Department of biology
The Department of Biology was created at the Kiev Medical Institute in 1924. Prior to this, teaching of biology to students of the Faculty of Medicine in Kyiv University was carried out only in the form of lectures on botany and zoology. In those years the lectures were read by such well-known scientists as Prof. I.F. Schmalhausen, Prof. O.V. Baranetsky, Prof. K.A. Puriyevich, and Prof. M.V. Bobretsky, the famous explorer of the Black Sea invertebrates. Especially for the students of the Medical Faculty, Prof. Schmalhausen prepared a short course in botany.
After the transformation of the medical faculty into a medical institute, independent departments of botany and zoology were created, with lectures by academician O.V. Fomin and Prof. M.M. Voskoboynikov, a well-known specialist in comparative anatomy of vertebrates. The Department of Biology was formed on the basis of those departments, headed by the famous plant physiologist Prof. E.V. Votchal. In the first years, the scientific direction of the department has not yet been determined, and professors who have read separate courses in zoology and parasitology, conducted scientific research at the relevant departments of the university.
Systematic scientific research at the Department of Biology of the Kiev Medical Institute began with the arrival of Prof. M.V. Chernoyarov, who headed it from 1930 to 1939. The main focus of his scientific work was the study of gametogenesis and fertilization in plants and animals. Prof. Chernoyarov studied reduction division in plants, and his student K.Yu. Kostryukova studied gametogenesis in higher plants; her doctoral dissertation was performed at Kyiv University.
Prof. K.Yu. Kostryukova headed the Department of Biology in 1941 and directed it until 1968. During these years, studies of mitotic and non-mitotic cell division were carried out, as well as the intraspecific constancy of the number and shape of chromosomes. Unfortunately, the data obtained were interpreted from the standpoint of “Michurin” biology, ideas about the emergence of cells from non-cellular living matter and beliefs in the fallacy of genetics. Despite this, the department performed a number of interesting works on the study of spermatogenesis in vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as the fertilization process during various influences on reproductive function.
In 1968 the Department of Biology was headed by Prof. V.D. Dyshlovyi, who led the first-ever medical-genetic laboratory created in the Ukraine. With his assignment the department was restructured, the staff joined the implementation of complex scientific topics relevant to the theory and practice of medicine, which required the usage of modern methods of scientific research (cell cultivation, karyotyping, electron and luminescent microscopy, cytophotometry, autoradiography, etc.). The main scientific directions of the department during these years were cytogenetic and embryological research. The mathematical analysis of the mechanisms of cell reproduction was performed, the model of the interphase nucleus of eukaryotes was created, and value of the functional state of chromosomes in the processes of self-regulation and in the pathogenesis of chromosomal diseases was studied. In addition, the effect of various factors on biological objects and the human body was studied. Proposed by Prof. Dyshlovyi cytological express method of characterization of the general state of the organism on the basis of evaluation of features of nuclei of the buccal epithelium (karyogram) became contribution of the department to the practice of health care.
In 1989-1991 the department of biology was headed by the famous Ukrainian scientist, specialist in the field plant physiology, academician of the NAS of Ukraine K.M. Sytnik, who was director of the Institute of Botany of the NAS of Ukraine at the same time. From 1989 to 1992 the head of the department in this Institute was a famous botanist, corresponding member of the NAS of Ukraine S.P. Vasser, who was also a professor at the Department of Biology.
Since 1991, the Head of the Department of Biology is Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine in science and technology, Honored Teacher of Ukraine, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor O.V. Romanenko, who started new topical scientific directions in the fields of medical biology, human and animal ecophysiology, general ecology; has developed basic and applied researches of the modulatory role of biologically active compounds of vitamin nature and their derivatives in neuromuscular transmission and membrane processes, ways of action of natural origin toxins and their neutralization, adaptation of organisms to the urban- ecosystem technogenic transformation factors influence; laid the foundations of creation the textbooks on medical biology and the formation of a set of educational books to provide students with natural science training.