15. 03. 2017

On Monday, 13 March, Prof. Jan Svoboda (Institute of Molecular Genetics of the CAS) died, who was one of the world-renowned scientists in the field of retrovirology. In him, the Czech scientific community loses one of its most important figures and a distinctive personality with exceptional authority and personal ties to the scientific elite in the fields of virology, genetics and oncology.

The early works of Prof. Svoboda on the biology of the Rous Sarcoma Virus (RSV) came out already at the beginning of the 1960s, which in the true sense of the word is the pillar of knowledge on retroviruses. Another circle of the works by Jan Svoboda concern retroviral neoplastic transformation and retroviral oncogenes. A number of viral strains and cell lines were created in his laboratory that are still widely used by the international retrovirological community. His research has fundamentally contributed to the understanding of the replication cycle of retroviruses and the definition of a provirus – retrovirus permanently integrated into the DNA of the host. The crucial importance of his work has been appreciated also by a number of later Nobel Prize laureates.

For his outstanding results of his scientific work, he won a wide range of important awards including the State Award of the CSSR for Science, the Prix Lacassagne, the G. Mendel Silver Plaque, the J.E. Purkyně Honorary Medal for Merit in the Biological Sciences, the J. Hlávka Medal, National Prize of the Government Czech Head and the Prize Neuron. Jan Svoboda was a founding member of the Learned Society of the CR, a member of the European Organization for Molecular Biology (EMBO) and a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.