Anatomy, Histology and Embryology

Accreditation valid until: 28. 11. 2023

Chairman of the Subject Area Board:
prof. MUDr. Mgr. Zbyněk TONAR, Ph.D.

Department of Histology and Embryology
Faculty of  Medicine in Pilsen
Charles University
Karlovarská 48
301 66  Pilsen
phone: +420 377 593 325
e-mail: @email


Contact person:
Ing. Daniela Vyzrálová
Department of Science and Research
Faculty of  Medicine in Pilsen
Charles University
Husova 3
301 00  Pilsen
phone: +420  377 593 466



Members of the Subject Area Board

Characteristics of the study programme

Anatomy, histology and embryology is based in its name on the listed scientific disciplines, which are within of this study programme are connected with related clinical (surgery, pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, etc.) and experimental (molecular biology, genetics, immunology, cell biology, etc.).

Admission procedure requirement specific to the study programme

The conditions and course of the admission procedure for the part-time of study are the same as the conditions for the full-time form. 

We recommend to contact your potential supervisor in advance and consult the suitable form of preparation for the interview. Each study programme has its own specifics, so the supervisor can help you to prepare for the specialized entrance examination (the interview).

Topics of dissertation thesis

The SAB listed these topics. The candidate chooses the preliminary topic individually and contacts a potential supervisor. He/she consults with him on the chosen topic and agrees on its more precise specification. In case of any ambiguity, we recommend that you also contact the chairman of the SAB. If necessary, he/she can recommend that he/she consult the topic with another specialist according to the focus of the intended project.

If the candidate does not know which topic/supervisor to choose, he/she will contact the chairman of the SAB, with whom he/she will consult on a suitable topic and a potential supervisor.

This choice is preliminary, the admissions board may, after consultation with the candidate, nominate another supervisor.

Supervisors of the study programme

Each supervisor must be approved by the SAB. The criteria for admitting new supervisors are determined by the SAB. If the proposed supervisor has not yet been approved by the SAB, this must be done no later than the enrollment of the applicant in the study (provided that the applicant is accepted). You can find a list of supervisors approved by the SAB here. After clicking, the supervisor's workplace and contact information will be displayed.

Requirements during the study

Study obligations for full-time and part-time form of study are the same. The student has to pass through compulsory courses and continuous examinations in accordance with the ISP. The SDE is a key examination in the second half of study. Moreover, the fellowship at a foreign workplace and participation at a symposium are required. 

The student must pass the following courses:

  1. Introduction to Research Activities and Publication
  2. Medical Statistics
  3. Health Informatics
  4. Technology Transfer Manager 

Two continuous examinations are included in the ISP and belong to the dissertation topic. Examinations consist of a brief presentation of the solved issue (10 min. at most), and the discussion (10 min. at most), including three examination questions. We can recommend noting Material & Methods in the talk of the first continuous examination and preliminary results into the second examimation.

Passing of the examination in English language is obligatory for students studying in the Czech language.

Other obligations are stated and specified in the students’ ISP.

Requirements for internships

Study stay or internship abroad lasting at least one month (for full-time form of study).

Listed courses

Requirements for the SDE

The student is required to demonstrate an active knowledge of anatomical structure, microscopic anatomy, ontogeny and cell biology of organs and organ systems of laboratory mammals and humans during the SDE, especially in relation to the topic of the doctoral study programme. In the case of organs and tissues, which he deals with in the topic of his/her dissertation, it must be the level of the current state of knowledge based on published sources.

The course of the SDE

The SDE consists of two parts and it lasts approx. 50-60 minutes.

1. During the first part, the candidate briefly presents the current progress in the preparation of his/her dissertation thesis (within 5-7 minutes). This is followed by an approximately 10- minute discussion in which the candidate responds to questions from members of the committee directed to the topic of his/her studies.

2. In the second part of the SDE, the candidate chooses one of the five areas (Anatomy, Histology, Embryology, Cell Biology, Methods). Three questions will be drawn randomly from the selected area. No written preparation is expected for being ready to answer the questions and subsequent supplementary questions from the members of the committee. The expected duration of this part of the oral exam is 30-40 minutes.

