Researcher Petra Němcová about the Intertwining of IT with Other Fields

29 Sep 2021

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The connection of various fields with informatics is an increasingly visible phenomenon, with a great future ahead of it. A lot about this knows Petra Němcová - originally a chemist now working at a research team at the Institute of Computer Science, where she focuses on modeling transport processes in proteins. In addition, she is currently completing her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Informatics and representing the ICS at the Researchers' Night 2021.

Petra, although you are currently doing doctoral studies at the Faculty of Informatics, you are initially a naturalist. What is your focus, and how did you get into IT technology?

First, I studied chemistry, and then at my master's degree, I dived into physical chemistry. Although it seems unconventional, I was never attracted to work in the laboratory, and both of my final theses were theoretical.

I worked under a great supervisor - Associate Professor Markéta Munzarová, who patiently guided me through applied quantum chemistry. From there, it was just a tiny step to IT. In addition, my husband is studying at the Faculty of Informatics, so it just had to happen.

What enticed you to connect these fields? What makes it attractive for you?

I always say I'm so clumsy to work in the lab. What's more, it doesn't fulfill me much. I enjoyed chemistry, but rather the theoretical part. And my high school cantor Radek Matuška actually "ruined" me entirely because he was making a theory at the time, and thanks to that, I knew that such an approach existed. And because I had a good foundation from him in my first years at university, I enrolled in various programming as additional subjects. Eventually, side entertainment became almost the mainstream of my study.

And what makes it attractive to me? Hard to say, I actually find a fun way of thinking about IT.

„High school teachers have already shown me that I can try to do science. So I'm trying.“

Did you know from an early age that you want to research and do science? What led you to this?

It seemed "cool" to me, but it never occurred that I could do science. High school played a role in this again when the teachers showed me that I could at least try it - so I'm trying. :)

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Although you are spread across three university workplaces, you belong tribally to the team of Jirka Filipovič. What are your conditions for science - your work?

I am very satisfied with the team, and I have ideal conditions for work. I can't think of anything I would miss.

You are the face of Researchers' Night 2021 for ICS, where you represent your team and research. Do you enjoy popularizing science?

I have also graduated with an extension to teaching chemistry for secondary schools, so this field is close to me. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to settle even better in my subject. When a person explains his work to someone else, he often realizes the things and contexts that have eluded him until then.

„When a person explains his work to someone else, he often realizes the things and contexts that have eluded him until then.“

What are your following work goals?

I am currently working on my dissertation. If we are talking purely about work, we would like to extend CaverDock (our software tool for rapid analysis of transport processes in proteins, which we are developing with the group of Professor Jiří Damborský from the Faculty of Science) to work with a dynamic receptor and better describe the actual behavior of proteins.

As a female scientist and representative of the fairer sex, I know that you have an unconventional hobby - Thai boxing. How did you get to it, and what attracts you to it?

I was always a bit of a restless child, and a few years back, I decided to try Thai boxing. In fact, it was similar to that science... I enjoy regular physical activity and psychological games during sparring or wrestling. And there is the honest toil and humility - just like in scientific work.

Mgr. Petra Němcová

Student of the doctoral program FI and researcher of the Jiří Filipovič team, graduate of the Faculty of Science MU in the field of physical chemistry. She focuses on research in the field of modeling transport processes in proteins.

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