Some former students of the Institute had also achieved remarkable success in their professional careers. These include especially Carl Ferdinand Cori (1896–1986) and Gerta Theresa Cori, née Radnitz (1896–1957), a husband and wife team of Prague natives, graduates of the German Faculty of Medicine in Prague. In 1947, they received the Nobel Prize for explaining how human body uses lactate formed by metabolization of stored polysaccharide glycogen in muscle cells. Nowadaysm, the main lecture hall of the institute bears their name. Another famous student of the institute was Hans Hugo Bruno Selye (1907–1982), a native of Vienna and graduate of the Faculty of Medicine of the German University in Prague, who formulated the theory of adaptation syndrome and stress reaction. He was the first to describe the hypothalamus–pituitary regulation of the production of corticosteroids in adrenal glands.
Carl Ferdinand & Gerta Theresa Coriovi
Hans Hugo Bruno Selye
In 1945, the Institute of Medical Chemistry of the German Faculty of Medicine was transformed into the Second Institute of Medical Chemistry, which was in 1972 renamed Second Institute of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry. The most important personages of the institute during this period included Antonín Hamsík (1878–1963), whose work focused on the study of haemoglobin and its derivatives, Antonín Felix Richter (1896–1979), who published a number of studies on nitrous compounds in melanins, and Jan Šula (1904–1994), who laid the foundations of modern Czech experimental oncology by his research on chemical carcinogens.
In the past four decades, the Institute started to ever more clearly focus on experimental oncology. Emphasis on this research area was promoted by Jiří Duchoň (1927–2009), whose work in biochemical research of the melanoma and melanogenesis was in late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s at the top of European science of the time and the Institute organised important international conferences focused on this subject. In 2002, this trend led to another change in the name of the institute, which was henceforth called the Institute of Biochemistry and Experimental Oncology. At the turn of the millennium, the institute had undergone an extensive update: the building was refurbished and technical facilities (instruments) updated. Currently, work at the institute focuses on the study of processes which lead to the development and progression of malignant tumours.
An important part of the history of the Institute is the fact that during the Velvet Revolution in 1989, it became the headquarters of the students’ strike committee and served as a hub of other civic activities.
A memorial plaque commemorating important events in the history of the institute
Recollection of the Velvet Revolution, when the Cori Hall functioned as headquarters of the strike committee of the Faculty of Medicine.
Heads of the institute after 1945:
- Academician prof. MUDr. Antonín Hamsík, DrSc. in 1945 – 1948 ·
- Prof. MUDr. Antonín Felix Richter, DrSc. in 1948 – 1959 ·
- Prof. MUDr. et MVDr. Jan Šula, DrSc. in 1959 – 1970 ·
- Prof. MUDr. Jiří Duchoň, DrSc. in 1970 – 1995
- Doc. MUDr. Bohuslav Matouš, CSc. in 1995 – 2007
- Prof. MUDr. Aleksi Šedo, DrSc. since 2007