Ivana Viktorinová, Ph.D.

 

I'm a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Pavel Tomančák. I joined his lab in September 2012 and am interested in how organs and bodies are shaped at the molecular and cellular level.

I originally come from South Bohemia, around the area of České Budějovice, where I studied plant biotechnology and genetics for bachelor and master's degrees, respectively. During my undergraduate studies, I was interested in bark beetles (Ips typograhus) as many forests around this region were attacked by this pest, leaving forest areas devastated, including parts of the beautiful Šumava National Park and forests around my home town. During my master thesis, the alpha-amylase gene of the bark beetle turned out to be a potentially suitable population genetic marker that could be used to easily predict an outbreak of bark beetles, based on the genetic profile of analyzed populations.

In order to better 'understand' beetles from genetic point of view, I left for my PhD studies in Bavaria (Germany) to continue to work on another beetle pest called red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum). My project was to set up genetic tools in this species that are commonly used in Drosophila genetic studies, such as a heat-shock conditional system and trans-activator systems (e.g. Gal4/UAS). Although I succeeded to establish transgenic lines with Drosophila hsp70 promoter as well as the trans-activator system in Tribolium castaneum, and the constructs used worked in Drosophila melanogaster, the Drosophila heat-shock was line-dependent, leaky, and thus not optimal in Tribolium. Unfortunately, the trans-activator system under the 3xP3 (an artificial Pax6-responsive) promoter and beta-galactosidase as a reporter did not function in the beetle at all. It became clear later that to efficiently drive a trans-activator system in Tribolium castaneum, endogenous core promoters from this species are needed. In parallel, I also worked on the establishment of specific chromosomal inversions (and indels, too) in Drosophila as a pre-test prior to an introduction of these to Tribolium species, in order to create balancer chromosomes there.

After completing my Ph.D., I work briefly on cyclins in Drosophila melanogaster. I liked that Drosophila was easier to work with as it is a more established model organism than beetles, still allowing one to address interesting questions and at the same time to understand general principles and the evo-devo differences between these two species. Thus, I took a postdoctoral position with a focus on planar cell polarity in the Drosophila ovaries at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, Germany. Currently, I'm continuing with the latter project and am enjoying the freedom, enthusiasm and expertise with cool techniques in Pavel's lab at the MPI-CBG.

 

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Bio

Nationality: Czech

Position: Postoctoral researcher

 

Contact:

Ivana Viktorinová

Tomancak lab

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Pfotenhauerstr. 108
01307 Dresden
Germany

Email: viktorin@mpi-cbg.de