Organisation structure

Department of microbiology and immunology

Scientific research activity

Research activity in the field of microbiology is focused on the study of virulence factors of medically important microorganisms, including viruses, as well as on the problem of beneficial bacteria.

In the field of bacterial pathogens, the study is mainly focused on intestinal pathogens. In the field of bacterial diagnostics, research activity is also focused on the study of resistant bacteria and their detection in the food chain or in clinical samples. Studies in the field of beneficial bacteria focus on their biological and technological properties; on the elucidation of the mechanism of action of beneficial bacteria or their biologically active substances at the cellular level as well as at the level of the macro-organism; and on the study of the optimisation of the effect of beneficial bacteria.

In the field of viral pathogens, research activities are focused on prevalence studies of mosquito-borne (e.g. West Nile virus, Usutu virus and others) and tick-borne (e.g. tick-borne encephalitis virus, Kemerovo virus, Tribeč virus and others) arboviruses in animals. Virus isolates are genetically analysed and used for further studies. Recently, the interaction between the virus infection and the innate antiviral immunity is also the aim of the research activities.

Research activities in the field of immunology address the impact of beneficial bacteria and substances of natural origin on animal immunity and the gut microbiocenosis, particularly in the context of preventing infectious diseases without the use of antibiotics, with the aim of producing safe and high quality food for human consumption. At present, research focuses mainly on livestock species of increasing economic importance and breeding in the Slovak Republic, namely bees and fish.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology also includes a Laboratory of gnotobiology. Here, the research activities are focused on the study of biological and technological properties of beneficial bacteria and their bioactive products; elucidation of the mechanism of action of beneficial bacteria or other biologically active substances at the cellular level as well as at the level of the macro-organism; and the study of the optimization of the effect of beneficial bacteria. In recent years, the department has also begun to address the role of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of human chronic diseases and the possibility of modulating the gut microbiota in their prevention and therapy by using probiotic microorganisms and natural bioactive substances. Members of Laboratory of gnotobiology has expertise in performing non-infectious and infectious procedures in both laboratory and field settings. Gnototechnology and procedures enables study under defined conditions to obtain exact scientific results.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology has instrumentation that allows standard laboratory diagnostics by cultivation methods, microscopy, serological and molecular methods. The infrastructure also includes flow cytometer, allowing analysis of cell populations based on their morphological features and CD characteristics.

