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Organisation structure

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics

Characteristics of the department

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics is an educational, scientific and research workplace. It provides the education in chemical, biochemical and biophysical obligatory as well as compulsory optional subjects for students of all the study programmes with the exception of Cynology and Market and Food Quality. Scientific and research activity of this workplace is focused to the biochemical research with the application of results in veterinary medicine, toxicology and pharmacy. The study of the properties of biochemicaly active substances, their isolation and analysis is included in the scope of the department research as well.

History

Organization and teaching activities

Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics was established in 1949 as a part of the University of Veterinary Medicine (originally School of Veterinary Medicine). School of Veterinary Medicine began its first academic year in 1949/50 consisting of four institutes. One of them, Institute of Veterinary Chemistry, was directed by Michal Bartík, DVM and was situated in pavilion XI and XII. Seven departments were established at the School of Veterinary Medicine since 23rd October 1950 including Department of Chemistry and Physiology directed by Michal Bartík, DVM. This department comprised four institutes – Institute of Veterinary Chemistry, Institute of Physiology, Institute of Nutrition and Division of Physics. The department provided teaching of four subjects – Veterinary Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, Nutrition and Dietetics. In January 1952, Institute of Veterinary Chemistry moved to reconstructed pavilion IV where it was situated up to 2010.

The development of School of Veterinary Medicine was determined by the establishing of further workplaces – departments that were divided into institutes. In 1953, twelve departments already existed in School of Veterinary Medicine. Among them, Department of Veterinary Chemistry directed by Michal Bartík, DVM. It was divided into three institutes – Institute of General Chemistry (Karol Zwick, Ing), Institute of Biochemistry (Michal Bartík, DVM), Division of Physics (Milan Rudič, Ing).

1st January 1957 the whole department was renamed to Department of Chemistry and Physics. It provided teaching of General Medical Chemistry, Veterinary Biochemistry, Medical Physics and in 1952 to 1957 also Veterinary Toxicology. A reconstruction of a part of pavilion IV for needs of a newly establishing division (radioisotops) took place in 1960 to 1962. Since 1964, the whole workplace was reorganized into Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Toxicology. Meanwhile, in 1959, three divisions were established: Division of General Medical Chemistry, Division of Biochemistry and Division of Toxicology. In academic year 1960/61, Division of Radioisotopes was established as well. In 1963, Medical Physics was separated from the union of original workplaces of the department and was added to another department. Since academic year 1967/68, teaching of Agrochemistry was affiliated to the subjects covered by the department.

The Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics provided teaching of following subjects since 1959 (in both regular and external forms): Biochemistry, General Medical Chemistry and Toxicology. Since 1963/64, the department also provided teaching of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry for the students of study programme of Faculty of Management and Economy of School of Agriculture in Nitra. During academic years 1964/65 to 1967/68 these subjects as well as Biochemistry and Radioisotopes were taught in husbandary programme. Department also provided teaching of chemistry subjects for students of the external study forms of Faculty of Management and Economy of School of Agriculture in Nitra. The teaching was provided by Center of Consultation established by School of Veterinary Medicine.

In 1971, the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Toxicology fused with the Institute of Pathological Physiology forming a new workplace – Department of Pathological Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology with professor Koloman Boďa, DVM, DrSc as a director. This department consisted of the Institute of Pathological Physiology and the Institute of Biochemistry and Toxicology. Institute of Biochemistry and Toxicology was later (1st April 1976) divided into Institute of Biochemistry and Agrochemistry, and Institute of Toxicology and Medical Chemistry. The teaching of the following subjects was provided by the department since 1969: Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Toxicology, and since 1975/76 also Chemistry for students of regular study of Management and Economy Faculty of VŠP Nitra. Following subjects were taught at the department since 1976/77: Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry for students in the study programme Food Hygiene in its external form. Since 1977/78 these subjects were also taught for students of Faculty of Management and Economy of School of Agriculture in Nitra at the Consulting Center in the School of Veterinary Medicine in Košice.