Examination topics for the SDE


1. Skeleton. Characteristic and classification of bones. Individual parts of skeleton.

2. Joints. Classification of joints. Movements in the joints.

3. Muscle structure and function. Tendons, fasciae and spaces.

4. Peripheral nervous system.

5. Structure and function of the telencephalon and diencephalon.

6. Structure and function of the brainstem and cerebellum, cranial nerves.

7. Spinal cord, spinal nerves.

8. Structure and function of the visual system.

9. Structure and function of the auditory and vestibular systems.

10. Autonomic nervous system.

11. Sensory systems: general structure. Receptors. Taste and smell.

12. Endocrine system: hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid and parathyroid glands, suprarenal glands, pancreas, gonads, diffuse endocrine system.

13. Heart: wall structure, skeleton, supply, conducting system, pericardium.

14. Circulatory system: blood circulation in the body and lungs. Portal circulation.

15. Circulatory system: types of blood vessels, blood circulation of the adult and the fetus.

16. Lymphatic system: types of vessels, lymph nodes. Primary and secondary lymphatic organs.

17. Respiratory system: Upper and lower respiratory tracts. Lung. Mechanics of breathing.

18. Digestive system: Oral cavity, teeth, pharynx. Associated glands.

19. Digestive system: Digestive tube, liver, pancreas, peritoneum.

20. Urinary system: Kidneys and excretory urinary tract.

21. Circulation of water and body fluids: plasma, lymph, extracellular and transcellular fluids.

22. Male genital system.

23. Female genital system.

24. Basics of comparative anatomy of mammals with regard to laboratory and experimental species (including directions and planes).

25. General anatomy and anatomical terminology.

26. Topographical anatomy (spaces and passages) of the head and neck and its clinical significance.

27. Topographical anatomy (spaces and passages) of the thorax, abdomen, pelvis and back and its clinical significance.

28. Topographical anatomy (spaces and passages) of limbs and its clinical significance.

29. Imaging methods in anatomy.

Histology and microscopic anatomy

1. Types of tissues. Epithelia – general characteristics, classification, cell polarity, function.

2. Covering and glandular epithelia – classification and examples.

3. Connective tissue- general characteristics, classification. Cells and the extracellular matrix.

4. Connective tissue proper – characteristics, classification, examples.

5. Cartilage – characteristics, classification, examples.

6. Microscopic structure of bone tissue – characteristics, classification, examples.

7. Intramembranous and endochondral ossification.

8. Peripheral blood. Formed blood elements. Blood count. Differential blood count.

9. Hemopoiesis – ontogeny, blood lines. Erythropoiesis, granulopoiesis, lymphopoiesis, monopoiesis.

10. Muscle tissue – characteristics, classification, examples. Smooth muscle; skeletal muscle; cardiac muscle.

11. Nerve tissue – characteristics, classification, examples. Neuron; synapsis; neuroglia.

12. Teeth; oral cavity; tongue, and soft palate.

13. Esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine.

14. Liver; gall bladder; biliary passages; pancreas.

15. Airway passages; larynx, trachea, bronchi; lungs. Alveolo-capillary membrane.

16. Renal cortex and medulla; nephron; excretory passages.

17. Testis and epididymis; male genital passages; prostate and seminal vesicles.

18. Ovary and ovarian follicles; uterine tube; vagina; greater and lesser labia; breast and the mammary gland.

19. Uterus; menstruation cycle; placenta; umbilical cord.

20. Skin.

21. Brain. Architectonics of the brain cortex; cerebellum; spinal cord. Structure of peripheral nerves.

22. Eye – layers of the bulb including the retina; lens. External ear, middle ear, internal ear. Olfactory mucosa.

23. Blood vessels – classification, structure, and function. Microscopic anatomy of the heart. Cardiac conducting system.

