Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research

The Centre of the Region Haná is a collaborative project of the Faculty of Science at Palacký University and the Olomouc branches of the Institute of Experimental Botany at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Crop Research Institute.

More than 130 scientists, 20 % of whom are foreign, carry out research in the following key programmes:

  • Protein Biochemistry and Proteomics: Preparation of production lines of bacteria and yeast cells for production of recombinant enzymes and antibodies utilised for example in food quality and purity control; study of protein interactions, identification and quantification of proteins in biological formulas
  • Plant Bioenergetics: Study of the photosynthetic apparatus of plants including the impact of physiological and stress conditions; investigation of regulatory pathways in plant cells.
  • Chemical Biology: Targeted development, synthesis, and testing of compounds derived from plant hormones with significant biological activity.
  • Plant Biotechnology: Enhancement of utility properties in plants, especially by means of targeted modulation of hormonal metabolism regulation.
  • Cell and Developmental Plant Biology:
  • Plant Genetics and Genomics: Acquiring new findings and development of methods and materials for cultivation of new generation crops and fodder plants by means of molecular methods.
  • Genetic Resources of Vegetables and Special Crops: Collection and evaluation of genetic resources of vegetables, medicinal, aromatic and culinary plants and fungi and identification of materials suitable for preparation of pharmaceutically significant compounds.
  • Metabolomics: Development of new methods for identification and quantification of biologically active compounds (such as hormones and antioxidants)

Research commences at the molecular level and is finalised in field experiments. The achievements of the Centre include improvement of useful properties of barley by means of genetic modification. Transgenic barley is further used in molecular farming. The Centre also obtained a U.S. patent for the newly prepared compound INCYDE derived from plant hormones, which is supposed to increase crop yield and has met with interest in the commercial sector. The research team led by Prof Jaroslav Doležel made a substantial contribution to the international project of wheat genome sequencing. Plant biologists and cultivators thus obtained a tool for cultivation of a cereal grain which is the second main food crop in the world. Professor Doležel, Scientific Director of the Centre, was awarded the Czech Ministry of Education Award for Outstanding Results in Research, Experimental Development and Innovations.

The Centre scientists employ technologies and devices that are unparalleled in the Czech Republic and even quite rare in European research institutions. They participate in several international projects and have proven success in obtaining national grants.

One of the main goals of the Centre is the effective transfer of the results of science and research into the commercial sector. The CRH has been a bridge between the academic and commercial sector, not only in agriculture, but also in pharmacy and other areas. Other goals of the Centre are the protection of their research and development by intellectual property protection, and also enhancing the competitiveness of regional businesses. Czech companies are in the main focus, however their cooperation includes a number of international partners and global institutions.

The Centre also participates in the education of students at the Faculty of Science of Palacký University in Olomouc. Researchers at the Centre are responsible for the curricula of the study programmes, teaching students and supervising Bachelor’s and Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.

The establishing, equipment, and realisation of the Centre was supported by the European Union and the national budget to the amount of €30 million.