Institute of Entomology: Mission Statement
The Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, v. v. i. (public research institution), pursues research on taxonomic, genetic, physiological, molecular and ecological levels utilizing awide range of model insect species and model ecosystems. The Institute was founded within the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Prague in 1962 by a merger of the Laboratory of Entomology and the Department of Insect Pathology. In 1985 the Institute was relocated to České Budějovice in South Bohemia. The Institute originally focused on applied entomology and has generated more than 150 patents applicable in agriculture and forestry. They have been primarily focused on production of bioagents for the pest control, introduction of pheromones for pest signalling, development and application of juvenile hormone analogues, etc. The discovery of the immunosuppressive cyclosporine was a very important side-product of research on entomopathogenic fungi. Other practical contributions were made in the area of nature conservation and environment protection. Recently, a variety of insect species is being used as relatively simple and inexpensive models to unravel fundamental biological processes at the genetic and molecular level. The present staff of more than 100 researchers includes specialists ranging from molecular biologists to field ecologists. Research is supported by more than 40 grants and annual scientific output counts over 100 papers in renowned international journals.
1. Molecular and genetic mechanisms of morphogenesis
· chromosome structure and function, telomeres, sex chromosomes
· regulation of gene expression and differentiation
· transcription factors, hormone action
2. Insect physiology and developmental biology
· regulation of development and metabolism
· growth factors
· analytical biochemistry
3. Neurohormonal regulation of biorhythms and life cycles
· interactions between environmental factors and endogenous rhythms
· molecular mechanisms and genetic control of circadian rhythmicity
· mechanisms of insect adaptations to seasonal and long-term changes of climate
4. Patterns of biodiversity and their origin
· insect taxonomy
· molecular evolution
· evolutionary and population genetics
5. Ecology of insect populations and communities
· the structure of insect communities in temperateand tropical ecosystems
· population dynamics and community assembly of aquatic insects and other invertebrates
· mathematical modelling of ecological processes
6. Applied entomology
· ecology of entomopathogenic nematodes, their hosts and symbionts
· biorational pesticides, pathogens, predators and parasitoids
· environmental aspects of the use of genetically modified crops.
The Institute of Entomology publishes the international scientific periodical European Journal of Entomology (http://www.eje.cz) which accepts contributions covering the whole field of general, experimental, systematic and applied entomology.
Facilities and capabilities
The laboratories of the Institute of Entomology are well equipped with instruments to perform a vast array of methods, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization, laser scanning confocal microscopy, in vivo bioluminescence imaging, immunohistochemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology including DNA sequence analysis and gene expression, insect transgenesis, and facilities for tissue and cell cultures. The Institute of Entomology’s research activities are supplemented by equipment available in other research institutes within the Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v. v. i., in České Budějovice, e.g. electron microscopy facility and DNA sequencing core facility. The Institute also possesses insect rearing facility and it has been approved for work with genetically modified organisms (GMO accreditation). The Institute of Entomology maintains laboratory colonies of model insect species as well as cultures of insect cell lines. Extensive collections of primary types and voucher specimens of insects and some other invertebrates (spiders and entomopathogenic nematodes) are also deposited at the Institute of Entomology. The most important collections include Ephemeroptera (nearly 1 000 000 specimens, 600 species, primary types of more than 80 species) and Sternorrhyncha: Aphidoidea (about 120 000 specimens, 1 500 species, primary types of nearly 100 species).
The Institute of Entomology maintains a close relationship with the Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. The staff of the Institute is engaged in teaching activities in BSc, MSc and PhD programs at the University. The practical research experience and preparation of theses of undergraduate and graduate students of the Faculty of Science are facilitated by the established research programs of the Institute. The Institute endorses doctoral programs in entomology, molecular and cellular biology and genetics at the Faculty of Science of the University of South Bohemia. Since 1962, the Institute has educated more than 150 PhDs. The Institute of Entomology offers opportunities for postdoctoral and residency training in entomology, molecular and cell biology, developmental biology and genetics. The staff also organizes international training courses and its researchers participate as lecturers in entomology courses abroad.
An integral part of the Institute’s activities is the organization of scientific events such as international symposia and workshops (over 30 international meetings since 1962). Scientists of the Institute provide expert opinions to national and international agencies, professional societies and grant agencies. Researchers of the Institute also serve as members of editorial and advisory boards of international scientific periodicals, in addition to being referees of peer-reviewed journals.