Viktor Krchňák, a research professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 2003, has recently become director of a new research group at Palacky University in the Czech Republic, expanding a collaborative effort that has brought four Czech doctoral candidates to Notre Dame in recent years. The research will be dedicated to high throughput organic synthesis of heterocyclic compounds, an important area in drug discovery. A grant of more than $1 million from the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports will support the group, which will include 10 to 12 doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows, for three years.
The group will work closely with a new Biomedicine for Regional Development and Human Resources (BioMedReg) initiative funded by the European Union at Palacky University. The project’s six research programs, covering aspects of human health from diagnosis to therapy, includes one in medicinal chemistry focused on the synthesis of new organic compounds that could lead to drug development.
The Notre Dame-Palacky connection started when Jan Hlaváč, head of the Department of Organic Chemistry at Palacky University, heard Krchňák lecture at the Blue Danube Symposium on Heterocyclic Chemistry in the Czech Republic. Hlaváč later arranged for a postdoctoral fellow, Miroslav Soural, to work in Krchňák’s laboratory at Notre Dame. “He spent one year here,” Krchňák said, adding that three other students have visited in five years and he hopes the exchange can be expanded.