata, Coleoptera; Osteichthyes; Amphibia; Reptilia; Aves; Mammalia; Bryophyta).
  5. Fossil history of Polyneoptera and Diptera insects.
  6. Population genomics with a focus on population biology and the evolutionary history of mammals.
  7. Modeling and quantitative analyses of data in ecology and evolutionary biology.
  8. Bioindication and biomonitoring of anthropogenic influences using model organisms.
  9. Behavioral ecology of birds, ungulates and primates.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

Geomorphology, natural hazards and environmental changes

Georelief is the result of endogenous and exogenous processes, which often have the character of natural hazards fundamentally affecting human society. In our research we deal with the possibilities of deciphering extreme natural phenomena (e.g. landslides, earthquakes, floods, etc.) due to the nature of the relief. We try to find out when the event took place, how it changed the landscape and what the process could mean for the human and landscape generally. Geomorphological processes change depending on the nature of the climate, therefore, our focus is also on the issue of Quaternary climate changes, how these changes affected the character of the landscape and what can be expected from current climate changes. Currently, we work on the issue of large landslides, addressing how riverbeds are changing and how human activities affect the Earth’s surface. We also develop very precise methods of geomorphological processes dating, which are based on the study of tree rings (so-called dendrogeomorphology). At the regional level, we deal mainly with the territory of Central Europe, but in recent years, we have also worked in Kazakhstan, the Andes, the Eastern Mediterranean, Russia and Antarctica. The team built for many years at the Department of Physical Geography and Geoecology has targeted research and publication activity with positive results in the field of obtaining research projects registered in CEP (Central Evidence of Projects). The research direction is also reflected in the topics of final theses of bachelor, master and doctoral study programme Environmental Geography.

Sub-areas of research:

  1. Landslides.
  2. Dendrogeomorphology.
  3. Fluvial geomorphology.
  4. Geoecology, Quaternary.

Team structure
Significant outputs (e.g. monographs, journal articles)
Project, significant awards of team members, media responses

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.


Updated: 11. 07. 2022