Pharmacognosy and Nutraceuticals

Ph.D. studium

  1. General Information
  2. Entrance Examination
  3. Framework Study Plan
  4. Human Resources
  5. Research Groups

1. General Information

  • Form of study:

full-time / combined

  • Language of study:

Czech / English

  • Standard length of study:

4 years

  • Form of entrance examination:


  • Validity of accreditation:

until 31st October 2028

  • Education field:

Pharmacy (100 %)

Study Program Characteristics

The aim of the Study Program is to provide a comprehensive view of substances of natural origin as sources of pharmaceuticals (from used and potential curative sources) in human therapy and nutraceuticals - substances derived from food sources or new sources of raw materials used in nutrition. The dominant area is the information on obtaining of active substances (isolation, biotechnology, semi-synthetic pathway), methods of isolation from biological material, including solution of structure, mechanisms of biological activity in vitro, screening methodology for individual types of biological effects and development of analytical methods for monitoring substances in the natural matrix from the therapeutic, tissue-protection and, to a certain extent, even toxicological point of view. The aim of these studies is to find out the possibilities of their use as phytopharmaceuticals, food supplements and novel foods for the normalization of human physiological processes for the strengthening of health and prevention of chronic diseases together with the use of nutrigenomic phenomena that can be used in the administration of products in terms of interaction with food and pharmaceuticals (from the point of view of clinical pharmacy) and to influence the course of diseases.

Information on Graduate Employment

The graduate is educated in selected pharmaceutical sciences (pharmacognosy, chemistry of natural sub-stances, acquisition and analytical methods, classification of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, biotechnological processes of their production, formation, pharmaceutical clinical aspects and toxicity of natural substances), in medical sciences (special human physiology, nutrigenomics) and food sciences (food chemistry, legal aspects of nutraceuticals). The graduate is prepared to investigate scientific and practical tasks considering research, analysis and acquisition of natural substances, their rational pro-cessing into phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, pharmaceutical clinical aspects and toxicity of these substances and their influence in the form of phytopharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals on medicaments and health effects.

2. Entrance Examination

Framework Content of the Entrance Examination

Oral exam from basic methods of pharmacognosy work, basic knowledge of plant and fungal metabolites isolation (incl. structure elucidation), biological and chemical screening methods for natural substances a their biological potential, use of analytical methods for compounds study in natural matrix (plant sources containing potentially therapeutic substances, nutraceuticals), systematic pharmacognosy of primary and secondary metabolites, basic metabolic biosynthetic pathways, sources and methods of obtaining new potentially usable natural compounds via biotechnology and field production.

Systematic aspects of natural toxic substances, basics of forensic toxicology, use of analytic and other methods in forensic analysis of natural substances (toxicology and forensic botany), biochemical principles of natural compounds activity (incl. xenobiochemistry, pathobiochemistry).

Questions for the entrance examination will be selected individually from the list in accordance with the submitted doctoral project (focus of Doctoral thesis).

English language exam for English language knowledge assessment (C1 at least).  

Conditions of Admission

  1. Admission to Doctoral studies is conditioned by successful completion of a Master´s study programme.
  2. Successful passed the entrance exam.

Additional Conditions for Bonus Points (e.g. Practice)

  • Successfully completed study in the Master's program in pharmaceutical natural sciences, agricultural or chemical profile (rated 2 points).
  • Diploma thesis at a high level developed on workplaces corresponding with profile of this board (rated 3 points).
  • Indication of the supposed training center and the approval of a specific supervisor with the management of the planned doctoral project (rated max. 5 points).

Criteria for the Evaluation Exams

  1. Professional knowledge level - reviewed on answers to questions stated in General content of entrance exam (max. up to 10 points)
  2. Submitted doctoral project – evaluation of project complexity, modern methodological approaches to solution, and the continuity of the project on topics already discussed by the Subject Area Board (max. up to 10 points)

The minimum admission limit is 20 points.

The Dean decides to accept the applicant(s) who have fulfilled the conditions of the admission procedure and, according to the number of points achieved, ranked in the order corresponding to the predetermined number of accepted applicants for the particular program.


