Faculty of Mathematics, Physics
and Informatics
Comenius University Bratislava

Biophysics

Doctoral Degree Program

Field:

Physics

Form:

full time / external

Usual duration:

full time form 4 years, external form 5 years

Language of courses:

English

Program director:

prof. RNDr. Melánia Babincová, DrSc.

Co-Guarantors:

prof. RNDr. Libuša Šikurová, CSc.
prof. RNDr. Tibor Hianik, DrSc.
doc. RNDr. Iveta Waczulíková, PhD.
doc. Mgr. Richard Kollár, PhD.

Related study programs: master's degree programs Biophysics and Chemical Physics and Biomedical Physics

Description of the Study Program

Graduates of the third level of university studies of the study programme Biophysics master the extensive mathematical apparatus and experimental and theoretical methods of physics to solve complex problems in the field of living systems. The study allows the graduate to gain a detailed overview of a wide range of experimental and theoretical methods in the field of biophysics as well as related fields; acquires deep theoretical and methodological knowledge of general and molecular biophysics at the level of the current state of research in the world; apply the acquired knowledge in practice, acquire the ability to develop its own discipline, find application in various fields of science, research, industry and services in both the public and private sectors. The graduate will further acquire additional knowledge, skills and skills: he can prepare projects and submit them to grant agencies; be able to work scientifically and bring solutions to complex problems in the field of biophysics; be able to lead teams of scientific, research and development staff; will be able to follow the latest scientific and research trends in its own field; When designing methods and approaches, the graduate is aware of the ethical, legal and environmental aspects of the proposed way of solving the problem and applies them in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. It applies the principles of scientific work and connection: science - investigation - use in practice – protection.

Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science with very wide possibilities of applying its graduates in the field of research in institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and universities, and in other similar institutions in our country and abroad, as well as in the field of applied research in technology companies, as well as in ministries, state administration and in the private sector.

  • He masters scientific methods of biophysics, which he is able to creatively apply to solve a wide range of problems in the field of life sciences (physiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology and theoretical medicine, theoretical biology and medicine, immunology, biomaterials and bioinformatics).
  • He masters the methods and practical application of the latest interdisciplinary sciences in the fields of biology, nanotechnology and bioinformatic technologies.
  • Graduates of the field of biophysics scientifically research and bring original (original, own, creative) solutions to the established problems and have actively adopted the methodology of scientific work, scientific formulation of the problem, publication of the results of scientific research and their presentation at professional events.
  • He masters the principles of work in interdisciplinary collectives, the principles of scientific project creation and the principles of international scientific cooperation, allowing participation in scientific programmes within the European Research Area as well as making further development of the field of study and cooperation with practice conditional.

What to Expect

Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that applies approaches and methods traditionally used in physics to study biological phenomena. Biophysics covers all levels of biological organization, from molecular to living organisms. Biophysical research overlaps significantly with biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry, physiology, nanotechnology, bioengineering, computational biology, biomechanics, developmental biology and system biology. The term biophysics was originally coined by Karl Pearson in 1892. Other biological sciences also conduct research on the biophysical properties of living organisms, including molecular biology, cell biology, chemical biology, and biochemistries. Molecular biophysics typically deals with biological issues similar to those in biochemistry and molecular biology, trying to find the physical foundations of biomolecular phenomena. Scientists in this field are conducting research aimed at understanding the interactions between different cell systems, including interactions between DNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis, as well as how these interactions are regulated. A large number of techniques are used to answer these questions. Fluorescent imaging techniques are often used to visualize structures, as well as electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and small-angle scattering (SAS) with both X-rays and neutrons (SAXS/SANS). Protein dynamics can be observed by neutron spin echo spectroscopy. Conformational change in structure can be measured using techniques such as double polarization interferometry, circular dichroism, SAXS, and SANS. Direct manipulation of molecules using optical tweezers, or AFM, can also be used to monitor biological events where forces and distances are at the nanometer level. Molecular biophysicists often consider complex biological happenings to be systems of interacting entities that can be understood, for example, through statistical mechanics, thermodynamics and chemical kinetics. Using knowledge and experimental techniques from a wide range of disciplines, biophysicists are often able to directly observe, model, or even manipulate the structures and interactions of individual molecules or complexes of molecules. In addition to traditional (i.e. molecular and cellular) biophysical topics such as structural biology or enzyme kinetics, modern biophysics includes an extremely wide range of research, from bioelectronics to quantum biology involving both experimental and theoretical instruments. It is becoming increasingly common for biophysicists to use models and experimental techniques derived from physics, as well as mathematics and statistics, for larger systems such as tissues, organs, populations and ecosystems. Biophysical models are widely used in the study of electrical transmission in individual neurons, as well as in the analysis of nerve circuits in tissue and throughout the brain.