24. Lymph vessels. Thymus. Bone marrow. Tonsils. Spleen.

25. Pituitary gland. Thyroid gland. Parathyroid gland. Suprarenal gland.

26. Structure of hollow organs and their layers. Structure of parenchymal organs- parenchyma, stroma.


1. Progenesis – sperm and oocyte maturation, morphometry of gametes. Fertilization and the first cleavage.

2. Blastocyst development, implantation, gastrulation, bilaminar disc.

3. Fetal membranes, placenta.

4. Development of nerve tissue, neural tube, and brain vesicles. Neural crest. Development of eye and ear.

5. Origin and development of circulatory system, primitive embryonic and extraembryonic blood circulation.

6. Development and remodeling of aortic arches. Origin and destiny of main embryonic vessels.

7. Origin of the heart tube, septation of atria and ventricles. Genesis of heart malformations.

8. Development of digestive system. Primitive gut.

9. Stomodeum. Development of tooth, tongue, thyroid gland, and hypophysis.

10. Pharyngula, derivatives of pharyngeal arches, ectodermal clefts, and endodermal pouches.

11. Development of fore- and midgut. Rotation of the intestine, stomach, and mesenteries. Development of liver, pancreas, and spleen.

12. Development of respiratory system.

13. Face and skull development, definitive palate.

14. Development of urinary system.

15. Development of gonads – testis, ovary, ducts, external genital organs.

16. Development of vertebrae, ribs, and limbs, skeletal muscle.

17. Comparative embryology of mammals, in particular, biomedicine models for human embryology: differences in early development (gastrulation, placentation), pregnancy length.

18. Calculation of delivery date, labor phases. Determination of fetal age.

19. Congenital growth and development defects, teratogens. Instances of defects of individual systems.

20. Pre-implantation and post-implantation genetic testing. Prenatal screening of congenital growth and development defects.

21. Ontogenesis and evolution: relations, postulates, and examples.

22. Morphological assessment of gametes and embryos. Assisted reproductive technologies.

23. Ethical issues of human embryology and assisted reproductive technologies. 

Cell biology

1. Chemical components of a cell. Cell metabolism.

2. Types of cells – prokaryotic vs. eukaryotic cells; plant cell and animal cell. Cellular compartments.

3. Cell cycle. Cell division – mitosis and meiosis. Cell death.

4. Membrane structure and function.

5. Cell organelles and cytoplasmic inclusions – structure and function.

6. Basement membrane, basal lamina. Apical cell surface specializations.

7. Cellular junctions. Lateral cell surface specializations.

8. Cell signaling. Cell adhesion. Cell movement.

9. The cell nucleus – structure and function.

10. Proteostasis – mechanisms, signaling events, and localization.

11. Cell transport; vesicular traffic.

12. The cytoskeleton – its components and their function.

13. Stem cells. Differentiation of cells.

14. Types of tissues.

15. The extracellular matrix – structure and function.

16. Nucleic acids – classification, structure, and function.

17. Modification of structure and function of nucleic acids.

18. Replication and repair of nucleic acids.

19. Transcription. Post-transcriptional modification.

20. Classification and function of various types of RNA.

21. Translation. Post-translational modification.

22. Regulation of gene expression.

23. Mutagenesis and its role in evolution.

24. Control of gene expression. Structure of genes. Alternative splicing.

25. The use of nucleic acids in diagnostics and in therapy.

26. Interplay of the components of the immune system.

27. MHC/HLA – genetic background; classes of proteins; function.

Methods in Anatomy, Histology, Embryology, and Cell Biology

1. Fixation and conservation methods in anatomy.

2. Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded sectioning technique. Cryomicrotomy. Artifacts in histological preparations.

3. Processing samples for electron microscopy.

4. Histological processing of mineralized tissues – ground undemineralized sections; demineralized paraffin sections.

5. Fundamentals of light microscopy. Brightfield microscopy.

6. Light microscopy techniques I: darkfield and oblique illumination; polarization microscopy; phase contrast; differential interference contrast.

7. Light microscopy techniques II: fluorescence microscopy; confocal laser scanning microscopy.

8. Transmission electron microscopy.

9. Scanning electron microscopy.

10. Histochemistry, immunocytochemistry, and immunohistochemistry: principles and examples.

11. Chromogens; microscopic study of localization and dynamics of biomolecules.

12. Cytochemistry and enzyme histochemistry.

13. Lectin histochemistry.

14. Principles of PCR, sequencing, in situ hybridization.

15. Cytotoxicity assay, proliferation assay – principles and examples.

16. Laser-capture microdissection.

17. Virtual slides and whole slides scanning. X-ray microtomography (micro-CT).

18. Model organisms in experimental biology – examples, pros and cons. Tissue cultures; cell cultures.

19. Atomic force microscopy. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting; flow cytometry. Raman spectroscopy.