3. Framework Study Plan

Study obligations

Student enrolls in at least 5 subjects according its study specialization, including English exam. The state exam is an extra exam:

  1. English language
    Including terminology in the field of research specialization, ability to communicate on the scientific topic; preparation of CV and application for professional intership.
  2. Biotechnological processes in the production of phatopharmaceuticals and nutraceutics
    Application of microorganism in the production of phytopharmaceutics, and nutraceutics
  3. Pharmacognosy
    Secondary metabolites of microorganisms, fungi and higher plants, which are used in the production of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals
  4. Food Chemistry
    Primary and secondary metabolites found in foods of algae, fungi and plant origin.
  5. Chemistry of natural products
    Isolation of secondary metabolites from algae, fungi, and plants, determination of their structure, stability, systematice of secondary metabolites, and preparation of semi-syntetic derivatives.
  6. Pharmaceutical-clinical aspects of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceutics
    Interactions of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceutics with administered drugs in controlled pharmacotherapy, interactions with food in terms of expected outcomes of therapy in case of chronic diseases.
  7. Methods of analysis of natural products
    Analysis of natural products by diffrent analytical methods in terms of determination of the content of active and undesirable substances and counterfeiting.
  8. Nutrigenomics
    Gene expression by primary food ingredients and metabolites of algae, fungi and higher plants, mainly secondray metabolites (from fruits, vegetables, snacks and medicinal plants).
  9. Legal aspects of nutraceutics
    Legal aspect of nutraceutics in Czech Republic and EU on a commercial scale harmonization with EU law, marketing.
  10. Rational production of phytopharmaceuticals nad nutraceutics
    Technological aspects of creation of rational preparations of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceutics.
  11. Special human physiology and biochemistry
    Physiology of digestion, energy balance of organism, development of skeletal muscles, physiology of stress, influencing of mental processes by food, influnencing of organism development by nutritional components, aging processes, development of chronic diseases. Pathology of mentioned processes.
  12. Systematics of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceutics
    Biological effect of raw materials of various origis (see food chemistry).
  13. Toxicity of natural substances
    Toxicity of metabolites of plants, and degradation products.

Participation on conferences is planed from the 2nd year of study, after English exam.

Publication activity requirements

During study, students are obliged to published at least 2 reserch papers in journal with IF (IF shoul be higher then 0.8) One of the paper must be co-authored as first author., and must be of experimental character. Alternatively, only one first-author publication may be published in a journal with IF > 5/ or in the first decile.

Basen on the profile of study program the manuscripts should be published in following reserach journals:

  • isolation and evaluation of secondary metabolites (Archives of Pharmacal Research, Fitoterapia, Chemico-Biological Interactions, Chemistry and Biodiversity, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, Journal of Natural Products, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Molecules, Natural Product Communications, Pharmacognosy Magazine, Phytochemistry Letters, Phytochemistry, Phytomedicine, Phytotherapy Research, Planta Medica etc.)
  • analysis of natural materials and their products (Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Biomedical Chromatography, Food Analytical Methods, Food Chemistry, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, Journal of Separation Science, Talanta),
  • nutraceutics (Biology and Medicine, Current Trends in Nutraceuticals, Journal of Food and Nutritional Disorders, Journal of Nutraceuticals and Food Science, Zeitschrift fuer Orthomolekulare Medizin).

Requirements for completing internships

During the guided research preparation i tis necessary to complete professional (at least 3 months) intership at a suitable foreign university (outside Slovakia), preferably according to the topic of the doctoral thesis of the SP. Intership is obligatory part of ISP.

Students whose dissertation is concentrated on pharmaceutical-nutraceutical aspects are also expected to have short-time intership (1 month) at some of nutraceutics-producing companies with whom the Faculty of Pharmacy has a research contract of cooperation.

Other study obligations

During doctoral study the student is obliged to actively participate in at least one international and one national  scientific conference in the field of study. The results should be presented in form of poster or short communication. The topic of conference must be connected with natural products and their biological activity, and nutraceuticals.

In the case of international conferences, students will mainly attend events with international participation of experts organized by renowned scientific societies such as:

  • Association Francophone pour l’Enseignement et la Recherche en Pharmacognosie (AFERP),
  • European Nutraceutical Association (ENA),
  • Phytochemical Society of Europe (PSE),
  • Society of Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research (SNPNPR),
  • The American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP),
  • The European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP).

In the case of  conferences in Czech Republic, the events should be primarily organized by:
The Czech Pharmaceutical and Medical Society, Czech Chemical Society and Society of Nutrition.

It is also possible to involve students in undergraduate education (practical classes).

Dissertation themes

  • Examples of successfully defended dissertations
    • Amaryllidaceae alkaloids of montanine type and their derivatives as potential drugs.
    • Amaryllidaceae alkaloids of genus Narcissus and their biological activity.
    • Alkaloids of genus Hippeastrum (Amaryllidaceae): isolation, identification, biological activity
    • Alkaloids of Zephyranthes citrina (Amaryllidaceae): isolation, identification, biological activity.
    • Alkaloids from Vinca minor L. and their biological activity.
  • Themes of defended dissertations - Thesis repository
  • List of current doctoral dissertation themes

State Doctoral Examination

The exam is divided into two parts:
1)   Student describe in short the topics of doctoral thesis, the results obtained and the plan
       of workthat will be carried out till the end of doctoral studies.
2)   On the basis of these informations, the examination board approaches questions that
       shoul be related to the student´s work, but in broader context.

