Sir Walter Bodmer
Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK
Professor Charles Weissmann
Institute of Neurology, London, UK
Dr. Horace Judson
The George Washington University, USA
Dr. Tim Hunt
Cancer Research UK, Clare Hall Laboratories, UK
2001 Nobel Prize
Sir David Hopwood
John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK
Dame Anne McLaren
The Wellcome Trust / Cancer Research UK Institute, Cambridge, UK
Professor Emil Palecek
Institute of Biophysics, Brno
Professor George Georgiev
Institute of Gene Biology, Moscow, Russia
Professor Francois Gros
Académie des Sciences, Paris, France
University of Pittsburgh, USA
The Mendel Lectures take place in Mendel´s refectory in the Mendel Museum Brno and are streamed to
- Hasek Hall at the Institute of Molecular Genetics, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague
- Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Germ Cells, The Czech Academy of Sciences in Libechov
- Department of Cell Biology of Faculty of Science at Charles University, Prague
- 1st Medical Faculty at Biocev, Charles University, Prague
Mendel´s refectory, Augustinian Abbey
Mendlovo namesti 1a, Brno
- 13 years of tradition
- Legacy of J. G. Mendel
- Meet and Talk to the World´s Top Scientists Including Nobel Laureates
- Open to all
one of the fastest growing fields of science, whose roots lead directly to Brno and Gregor Johann Mendel – and the world's top scientists in discussion with students and young researchers: these are key attributes of the prestigious Mendel Lectures series, which has been held for eight years at the Mendel Museum in Brno.
The first series of Mendel Lectures was in 2003, when it was devoted to the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA. Since then, Brno has been visited by more than 100 scientists, including 13 Nobel Prize laureates. The lectures held in the refectory of the Augustinian Abbey in Old Brno – the very place where Mendel, the founder of genetics, worked almost 200 years ago – are attended annually by almost one thousand undergraduates, PhD students and scientists, who meet leading figures of science for whom otherwise they would have to travel the world. Valuable contacts are made at the event.
The Mendel Lectures are the brainchild of a team of experts from several European institutions. They include Anna and Kim Nasmyth from the United Kingdom and Jan Motlík of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. “I was a member of the Academic Council of the Academy of Sciences, which did everything it could to accommodate the so-called Brno Initiative. This initiative by leading world geneticists was an attempt to bring science back to the Abbey in Old Brno. The path was not easy, but eventually a mutual understanding was reached between the heads of the Abbey and the scientific community, in view of the importance and uniqueness of the mission of Gregor Mendel,” says Professor Motlík.
The celebration in 2003 of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA structure provided a unique opportunity to revitalize scientific activities at the Abbey. The British Council, which was involved in all of these activities, even donated a copy of the original photograph of Watson and Crick with the model of DNA, Professor Motlík remembers. At the same time a special lecture series was arranged. These became the basis for the Mendel Lectures.
“My involvement with Brno began in 2000, with the planning of the exhibition ‘Mendel: The Genius of Genetics’ and the inaugural conference in 2002, ‘EMBO Workshop, Genetics after the Genome’. The Mendel Lectures grew from this conference and I am delighted that the series continues to attract outstanding speakers,” says Anna Nasmyth, who, with her husband, renowned Oxford scientist Kim Nasmyth, is a former organizer of the Lectures.
As its name “The Road to the DNA” suggests, the first series of lectures was focused on the historical context of genetics. Subsequent series have addressed more topical scientific findings. “A small selection committee chooses which scientists to invite each year,” says Anna Nasmyth, explaining how plans for each new series originate. And of course, each of the speakers is a world leader in his or her field.
In Brno the Mendel Lectures were organized by Jirina Relichova of Masaryk University in cooperation with Jan Motlik of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Imma Mautner Markhof from Austria, who looked for sponsors. “The lectures have been – since the beginning – very well attended, with an average audience of eighty,” says Professor Relichová, before adding, “All the lecturers expressed the honour they felt at being invited to speak in such an exceptional environment, where Mendel lived and worked, and in which genetics as a science has its origins.”
Money and finance
Masaryk University has become the patron of the Mendel Lectures. At the beginning financing of the Lectures was supported by Vienna geneticist Gustav Ammerer (through his charity the VFG), the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the British Council. Later on the Lectures were supported financially by several institutions, including Masaryk University, the Vienna VFG, the Regional Authority of South Moravia, the City of Brno, IMP Vienna, the Augustinian Abbey in Old Brno and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Between 2012 - 2014 the lectures were supported by a grant of the Czech Ministry of Education and European Union (Pluricell). Since 2015 the Mendel Lectures have been supported by the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne´s University Hospital Brno and its project ICRC-ERA-HumanBridge funded by the European Union.
Anna and Kim Nasmyth, Gustav Ammerer, prof. Jan Motlik and prof. Jirina Relichova for initiating, supporting and co-organizing the Mendel Lectures series.
Institute of Molecular Genetics of the ASCR, v. v. i.
Prague, Czech Republic
Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University
Mendel Museum, Masaryk University
St. Anne's University Hospital Brno – International Clinical Research Center (FNUSA – ICRC)
- Paul Modrich - article by online.muni.cz
- Interview with Ada Yonath for Czech TV Hyde Park Civilizace
- Videos of selected talks are being posted on YOUTUBE
- All pictures from the talks can be found on our FACEBOOK
- Mendel lectures among Masaryk University Top Ten
- Interview with Nobel laureate Jules Hoffmann
- On Jules A. Hoffmann's talk in Brno
- Interview with Nobel laureate Kurt Wüthrich
- Anniversary Mendel Lectures – press release on life broadcasting of talks to University Campus Brno
- Interview with Günter Blobel for Czech TV
- Anniversary Mendel Lectures – article in Czech press
- Gregor Mendel and 21st Century Medicine – article by Dr. Murray from Brigham and Woman´s Hospital and Harvard medical school in Boston.
- Interview with Nobel laureate Aaron Ciechanover (in Czech)