20. Immunochemical methods – principles and examples. ELISA, RIA, Western blot, multiplex assay.

21. Methods in cytogenetics and karyotyping. FISH. 22. Biobanking. Cryopreservation. 23. Mechanical properties of and bimechanical modelling of cells, tissues, organs – examples of studies, explaining the experimental identification of parameters; interpretation.

Recommended literature (with additional resources in Czech in italics)


  • Moore K., L.., Agur A.M., Dalley A.F. Essential clinical anatomy, Wolters Kluwer – Lippincott – Williams and Wilkins, 4th Ed. 2011.
  • Čihák, R.: Anatomie I., II., III., Praha: Grada, 2011–2016.
  • Druga, R., Grim, M., Dubový, P.: Anatomie Centrálního Nervového Systému, Praha: Galén Karolinum, 2011.
  • Grim M., Druga R., et al.: Základy anatomie , Karolinum , Galén, 5 dílů , 2001 – 2011.


  • Mescher A.L. Junqueira‘s Basic Histology. Text & Atlas. McGraw Hill Medical, 2010.
  • Balko, J., Tonar, Z., Varga, I. et al.: Memorix histology, Praha: Triton, 2018.
  • Lüllmann-Rauch R.: Histologie. Překlad 3. vydání. Grada, Praha, 2012.


  • Sadler T.: Langman´s Medical Embryology, 13th edition, Wolters Kluwer, 2014./Sadler T.W.: Langmanova lékařská embryologie. Překlad 10. vydání. Grada, Praha, 2011.
  • Trávník P.: Klinická embryologie. Mladá fronta, Praha, 2018.
  • Peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals (review papers of original articles found in the PubMed, Web of Science, ResearchGate databases etc.)

Cell biology

  • Alberts B., Johnson A., Lewis J., Morgan D., Raff M. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th Ed., Garland Science, 2014./Alberts B., Bray D., Johnson A., Lewis J., Raff M., Roberts K., Walter P. Základy buněčné biologie – Úvod do molekulární biologie buňky. Espero Publishing, 2005.
  • Peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals (review papers of original articles found in the PubMed, Web of Science, ResearchGate databases etc.)

Methods in Anatomy, Histology, Embryology, and Cell Biology

  • Peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals (review papers of original articles found in the PubMed, Web of Science, ResearchGate databases etc.)

Publication activity requirements

At least three publications in scientific journals are required, out of which two publications must be published in a journal with the IF of Web of Science database (one work can be published in a journal without IF, but the journal must be reviewed and indexed in Scopus).
The student must be the first author of at least one publication of original scientific results.

Defence requirements

  • SDE
  • Publication activities

The defence consists of the introduction of the student by the supervisor and head of the supervisoring workplace. The dissertation topic is presented by the applicant (approx. 15 min.), followed by discussion (approx. 10 min.), and the interpretation of reviews of the dissertation thesis.

Profile of a graduate of the study programme

Anatomy, histology and embryology belong to the basic morphological field. During their studies, graduates acquire basic research skills and a broad background of experimental work at the level of organs, tissues, cells and even on the subcellular level. The graduate will be able to produce his own research results, he/she will be able to summarize the results of his/her own scientific work, to analyze them statistically, to publish them in research journals, to present them to an expert audience and the broad public and also to translate them to clinical praxis or to other fields of applied research.

Information about graduate employment

Graduates will find employment as clinical specialists, academic and scientific staff in universities and research institutions, and as researchers in the biotechnology and biomedical private sector. Typical employers will be universities, research institutions, healthcare facilities including teaching hospitals and private biotechnology and biomedical companies.

Created: 9. 11. 2021 / Modified: 21. 4. 2022 / Responsible person: Mgr. Petr Andreas, Ph.D.