In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the study programme is composed of theoretical-methodological subjects and subjects leading to independent scientific work, the ability to formulate and solve scientific hypotheses, and the improvement of the ability to present their results in domestic and international scientific forums.

Graduates' Career Opportunities

Graduates of the study programme Biophysics are applicable:

  • medical facilities and clinics (programming and operation of medical technology, sensing, processing and evaluation of signals, participation in the development and improvement of physical therapy methods),
  • basic and applied research (domestic and international academic research and development centres),
  • specialised commercial laboratories, private research and development institutions in the field of health and pharmacy,
  • environmental facilities, veterinary institutes, sanitary stations, food control, criminalistic and expert institute
  • higher education institutions, Slovak Academy of Sciences 
  • pharmaceutical companies, commercial companies of medical technical equipment and laboratory equipment, manufacturing enterprises,
  • computing centers (data processing and analysis).
  • companies focused on the production and development of computer software and hardware and the provision of services

Doctoral Scholarships

Full-time doctoral students who have permanent residency in the European Union are entitled to receive a scholarship for the entire standard duration of their studies. The scholarships are paid starting on the date of enrollment. The scholarship is determined in accordance with the tables included in the Law no. 553/2003 Z.z. as follows: 

  • prior to completion of the qualification exam: 1025,50 EUR (6th class, 1st level)
  • after successful completion of the qualification exam: 1 194 EUR (7th class, 1st level)

Scholarships are not subject to taxes or other fees.

Doctoral studies are considered an equivalent to full time employment and in the majority of cases cannot be combined with another employment. Job holding applicants who intend to keep their job are advised to apply for the external (distance) form of doctoral studies. Doctoral students enrolled in the regular form are expected to participate in teaching activities such as conducting recitations or exam grading, in accordance with the needs of their corresponding departments.

List of Supervisors

RNDr. Mária Hajduková, PhD. (Astronomical Institute SAS)
doc. RNDr. Jozef Klačka, PhD.
doc. RNDr. Leonard Kornoš, PhD.
Dr. Alicia Lopéz Oramas (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias)
RNDr. Pavol Matlovič, PhD.
doc. RNDr. Juraj Tóth, PhD.

Thesis Topics for Academic Year 2024/2025

  • Monitoring of tryptophan metabolites in the urine of pediatric patients with neuropsychiatric diseases
    (supervisor: prof. RNDr. Libuša Šikurová, CSc., consultant: RNDr. Milan Zvarík, PhD.)
  • Study of the affinity interactions at surfaces from nanomaterials functionalized by DNA aptamers
    (supervisor: prof. RNDr. Tibor Hianik, DrSc., consultant: Mgr. Veronika Šubjaková, PhD., konzultant: Mgr. Sandro Spagnolo, PhD.) 
  • Investigation of the in vitro effect of nanoparticles based on dendrimers on rheological and hemocoagulation properties of blood
    (supervisor:doc. RNDr. Iveta Waczulíková, PhD.)
  • Impact and control of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) reactive chemical species on liquids and biological materials
    (supervisor: prof. RNDr. Zdenko Machala, DrSc., consultant: doc. RNDr. Mário Janda, PhD.)
  • Effect of prenatal stress on molecular mechanisms implicated in corticosteroidmonoamine interaction in the heart and brain
    (supervisor: Mgr. Marta Gaburjáková, PhD. - pre CBV SAV) 
  • Study of the protein nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery in the cancer treatment
    (supervisor: prof. RNDr. Tibor Hianik, DrSc., consultant: Mgr. Zuzana Garaiová, PhD.)
  • Inactivation pathways induced in bacteria and biofilms by cold atmospheric plasma
    (supervisor: doc. RNDr. Karol Hensel, PhD., consultant: prof. RNDr. Helena Bujdáková, CSc.)
  • Identification of chloride channel from cardiac tissue mitochondria
    (supervisor:: Mgr. Zuzana Ševčíková Tomášková, PhD. - pre CBV SAV) 
  • Cellular mechanisms of adverse cardiotoxic effects of selected antipsychotics
    (supervisor: Mgr. Zuzana Ševčíková Tomášková, PhD. - pre CBV SAV) •
  • Multifunctional magnetic nanostructures for applications in targeted chemotherapy and electromagnetic hyperthermia
    (supervisor: prof. RNDr. Melánia Babincová, DrSc.)