The Institute was founded in 1964 as the Department of Animal Physiology of the Institute of Experimental Biology and it became an independent Institute in 1969. The Institute is dealing with the basic research of animal physiology as the only one in Slovakia.
Our main scientific aim is focused on the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract and on molecular diagnostics of the commensal microflora related to healthy food and health protection in animals and humans. The research oriented to the relationship nutrition – microorganism – digestion – host organism is based on a complex analytic approach, based on the animal experiments as well as on in vitro models (cell culture, parabiotic chamber, Rusitec system). The major focus is on host – microorganism interactions and the possibilities of manipulation of the physiology of digestion by probiotics, antimicrobial substances of plant origin, bacteriocines and polyunsaturated fatty acids with respect to enzyme activities in enterocytes, antioxidant enzymes and to the production of cytokines as well the role of microorganisms in enteritis. The possible replacement of antibiotics in the feed with respect to the dynamics of the development of antibiotic resistance in commensal microflora represent a major part of recent research activities.
Our research is focused also on the role of kidneys in ruminants and their renal functions (glomerular filtration, resorption in tubular and pelvical structures) are studied.
Original results are obtained in the framework of deep analysis of functional maturation of small intestine in rodents in relation with experimentally induced changes in early nutrition using quantitative histochemistry of mucosal enzymes.
In the area of the regulation of oocyte growth and preimplantation embryo development we are analyzing complex molecular interactions determining physiological processes during ontogenesis.
Possible applications of our results are in the veterinary diagnostics, rationalization of antibiotic therapy, optimizations of digestive physiology and food intake, in the reproductive biotechnology as well as in the environment protection.
Key words: digestive tract, microorganisms, antibiotic resistance, probiotics, antimicrobial plant compounds, bacteriocines, polyunsaturated fatty acids, selenium, antioxidative enzymes, kidney physiology, food intake, metabolism, immunocytochemistry, preimplantation embryo, RT-PCR