In 1986, the department was renamed back to that of 1964 – Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Toxicology and was directed by professor Štefan Ivanko, Ing, DrSc. It consisted from two divisions: Division of Biochemistry, Agrochemistry and Radiobiology, and Division of Chemistry and Toxicology. The department provided teaching of Biochemistry, Food Chemistry, Principles of Agricultural Chemization, General Chemistry, Toxicology.

In December 1989, a change of the workers in leading positions of the department took place and in 1991 the name of the workplace was changed into Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics with corresponding structural change – separation of Toxicology and its addition to another department and the addition of Biophysics to the newly created department. Professor Ján Blahovec, Ing, PhD became the head of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics. It provided the teaching of Chemistry, Biophysics and Biochemistry for Slovak students, and since 1991 for foreign students in English as well.

These divisions became a basis to establish Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics that continued in its work as one unit. Since 1994 professor Ivan Rosival, DVM, PhD was the head of the Department being exchanged by associated professor Ladislav Vaško, DVM, PhD in 1997.

In March 2002, Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biochemistry was formed with assoc. prof. Ladislav Vaško, DVM, PhD in its head and the two divisions Institute of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Institute of Biology in its structure. In 2005 to 2007, professor František Lešník, DVM, DrSc was the head of this department.

Since 1st September 2007, department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics was newly reorganized with Jozef Sokol, Ing. PhD. in its head. It consisted from three institutes – Institute of Pharmaceutical and Medical Chemistry, Institute of Biochemistry and Institute of Biophysics and Biomathematics. When the department moved to the newly reconstructed building of former Institute of Experimental Veterinary Medicine in 2010, it already was constituted as department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics. It consisted from four institutes – Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Institute of Medical Chemistry, Institute of Biochemistry and Institute of Biophysics being headed by associated professor Zuzana Kostecká, DVM, PhD since 1st September 2011. In 2020 (1st September 2020), all of four institutes fused into one unit – Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics. In this form of structural organization it works with associated professor Zuzana Kostecká, DVM, PhD in its head to the present time.

Scientific and research activities and medical laboratory examinations

The scientific and research activity of the department began since its establishment when a division for determination of poisonings of domestic animals began its analytical activities framing the whole territory of Slovakia. It significantly supported further teaching as well as scientific and research work of the department. Later, during 1959/68, the cases of poisonings were also worked out at the level of forensic toxicological expertizes.

In the first decade, scientific and research activity of the department was focused on proteins of blood sera of domestic animals, sex hormones and laboratory determination (diagnostics) of pregnancy as well as research in the field of poisonings of animals by chemical poisons. In the second decade, the activity of the department was characterized by the study of metabolism and detoxification of nitrates and nitrites in the domestic animals, study of steroid hormone metabolism, enzymatic diagnostics and treatment in the veterinary practice as well as the study of ion-exchangers as a detoxification tool during the poisonings of ruminants by ammonia and urea. In the third decade, the utilization of non-protein nitrogen in the organism of domestic animals was studied. As a result, new procedures for determination of aminopeptidases and other proteolytic enzymes using chromogenic substrates were developed. The fourth decade of the department was connected with the study of protein and peptide hydrolysis, the identification of its products and the influence of antinutrients on the hydrolysis of proteins. Using amino acid composition and its potential in diet in relation to energy metabolism on productive health of pigs and quality of the carcase product were studied as well. In the fifth decade, the biotransformation of xenobiotics by the ruminal microbial ecosystem and by organism of the ruminants itself was investigated including the study of antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes as potential biomarkers of pesticides and xenobiotics effect in domestic animals. The scientific and research activity of the department was also focused to the study of low-molecular-weight growing factors in blood and body liquids of ruminants. In the sixth decade, the study of changes of antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes in relation to the polution of  living environment as well as possible positive effect of antioxidants on domestic animals continued. The research work also included an interest in the influence of polyunsaturated fatty acids on the health, production indicators, biochemical and immunological state, disease prevention and an increase of dietetic values of the livestock products.