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Fulbright scholar from Czech Republic brings research project to Minnesota

Faculty and fellows of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health welcomed 33-year-old Pavla Novakova, M.D., to the University of Minnesota last fall.

Novakova, an obstetrician/gynecologist from 3rd Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague, received funding to come to Minnesota under the Proshek-Fulbright Scholarship. The scholarship was established by the estate of Gabriela Proshek to honor her late husband, Charles E. Proshek, M.D., a distinguished physician in Minneapolis and a former Honorary Consul of Czechoslovakia.

During her 4-month stay in Minnesota, Novakova collaborated with Peter Argenta, M.D., and Charles Blomquist, M.D., to assess the potential for human breast tumors to make estrogen, clarifying how estrogen forming in tumors can help uncover new approaches to chemotherapy. Novakova also conducted research on the DNA content of cell nuclei, particularly those found in tumors of the uterine endometrium.

“It was a pleasure to meet my American colleagues, to observe and learn more about their clinical work, research, and education, and to share our experiences and opinions,” says Novakova. “They helped me a lot with my research project, and we plan to continue it in both Minnesota and the Czech Republic.”

Novakova is currently completing a grant application to continue her research in her home country.

“Pavla was incredibly diligent during her tenure with us,” says Justin Chura, M.D., a fellow with the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health. “Despite being in a foreign country, away from family and friends, not speaking her native tongue, Pavla was able to establish a research hypothesis and then develop experiments to test it.”

“Pavla is very bright and very serious about her work,” says Blomquist, an associate professor in the department. “I would be delighted if she could return and spend more time in our laboratory.”

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