Horizon EU Projects
  • Project „B-THENET“ – Best practices and innovations for a sustainable beekeeping. Project number: 101059812, implementation 09/2022- 08/2026.
Structural Projects
  • Project  „INFEKTZOON“ – Centre of excellence for animal infections and zoonoses, ITMS project code: 26220120002, in accordance with the contract on NFP no. 012/2009/2.1/OPVaV, implementation 05/2009-03/2011.
  • Competence centre for biomodulators and nutrition supplements (PROBIOTECH) Project financing institution: EU structural funds projects ITMS project code: 26220220152. Years of the work on the project, implementation 09/2011-06/2014.
  • Project: "Medical University Science Park in Košice" (MediPark Košice) in partnership with UPJŠ in Košice, ITMS project code: 26220220185, implementation 09/2013-06/2016.
  • Project: Open Scientific Community for Modern Interdisciplinary Research in Medicine (OPENMED) 313011V455, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. Research activity 8 – Infectious diseases – co-investigator, implementation 2020-2023.
APVV Projects
  • APVV-19-0234: Development of probiotic preparation based on autochthonous lactobacilli for salmonids intended to improve fish health and production of quality food, implementation 2020-2024.
  • APVV-15-0377: Synergistic effect of secondary metabolites of plants and probiotic bacteria products on the inhibition of biofilm producing pathogens, implementation 2016-2019.
Participation on APVV projects
  • APVV-15-0415: The gastrointestinal virome of the pigs and boars: identification and analysis of viral agents, implementation 2016 - 2019.
  • APVV-16-0171: Progresive methods for elimination of development and spread of bacterial resistance against clinically relevant antibiotics, implementation 2017 - 2020.
  • APVV-16-0176: Targeted modulation of intestinal microbiota and its transplantation in the prevention and therapy of intestinal inflammatory diseases, implementation 2017 – 2021.
  • APVV-14-0218: Deciphering the ligand-receptor interactions involved in central nervous system invasion by pathogens and development of targeted therapeutic strategy against neuroinfections, implementation 2015 – 2019.
  • APVV-14-0397: Application of organic feed in poultry feed to produce functional foods enriched with significant polyunsaturated fatty acids, implementation: 2015 – 2018.
  • APVV-16- 0203: Therapeutic and preventive recolonization of skin ecosystem in equine dermatitis, implementation 2017 - 2020.
  • APVV-17-0372: Radio-frequency interface in biology and ecology of ixodid ticks
  • APVV-18-0039: Application of fermented bioproducts and humic substances in poultry nutrition, a new approach to improving animal health and producing safe and functional foods, implementation 2019-2023.
  • APVV-18-0259: Development of strategic therapeutics against selected vecto-rborne neuroinfections, implementation 2020-2023.
  • APVV-19-0440: Emerging zoonotic pathogens transmitted by neglected arthropod species in Slovakia
  • APVV-20-0114: Sex-specific microbiome and gene interactions in the pathogenesis of behavioral and gastrointestinal symptoms in the animal model of autism spectrum disorder, implementation 2021-2025.
VEGA Projects
  • VEGA 1/8115/01 Effect of subchronic exposure to pesticides on humoral and cell-mediated immunity in farm animals implementation 2001-2003.
  • VEGA 1/1362/04: Immunomodulatory, cytotoxic and genotoxic effect of xenobiotics on eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells and viruses. implementation 2004-2006.
  •  VEGA 1/4375/07: Cell cultures as a model for the determination of pesticide toxicity. implementation 2007-2009.
  • VEGA 1/0855/12: Immunomodulatory and cytotoxic effect of pesticides in conditions of viral infection. implementation 2012-2014.
  • VEGA 1/0261/15: Mapping of borrelial epitopes and multiple antigenic peptides construction for active immunization against Lyme borreliosis, implementation 2015 - 2019.
  • VEGA 1/0358/16: Modulation of intestinal microbiocenosis and immune response of honey bees using probiotic lactobacilli in a new application form, implementation 2016-2018.
  • VEGA 1/0258/15: Deciphering potential factors of neuroinvasive Lyme disease Borrelia inducing neuroinflammation upon infection of the CNS, implementation 2015 - 2019.
  • VEGA 1/0729/16: West Nile virus (WNV) in Slovakia, characterization, epizootology, phylogenesis and diagnostics, implementation 2016 - 2019.
  • VEGA 1/0081/17: Study of the effect of beneficial microorganisms and their bioactive products on the inhibition of biofilm-forming pathogens, implementation 2017 - 2020.
  • VEGA 1/0009/15: The use of gnotobiotic laboratory animals in the study of gastrointestinal physiology and interactions of the natural microflora and the digestive tract pathogens, implementation 2015-2018.
  • VEGA 1/0633/17: Exopolysaccharides from Lactobacillus reuteri: the study of their immunomodulatory effect on porcine intestinal epithelial cells (IPEC-1) challenged with enterotoxigenic E.coli, implementation 2017 - 2019.
