Department of Pathological Morphology and Parasitology
The first institution of veterinary pathology at the newly established College of Veterinary Medicine Brno in 1918 was the Department of General Pathology and Pathological Anatomy, which was joined in 1930 by the Department of Bacteriology, Hygiene and the Science of Animal Diseases. This fusion resulted in the formation of the Department of Pathological Anatomy, Bacteriology, Serology and Veterinary Hygiene. In 1945, an independent Department of Pathology and Anatomy was established under the leadership of Professor Vincenc Jelínek who emphasized a close link between general pathological morphology and pathological physiology in his teaching approach. The actual institutional foundations in the form of the departments of pathological morphology and pathological physiology were not established until after 1945 when the premises of these departments housed the entire infrastructure of the later State Veterinary Institute, founded here in 1943.
Education in the field of parasitology was combined with the field of biology and zoology at the time the teaching of veterinary medicine began. In 1918, the Department of General Zoology and Parasitology was established, which is the same year the school was founded. In 1933 it joined the biology section and was part of the school under the name of the Department of General Biology and Parasitology until the early 1950s. In the post-war period, parasitology was significantly linked to the issue of diseases of wild animals, fish and bees, and in 1951 the study of parasitology was separated from the teaching of biology. Two independent departments were established. Parasitology was taught at the Department of Parasitology and Invasive Diseases with the division of fish and bee diseases until 1972. In that year the independence of the Department of Parasitology ended and the parasitology section was attached to the Department of Pathological Morphology.
After 1989, an independent Department of Parasitology was established and it continued this form until 2011 when the Department of Pathobiology was organisationally merged with Pathology and the Department of Pathological Morphology and Parasitology was established.
The department provides all forms of education in both pathology and parasitology for both FVM and FVHE students. The core courses are Pathological Morphology (3 semesters) and Parasitology (2 semesters), and Pathological Anatomy of Slaughter Animals for Bachelor’s degree students at FVHE.
Educational activities are carried out based on current, modern scientific knowledge. A core curriculum in pathology for various degree programmes at the University includes the examination of bodies and tissues of both dead animals (necropsy) and tissues taken from living animals (biopsy). These courses are followed by a number of elective courses expanding the lectured topics addressing parasitic infections of wild and exotic animals, domestic animals in the tropics, clinical aspects of parasitoses in dogs and cats and oncology of dogs and cats. The pathology practice room is also used for teaching. In the context of parasitology, a field practice in the diagnosis of parasitosis is organised annually in Romania.
The doctoral programme at the department is presented under the heading Pathology and Parasitology.
The department has traditionally been one of the centres of preclinical research at FVM with an emphasis on extensive international cooperation, as evident from its publication activity. Part of the research is traditionally linked to extensive clinical diagnostics in both disciplines. Research has long focused on the study of the diversity of vector-borne pathogens, the occurrence of neoplasms in companion animals and their re/classification using immunohistochemical methods, infectious diseases of primates, the significance of parasitoses as agents of emerging infectious diseases, and parasitic diseases in endangered species. The department’s employees collaborate with teams dealing with a variety of veterinary and comparative medicine research tasks, such as projects involving histopathological evaluation of tissue defects in transplants and evaluation of the use of new biomaterials in the repair of soft and hard tissue defects. In the field of parasitology, the focus of research has long been shaped by an interest in animal and human infections in tropical countries. In recent years, significant attention has been paid to the issue of new and spreading infections of domestic and wild animals in the Czech Republic and the issue of zoonoses. Among other things, the ongoing citizen science project Find a Meadow Tick (www.najdipijaka.cz), which focuses on monitoring the spread of ticks and tick-borne infections, has also burned into the subconscious of the Czech public. The department is a leading member of the inter-institutional research team HPI-lab which studies infections transmitted between primates and humans. The major achievements of this collaboration include the world-leading application of NGS methodologies for the study of diversity and zoonotic transmission of amoebae and strongylid nematodes in humans and animals. A highlight of recent work has been a book called Parasites of Great Apes published by the renowned German publisher Chimaira and co-authorship of several chapters in the Czech popularization book called On Parasites and Humans, which received the prestigious Magnesia Litera Award.
The department is located in building no 28 (Pathology Department) and in the newly reconstructed premises of the Centre for Zoonoses Diagnostics in building no 33 (Parasitology Department). The reconstruction, carried out within the project OP VaVpI, resulted among other things in a modern autopsy room for small and large animals. The department is equipped with a laboratory for histopathological preparations, a diagnostic parasitological laboratory, several laboratories for molecular diagnostic techniques, and a separate laboratory with research microscopes. Most of the premises are used for teaching, research and clinical diagnostics, and part of the infrastructure is also used by staff from other institutes. To study pathogens in animal models, a facility equipped for research using rodents, reptiles and invertebrates has been established. The department possesses modern microscopic and digital instrumentation, including image analysis. The histopathology laboratory, except for a modern tissue processor, is well equipped to produce both classic paraffin and cryocut sections for classical histopathology as well as for high-level enzyme histochemistry or immunohistochemistry. The department’s diagnostic laboratories provide a wide range of diagnostic services to clients and organisations in the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries, both in the field of pet and farm animals, as well as wild and zoo animals. The department provides extensive consultancy services in both pathology and parasitology.
Eminent professors in the history of the department
prof. MVDr. Václav Dyk, DrSc. – a major representative of parasitology, head of the department from 1948 to 1977, famous for his extensive publications, a personality well-known especially in hunting practice
doc. MVDr. Rostislav Zavadil, CSc. – a prominent parasitologist famous in the breeding practice of hunting dog breeds and also in hunting practice, head of the institute from 1990 to 1994
prof. MVDr. Karel Chroust, DrSc. – a parasitologist and head of the department from 1994 to 1999
prof. MVDr. David Modrý, PhD. – a parasitologist with extensive publications, investigator of several foreign grants, long-term working abroad – especially in African regions, chairman of the organization Veterinarians Without Borders, head of the department from 2011 to 2020
prof. MUDr. Jan Lukeš – a founder of the Department of Pathology and its head from 1919 to 1925
prof. MVDr. Karel Macek – a long-standing head of the Department of Pathology (1925 to 1939), rector of the university from 1965 to 1937
prof. MVDr. Vincenc Jelínek – head of the Department of Pathology from 1945 to 1962, rector of the university from 1949 to 1952, an expert in forensic pathological morphology
prof. MVDr. Miloslav Zendulka – a long-standing head and representative of pathological morphology from 1962 to 1986, dean of the faculty from 1956 to 1964 and rector of the university from 1971 to 1974
prof. MVDr. Černý Lubomír, DrSc. – a representative of pathological morphology and head of the department from 1986 to 1989
The current head of the Department of Pathological Morphology and Parasitology is doc. MVDr. Miša Škorič, PhD.
Interesting Facts about the Department
The department runs a pathology museum, which provides practical training for students of both master’s and doctoral programmes, as well as a number of trips from non-university educational institutions (universities and secondary schools with a biological or medical specialization). The collection of specimens has been built up over decades and some of the historical exhibits of tissues and organs altered by infectious diseases, such as bovine tuberculosis or glanders, are important for education especially because of the eradication of these infectious diseases, and therefore students can learn about the morphological manifestations of these diseases at least from the exhibited specimens.
doc. MVDr. Miša Škorič, Ph.D.