Analytical chemist Michal Holčapek from the University of Pardubice received the Herbert J. Dutton Award in the USA as the first Czech ever. The credit for this goes to his many years of research on lipids at the Faculty of Chemical Technology. Among other results, this has led to a method that allows the detection of several types of cancer.
"I am very pleased that my research has received such prestigious recognition. AOCS helped me to collaborate with other colleagues working in the same field," said Prof. Michal Holčapek from the Faculty of Chemical Technology, University of Pardubice.
Michal Holčapek, a graduate of the Faculty of Chemical Technology at the University of Pardubice, has been involved in lipid analysis for over twenty years. For example, he managed to separate all existing types of triacylglycerol isomers and characterise vegetable oils and animal fats in detail. His group has developed methods for detecting adulteration of expensive vegetable oils or for determining the content of essential fatty acids, an important parameter for characterising the nutritional value of foods, or for identifying trans fatty acids, which are undesirable in higher quantities according to current health recommendations. Most recently, his team's research is moving towards a new method to speed up the detailed determination of all triacylglycerols in biological samples.
His research has also resulted in a method that allows the detection of pancreatic cancer at an early stage from a single drop of human blood. The university holds a European patent for this method as of 2020, and patent proceedings for the detection of other cancers are ongoing. Now the scientist is approaching the stage of introducing clinical testing of the new method. The university has already set up a spin-off with the Czech company FONS JK Group a.s., which runs clinical laboratories. The cancer screening method, if successful, could be available to patients within a few years. The method of Prof. Holčapek's team was published last year in Nature Communications, the leading scientific journal.
AOCS (American Oil Chemists' Society) is a leading scientific organisation researching oils, fats, lipids, proteins, and surfactants. Society, which dates back to 1909, has an important analytical division that annually honours just one scientist from around the world with their Distinguished Contribution Award.