  • VEGA 1/0505/19: The effect of the application of autochthonous bee lactobacilli on the pollen carrier on the immune status and quality of honey bee pruducts, implementation 2019-2021.
  • VEGA 1/0788/19: Study of changes in microbiota of dental biofilms in humans and dogs in order to harmonize the oral microbiocenosis by using the selected oral probiotics, implementation 2019-2022.
  • VEGA 1/0354/21: Study of the replication, neurovirulent potential and the innate antivirus response against tick-borne orbiviruses in host cell models, implementation 2021-2024.
  • VEGA 1/0731/21 Substances of natural origin as part of sustainable aquaculture, implementation 2021-2024.
  • VEGA 1/0015/21 Gnotobiotic laboratory animals associated with human microbiota in the study of prevention and therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), implementation 2021-2024.
  • VEGA 1/0454/22: Study of the possibilities of using humic substances in combination with autochthonous probiotic bee lactobacilli to improve the health of honey bees and the quality of bee products.
Participation on VEGA projects
  • VEGA 1/0096/17: Occurence, characterization and comparison of antibiotic resistant bacteria from the field to the consumer, implementation 2017-2020.
  • VEGA 1/0107/17: Investigation of etiological, diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive aspects of digital dermatitis – serious illness in cattle, implementation 2017-2019
  • VEGA 1/0161/17: Use of feed supplemented with probiotics in fish nutrition to produce healthy food, implementation 2017 - 2019
KEGA projects
  • KEGA 007UVLF-4/2021 Bioinformatic and molecular tools to study factors of pathogenicity and virulence of the medically important bacterial pathogens, implementation 2021 – 2023.
Internal Grant Agency of the UVMP
  • IGA 08/2016: A serosurvey of Usutu virus infection and detection of Borrelia myiamotoi in wild birds on the Slovak republic territory, implementation 2016-2017.
  • IGA 03/2020: The role of avian reservoirs in the circulation of tick-borne arboviruses with zoonotic potential, implementation 2020-2021.
  • IGA 12/2020: Study on the influence of sybilin and gragon blood on selected immunological parameters under in vitro conditions, implementation 2020-2021.
Other projects
  • Domus Senior (Hungarian Academy of Science): The occurrence of flaviviruses in birds and horses in Slovakia, implementation 2016.
  • Visegrad fund. Standard Grant No. 21510133: Prevention and control of transboundary and emerging viral infections of pigs in Central Europe, Implementation 2015-2016.
  • Demand-driven research for the sustainable and inovative food, Drive4SIFood 313011V336, cofinanced by the Euruopean Regional Development Fund. Activity 10 (independent research and development) UVLF: New approaches to reducing the consumption of antibiotics in animal nutrition in the context of strengthening food safety and food quality  2020-2023 – co-investigator.
Granted patents and utility models
  • Patent No. 288896: Probiotic preparation for honey bees and its use. (Mudroňová, D., Toporčák, J., Kuzyšinová, K.)
  • Utility model No. 8079: Carrier of probiotic preparation for honey bees. (Mudroňová, D., Toporčák, J., Kuzyšinová K.)
Patent applications
  • Patent application PP50050- Probiotic preparation, method for its preparation and use of a probiotic preparation
  • Patent application PP50081-2016 „Probiotic preparation for bees and their use“ and utility model application (PUV50129-2016): Probiotic preparation for bees.
  • Filed patent application PP50050-2016 Probiotic preparation, method of its preparation and use of probiotic preparation (Styková E., Nemcová R., Valocký I.).
  • Filed patent application (Patent application no. 20210585): Sorensen, M., Viswanath, K., Mudroňová, D., Fečkaninová, A. (patent inventors): Fish feed comprising probiotics, the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, 2021.
  • Filed utility model application (PUV 148-2022) Probiotic feed composition intended mainly for aquatic animals and method of its preparation (Mudroňová, D., Popelka, P., Koščová, J., Fečkaninová, A., Franc, A.)
  • Awarded the Technology Transfer Award in Slovakia 2016 in the category Innovation with the greatest potential for use in practice.
  • In 2017, the Accreditation committee of the Ministry of  Education, Science, Research and Sports of SR, an Advisory organ  of the government of SR, included the scientific team  "LACTOVIR", composed of members: Štefan Vilček, Radomíra Nemcová, Soňa Gancarčíková, Michaela Vlasáková, among "Top scientific teams of the higher education establishments in Slovakia"
  • In 2017, the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sports of SR conferred upon the top scientific team "LACTOVIR" the highest appraisal -  Award for Science and Technique in the category: "Scientific-technical team of the year”. (Vilček Š., Nemcová R., Gancarčíková S., Vlasáková M.).
  • Award of the Czechoslovak Society for Microbiology „Young microbiologist 2016“ (Csank Tomáš).
  • Award: Personality of science and technology 2022 (Dagmar Mudroňová)