The Department of Physical Chemistry is divided into five scientific groups focusing on research in various areas of application of physicochemical methods.
Applied Physical Chemistry in Nanomaterial Chemistry
The specialized focus connects the internal structure of material systems across a wide range of input materials in terms of phase composition (gel systems, colloidal dispersions, micellar systems, nanocomposites, interfacial surfaces, etc.), chemical composition (biopolymer systems, synthetic polymers, mineral inorganic systems, API substances, composite materials, etc.), and final shapes (e.g., foamed porous systems, solid substances, laminated layers, etc.) with resulting physicochemical, biological, and material properties such as strength, flexibility, hardness, fluidity, brittleness, toughness, adhesiveness, biocompatibility, wettability, surface topology, surface energy distribution, etc.
The activities of the group members also have a broad international reach through collaborations with research groups abroad (U Birmingham, U New Orleans, PAN Krakow, STU Bratislava, U Ghent, and others). A significant part of the activity is also connected to practical industrial research, currently implementing the application EP 3 034 693 B1 (2018) in the production process. In the research field, the group is involved in a number of projects, both applied and fundamental research.
Prof. Ing. Lubomír Lapčík, Ph.D. – head of the group
Mgr. Jakub Vlček, Ph.D.
MSc. Yousef Murtaja (Ph.D.student)
Mgr. David Řepka (Ph.D. student)
Nanomaterials for Biological and Medical Applications
The research group specializes in the synthesis, characterization, and study of physicochemical and biological properties of nanostructured materials. The research is primarily focused on the controlled synthesis of biologically active nanomaterials with targeted morphology, primarily for medical diagnostics and therapy. Such nanomaterials include noble metal nanoparticles such as silver and gold, which, due to their unique chemical, physical, optical, and biological properties, can be utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of various chronic diseases such as cancer and infectious diseases. Specific research directions include the synthesis of plasmonic silver and gold nanoparticles and their utilization as nano-biosensors for the detection of specific substances (markers) associated with severe diseases, as well as their use as nano-therapeutics for the elimination of tumor cells or pathogenic bacteria through light-assisted photodynamic or photothermal therapy.
The research focus of the group is closely linked and connected to collaborations with specialized departments such as the Institute of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Biophysics, and Institute of Pharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine, Palacký University, as well as the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Hradec Králové. Additionally, the group collaborates with international institutions such as Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria) and the University of Pisa (Italy). Within scientific research, the members of the research group actively participate in solving grant projects (Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Health) focused on the research of preparation and application of silver nanoparticles in in vitro and in vivo therapy of infectious diseases caused by resistant pathogens.
Mgr. Lucie Hochvaldová (Ph.D. student)
Mgr. Antónia Kurillová (Ph.D. student)
Nanomaterials for catalytic and spectroscopic applications
The main objective of the scientific research activities of the group is to connect the application potential with the preparation of nanomaterials and their subsequent utilization in catalytic, photocatalytic, and environmental areas.
The syntheses of nanomaterials, including composite materials, are primarily focused on carbon-based materials (graphene oxide, carbon nitride), iron oxide nanoparticles, and other compounds that are used either as standalone precursors or modified by nanoparticles (Ag, Au, Cu, Ni, Se), doped with various elements (N, P, B), or enriched with functional groups. The aim is to obtain functional materials for specific applications with high application potential.
Within the research group, specific materials are investigated for their catalytic activity in gas and liquid phases, such as the hydrogenation of CO2 and its conversion into higher hydrocarbons, as well as their photocatalytic potential, i.e., the ability to photodegrade pollutants in the environment (e.g., the removal of organic compounds and microplastics). The field of heterogeneous photocatalysis is closely related to “green” hydrogen production and nitrogen fixation from the environment.
Another research focus is the preparation of plasmonic metal nanoparticles, their composites, and nanostructured surfaces for spectroscopic applications, particularly for the development of sensors designed to detect low concentrations of biologically significant substances (e.g., biomarkers for neurological or other diseases) using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
The research activities are supported by various collaborations, particularly with the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, the Faculty of Science at Ostrava University, the University of Pisa, and the University of Silesia, specifically with the MacroSynth group in Katowice.
