On 26 May 2023, an informal gathering of the laureates of the prestigious Otto Wichterle Premium took place at the Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. The Czech Academy of Sciences awards this prize to selected, exceptionally high quality and promising scientists of the Academy who have contributed outstanding results to the development of scientific knowledge, hold scientific ranks or titles (CSc., Dr., Ph.D., DrSc., DSc.) and are no older than 35 years of age in the calendar year of submission. The directors of the academic institutes submit proposals for the premium award after consultation with the Institute Councils. Over the past 22 years, 23 young scientists from the Institute of Microbiology have been awarded the Otto Wichterle Premium. Only in five years (2006, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2018) did the Institute come up empty. Together with the former director, Mrs. Blanka Říhová, and the current director, Mr. Jiří Hašek, the previous recipients reminisced about their younger years and congratulated this year’s laureates, Dominika Luptáková and Jaroslav Semerád. During the meeting, Vladimír Havlíček mentioned that 43% of the laureates had become laboratory chairs. Interestingly, 39% of the recipients have been active mass spectrometry users. The recipients of the Institute of Microbiology Prize are Josef Komenda and Vladimír Havlíček (2002), Marek Šinkora (2003), Michal Koblížek and Petr Baldrián (2004), Petr Novák and Petr Halada (2005), 2006 no one, Tomáš Cajthaml (2007), Radim Osička (2008), Petr Man and Michael Volný (2009), Marek Kovář (2010), 2011 and 2012 no one, Miroslav Kolařík (2013), Petra Procházková (2014), 2015 nobody, Pavel Hrouzek (2016), Zdeněk Kameník (2017), 2018 nobody, Tomáš Větrovský (2019), Petr Kohout and Anna Herrmannová (2020), Petra Beznosková (2021), Martin Ezechiáš (2022), Dominika Luptáková and Jaroslav Semerád (2023).

We firmly believe that the Institute will defend the Prize in the following years.

On the photo from the left: Jaroslav Semerád, Petr Halada, Petr Man, Martin Ezechiáš, Dominika Luptáková, Tomáš Cajthaml, Michal Koblížek, Petra Procházková, Jiří Hašek, Marek Kovář, Blanka Říhová, Zdeněk Kameník, Vladimír Havlíček, Michal Volný.