He is the head of the Department of Zoology at Charles University and focuses on the diversity and evolution of anaerobic protists.



He is an assistant professor of the Department of Zoology at Charles University and focuses on comparative transcriptomics and genomics of neglected (non-model) microbial eukaryotes. In 2015 he obtained his PhD at Charles University and then spent 4 years as a postdoctoral fellow at the the Laboratory of protist genomics and evolution, University of Ostrava (Marek Eliáš group). He was also awarded by Fulbright Grant for Scholars and Researchers and spent seven months in Matthew W. Brown laboratory, Mississippi State University, USA. His main research interests are 1) reconstruction of the eukaryotic tree of life and 2) evolution of the eukaryotic cell,  mainly its mitochondrion and cytoskeleton.



Morphology and taxonomy of ciliates

Bill is our collaborator from Boise State University in Idaho (USA). He is an expert on the morphology and taxonomy of ciliates.


PhD students


Diversity and evolution of free-living trichomonads (Parabasalia)

He focuses mainly on the morphological and molecular diversity of endobiotic and free living trichomonads. He discovered an unsuspected diversity within the genus Hypotrichomonas as well as within free-living trichomonads with many unique strains and new species, which play an important role in evolution of the whole Parabasalia. His independent project contains a study on western lowland gorillas, central chimpanzees, and humans, which are co-inhabiting in Central African Republic as a part of a long-term monitoring focused on the pathogens among gorillas and people in natural forest ecosystem.


Diversity and evolution of anaerobic protists

She focuses on morphological and molecular characterization of newly discovered protistan lineages.


Diversity and evolution of protists symbionts of non-termite cockroaches

For his Ph.D. he studies the diversity and host specificity of protist symbionts of non-termite cockroaches, with a focus on small Parabasalids and Oxymonads.

Apart from his Ph.D. he helps to maintain and expand the cockroach cultures on our department. His main hobbies are early mediaeval fencing and ecology and ethology of cockroaches.


Diversity and evolution of anaerobic ciliates and their prokaryotic symbionts

She focuses on the diversity of anaerobic ciliates, using complex microscopic techniques to study their morphology as well as molecular methods to study their phylogenetic and phylogenomic relationships. She focuses on exploring the ciliate SAL superclade (Spirotrichea, Armophorea, Litostomatea), broadening the known diversity of Armophorea as well as studying newly discovered deep lineages of marine anaerobic ciliates. In addition to the studies of hitherto unexplored ciliate diversity and discovery of several novel ciliate lineages, she focuses on the prokaryotic symbionts of these ciliates.

Internships: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, Massachusetts (WHOI) in the laboratory of Dr. Edgcomb (2016) – 3 months



Diversity and evolution of anaerobic flagellates


He focuses on the diversity and systematics of free-living ciliates from freshwater ecosystems. He studied his master degree at the Faculty of Sciences at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). In 2015 he received a grant from the IRCN-BC to do a short research stay in the Laboratory of Protozoology at Ocean University of China. He was a lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences UNAM during 2018-2019.


For his PhD at Charles University he focuses on the diversity and systematics of anaerobic ciliates and their interaction with their methanogenic endosymbionts.


For his Master's degree he studies molecular and morphological characterization of Metopid subgroup (Metopida, Ciliophora) consisting of free-living anaerobic ciliates closely related to endosymbiotic clade Clevelandellida.


# protistology


For his Master's degree he studies molecular and morphological characterization of newly discovered anaerobic protistan species.

BSc students



She focuses on a new lineage of anaerobic marine amoebae and amoeboflagellates with uncertain phylogenetic position - Anaeramoebidae.

For her Bc. she studies cytoskeletar system of non-excavate excavates with the main focus on flagellar apparatus.

Former students and lab members

Pavla Butovičová

Lukáš Falteisek

Ondřej Kaman

Kateřina Krížová

Markéta Lorencová

Ludmila Nováková

Eva Mazancová

Aneta Šimáčková

Kristýna Uhrová

Naoji Yubuki

Eliška Zadrobílková

MSc students


Diversity and evolution of anaerobic scuticociliates

(Ciliophora, Oligohymenophorea) and their prokaryotic symbionts

She focuses on symbiotic interactions between anaerobic ciliates and prokaryotes. She explores the diversity of anaerobic ciliates from the subclass Scuticociliatia (Oligohymenophorea). She is interested in the symbioses between anaerobic scuticociliates and various prokaryotes, living both as endo- and ectosymbionts and representing ecologically important prokaryotes (methanogenic Archaea, sulphate-reducing bacteria).

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science

Charles University

Vinicna 7, Prague 2, 128 00


Phone: +420221951072 (lab)

Fax: +420221951841


© 2018 Katerina Polakova