Syllabus of the doctoral state exam: Pharmacognosy and nutraceutics:

  1. Biosynthesis of secondary metabolites (primary and secondary metabolism, basic methods used for study of biosynthetic pathways)
  2. Post-biosynthetic changes and accumulation of secondary metabolites in plant tissues (changes in secondary metabolite content during ontogenesis, fluctuations in substances concent during the diurnal cycle, oxidative changes in secondary metabolites, secretion and storage of secondary metabolites)
  3. Enzymatic processes in the production of secondary metabolites
  4. Methods for isolation of secondary metabolites and methods of their analysis
  5. Biological and chemical methods of screening of plant extracts
  6. Therapeutic potential of plant metabolites
  7. Control methods and legislation of medicinal plants
  8. Medicinal drugs as a source of drugs
  9. Carbohydrates I: chemical aspects of import a mon- and oligosacharides
  10. Carbohydrates II: polysacharides and drugs containing them
  11. Carbohydrates III: Aminoglycans and glycosaminoglycans
  12. Atypical amino acids and proteins
  13. Plant lectins
  14. Lipids
  15. Isoprenoids
  16. Monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes
  17. Iridoids
  18. Triterpene and steroids
  19. Tetraterpenes
  20. Phenolic compounds
  21. Flavonoids
  22. Tannins
  23. Floroglucinol derivatives
  24. Quinone-type compounds
  25. Quinone-type compounds
  26. Alklaoids
  27. Secondary metabolites of plants as a part of food
  28. Nutraceutics
  29. Secondary metabolites based on 2-methy-buta-1,3-diene units as nutraceutics I.
  30. Secondary metabolites based on 2-methy-buta-1,3-diene units as nutraceutics II.
  31. Secondary metabolites derived from shikimic acid I.
  32. Secondary metabolites derived from shikimic acid II.
  33. Secondary metabolies derived from amino acid metabolism
  34. Vitamins
  35. Minerals and trace elements
  36. Clinical aspects of phytopharmaceuticals and nutraceutics

4. Human Resources

Subject Area Board

Subject Area Board Chair and study program guarantor

  • prof. Ing. Lucie Cahlíková, Ph.D.

Members of Subject Area Board

  • doc. Ing. Karel Cejpek, Ph.D.
  • doc. PharmDr. Jakub Chlebek, Ph.D.
  • doc. PharmDr. Lucie Chocholoušová Havlíková, Ph.D.
  • doc. PharmDr. Daniel Jun, Ph.D.
  • prof. Ing. Ladislav Kokoška, Ph.D.
  • doc. Ingr. Irena Kolouchová, Ph.D.
  • doc. PharmDr. Renata Kubínová, Ph.D.
  • doc. MUDr. Otto Kučera, Ph.D.
  • prof. PharmDr. Přemysl Mladěnka, Ph.D.
  • prof. PharmDr. Pavel Mučaji, Ph.D.
  • prof. RNDr. Lubomír Opletal, CSc.
  • prof. PharmDr. Petr Pávek, Ph.D.
  • prof. PharmDr. Emil Rudolf, Ph.D.
  • doc. PharmDr. Tomáš Siatka, CSc.
  • prof. RNDr. Dalibor Šatínský, Ph.D.
  • prof. PharmDr. Karel Šmejkal, Ph.D.
  • doc. PharmDr. Lenka Tůmová, CSc.

Other supervisors other than the members of the Subject Are Board

  • RNDr. Václav Bažata
  • PharmDr. Anna Hošťálková, Ph.D.

5. Research Groups

Research groups lead by supervisors of doctoral study program Pharmacognosy and Nutraceuticals

Pharmaceutical-analytical evaluation of drugs and other biologically active substances

Analytical Chemistry Group
Group leader: prof. RNDr. Dalibor Šatínský, Ph.D.

Study of drug effects in experimentally induced pathological conditions

Research group of Cardiovascular and respirator pharmacology and toxicology
Group leader: prof. PharmDr. Přemysl Mladěnka, Ph.D.
Laboratory of cardiovascular pharmacology | Laboratory of respiratory pharmacology

Study of secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical important plants, their biological activity and toxicity

Secondary metabolites of plants as potential drugs
Group leader: prof. Ing. Lucie Cahlíková, Ph.D.

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