Prague, April 27 (CTK) – World-renowned genetics expert Jan Svoboda has become a foreign collaborator of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which is an extraordinary honour for him as well as Czech science, Jan Martinek, spokesman for the Czech Academy of Sciences, told CTK yesterday.
Svoboda is probably the only Czech in NAS, the exclusive club with over 2,000 members from 440 U.S. and foreign scientific organisations, Martinek said.
Svoboda, 81, is a respected expert in retrovirology.
Retroviruses cause a broad variety of infections, malignant tumours, leukaemia and AIDS.
In the 1960s, Svoboda’s research into a type of malignant tumour that affects poultry and is caused by a specific retrovirus is part of the basic knowledge in this scientific branch.
Vaclav Horejsi, director of the Czech Institute of Molecular Genetics, said the entry of NAS is a great honour for any scientist, since NAS has only some 400 members from outside the USA.
“Professor Svoboda definitely deserves it, as he ranks among the world founding fathers of retrovirology,” Horejsi said.
Svoboda has been working in the Institute of Molecular Genetics since 1960.
Horejsi said NAS has also other members of Czech origin, who, however, emigrated abroad in the past.
“It is turning out that the system of education and the basic knowledge they gained in Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic, have been good,” Horejsi said.