Project summary:

The study of the chemical composition of objects preserved in museum collections by analytical chemistry can provide interesting insights (i) for the correct historical and material interpretation of such objects, (ii) deeper insights into the knowledge and skill of our ancestors, (iii) for a safer and longer-term preservation (or restoration) of these objects in museum collections, and finally (iv) new chemical information as such. As part of our group’s long-term focus on the analysis of historical drug remains, this PhD project will study the stability and possible degradation of ingredients in historical drug remains dating from the 18th to the 20th century. For this purpose, different separation techniques (HPLC, GC) and spectroscopic techniques (mass spectroscopy, Raman and infrared spectroscopy) will be used, optimizing the methods of sample preparation, the measurement itself, and interpretation of the data obtained. The data obtained will be used (i) for determination of stability of ingredients of such historical remains, (ii) authentication of the samples analysed (including comparison with contemporary recipes and/or newly prepared replicates according to these recipes), or (iii) in the case of samples whose composition is unknown, to determine the original recipe or purpose. The results of this PhD project will provide new analytical strategies and new information for the history of pharmacy and chemistry.

Candidate requirements: MSc. or equivalent in analytical chemistry (or similar field), working knowledge of the English language, and experience with separation methods and mass spectrometry.

Related publications:

[1] Kudláček K., La Nasa J., Ribechini E., Colombini M. P., Nesměrák K.: Study of the molecular compositions of ointments from the 18th baroque pharmacy of the Capuchin monastery in Hradčany (Prague, Czech Republic). Microchemical Journal 190 (2023), 10868. DOI: 10.1016/j.microc.2023.108680

[2] Nesměrák K., Kudláček K., Babica J.: Analytical chemistry studying historical pharmaceuticals and health care formulations. Monatshefte fur Chemie – Chemical Monthly 148 (2017), 1557–1568. DOI: 10.1007/s00706-017-1985-x

[3] Nesměrák K., Janoušková E., Červený V., Hraníček J., Šimonová A., Kunešová J., Němec I.: Identity and purity of historical remains of inorganic pharmaceuticals from the eighteenth century. Monatshefte fur Chemie – Chemical Monthly 154 (2023), 1003–1011. DOI: 10.1007/s00706-023-03092-1

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