Brief summary of research and publication activities by IBA MU in 2014

In 2014, the Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses of the Masaryk University (IBA MU) continued in its long-term trend of analysing large amounts of data mainly from the clinical practice, participated significantly in the organisation of several conferences, and – last but not least – ensured teaching of undergraduate and graduate students of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science.

14 Apr 2015

Important events in 2014

Teaching activities

In 2014, similarly to previous years, IBA MU ensured teaching of many courses for undergraduate and graduate students of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University. All teaching activities of IBA MU converge to the application of medical informatics and data analysis in biological and medical study programmes. Each year, hundreds of students from both faculties attend courses provided by IBA MU teachers.

Additionally, IBA MU guarantees the Mathematical Biology, a standalone field of study at the Faculty of Science. The three-year bachelor study programme and the subsequent two-year study programme leading to the master’s degree trains a new type of specialists with a unique combination of skills and knowledge in mathematics and IT on the one hand, and biology, ecology and medicine on the other hand.

In 2014, eight Bachelor theses and nine Master theses were successfully defended (visit the links for more detailed information – in Czech language only).

Research activities

Contract research projects, typically solved in cooperation with expert medical societies or other subjects involved in health care, are of key importance within IBA MU research activities. The growing number of international projects – as well as the cooperation extending into medical specialties other than the “traditional” oncology, cardiology and haematology – can be considered as a very positive trend. One example is the POPE project, which monitors phenotypes of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in eleven Central and Eastern European countries.

In cooperation with international partners (St George’s, University of London, UK, and Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Slovakia), IBA MU launched the CROESUS project, which follows up activities of the MEFANET network, and focuses on the introduction of innovative procedures (educational algorithms, virtual cases, virtual patients) into the education of medical disciplines.

The CanCon project is an important international project which supports institutions and experts across Europe in their common fight against the growing cancer burden, aiming to improve cancer care standards and treatment outcomes. In this project, IBA MU cooperates within the Work package 6 (Integrated cancer care), developing a pilot model of network of comprehensive cancer centres.

Table 1: Overview of contract research projects solved by IBA MU, classified by medical specialties.

Specialty No. of projects
Oncology 21
Haematology and haemato-oncology 12
Cardiology, angiology 8
Pulmonary medicine 4
Emergency medicine and intensive care medicine 3
Immunology and allergology 3
Other specialties 11

Publication activities

The outcomes of national and international research projects have been published in numerous Czech and foreign journals. In 2014, authors from IBA MU contributed to more than 80 articles published in journals with impact factor (IF). Many of them are based on the results of projects monitoring the use of targeted therapies, particularly clinical registries of the Czech Society for Oncology. Also, cooperation with other departments of the Faculty of Medicine has traditionally led to numerous publications. Other publication results involve an article by Tomas Pavlik et al. (Cancer Epidemiol 2014; 38(1): 28-34), which describes the increasing survival rates among Czech cancer patients, or a book entitled Computer Applications, Systems and Networks for Medical Education (Eds. Daniel Schwarz and Ladislav Dusek). A special issue of Klinicka onkologie (Eds. Ladislav Dusek and Ondrej Majek), published in December 2014, was dedicated to the assessment of cancer prevention efforts and results in the Czech Republic.

Development of information systems

In a close cooperation with the RECETOX institute, IBA MU finished the development of a system for data collection and visualisation for the purposes of the Global Monitoring Plan (GMP) under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The system ensures a standardised collection of aggregated data from the existing monitoring programmes, enabling its visualisation as well as statistical evaluation of temporal and spatial trends in POPs concentrations.

The implementation of a system for data collection and visualisation (officially entitled the GMP Data Warehouse) has also become part of the GEO work plan for the period 2012–2015, task HE-02 “Tracking pollutants”, component C2 “Global Monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants, Emerging Contaminants and Global Change Indicators” (visit the GEO website for more information). Information on data from the first stage of collection has been already shared within the GEOSS project, and is available here.

Conferences, professional events

Two international conferences co-organised by IBA MU, the European Colorectal Cancer Days and MEFANET, have already become a tradition. Their continuation in 2014 brought numerous remarkable personalities and interesting lectures to Brno. The annual meeting of representatives of Czech breast cancer screening centres is another traditional event.

European Colorectal Cancer Days 2014

The third year of the conference was held in Brno on 25–26 April 2014, and was attended by over 170 participants from 15 countries who were somehow involved or merely interested in colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention. This year’s programme focused on the value of CRC screening from the economical, medical, and societal point of view. Leading European experts also talked about the cost-effectiveness of cancer screening programmes.


The 8th year of the annual meeting of teachers and students of Czech and Slovak medical faculties was held in Brno on 26–27 November 2014.

Data audit of breast cancer screening in practice 2014

The 12th year of the annual meeting of representatives of breast cancer screening centres from all over the Czech Republic was held in Brno on 28 November 2014.

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