Ing. Arkadii Bikbashev, M.Sc. (Ph.D. student)
Mgr. Aneta Bužková (Ph.D. studentka)
Mgr. Martina Kajábová (Ph.D. studentka)
Mgr. Ing. Radka Pocklanová (Ph.D. studentka)
Mgr. Karolína Simkovičová (Ph.D. studentka)
Mgr. Tomáš Stryšovský (Ph.D. student)
Mgr. Barbora Štefková (Ph.D. studentka)
Ing. Adéla Žižlavská, Ph.D. (Ph.D. studentka)
The research group focuses on chemical data in the context of biological systems.
The investigated areas include structural bioinformatics of proteins and the application of computational methods of molecular modeling for designing the structural activity of new small molecules for specific biological effects.
Another focus of the group is the development and operation of chemical databases and tools. The MolMeDB database collects physicochemical data on interactions of small molecules with membranes (https://molmedb.upol.cz/). The ChannelsDB database and the MOLEonline tool are dedicated to studying tunnels in proteins (https://mole.upol.cz/).
The group collaborates with other research groups within Palacký University on compound design (Assoc. Prof. Brulíková, KOCH; Assoc. Prof. Kryštof, Assoc. Prof. Jorda, KEB; Prof. Strnad, Assoc. Prof. Novák, LRR), participation in the ELIXIR CZ infrastructure for biological data (Assoc. Prof. Hajdúch, Dr. Polishchuk, Dr. Vrbková, UMTM), mapping visualization of chemical data (Assoc. Prof. Burian, KGI), and research infrastructures within the university alliance Aurora (Assoc. Prof. Nétek, KGI). Additionally, the group collaborates with external groups, such as in the ELIXIR CZ consortium for protein visualizations (LiteMol, Mol*, 2Dprots, Overprot, ACC, Alphacharges; Assoc. Prof. Svobodová, Dr. Sehnal, CEITEC MUNI); chemical data interoperability – IDSM (Prof. Vondrášek, Dr. Galgonek, UOCHB); data management – DataStewardshipWizard (Assoc. Prof. Pergl, ČVUT); Alphafoldology (Dr. Novotný, Faculty of Science, Charles University). Furthermore, the group collaborates on the development of new liposomal drug carriers (Prof. Štěpánek, VŠCHT) utilizing knowledge of substance-membrane interactions.
Mgr. Jakub Juračka
Mgr. Martin Šrejber (Ph.D. student)
Mgr. Michaela Jaroměřská (Ph.D. studentka, rodičovská)
Mgr. Kateřina Storchmannová (Ph.D. studentka)
Mgr. Dominik Martinát (Ph.D. student)
Mgr. Anna Špačková (Ph.D. studentka)
Bc. Nina Kadášová (Mgr. studentka)
Bc. Jan Macháň (Mgr. student)
Jan Urbánek (Bc. student)
Computer modeling of biostructures
The group focuses on studying the structure and dynamics of biomolecules using computer modeling methods, particularly molecular dynamics and partially quantum chemistry methods.
The main research interest is directed towards less common (non-canonical) but intriguing forms of nucleic acids, such as guanine quadruplexes (G-quadruplexes), Z-DNA, and i-motif DNA. Another important direction is the study of nucleic acid interactions with proteins, both specific (e.g., regulatory proteins) and nonspecific.
The group’s research also includes the development of empirical potentials for molecular dynamics of nucleic acids (http://ffol.upol.cz). Our potentials are used worldwide and are identified by the abbreviation “OL,” representing Olomouc, the place where they were developed.
Computer modeling often provides a clearer and more detailed view of processes occurring in biomolecules compared to experimental methods, although limited to relatively short time scales due to the computational power of current supercomputers. However, with the unstoppable increase in computer performance, computational chemistry methods are becoming increasingly powerful and are being applied in practical applications, such as rational drug design.
We collaborate with several international institutions, including the University of Barcelona in Spain, CNRS in Paris, the University of Utah in the USA, and domestic institutions such as the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry in Prague, the Institute of Biophysics in Brno, and the University of Ostrava.