University of Pécs
The University of Pécs plays a significant role in Hungarian higher education training Hungarian and foreign students alike in a broad variety of disciplines. With its approx. 23,000 students and nearly 2,000 teaching and research staff the impact of the University of Pécs extends well beyond the city.
Biotechnology Teaching at the
University of Pécs
Biotechnology teaching in the Faculty of Medicine started in the late 1990s by Professor Péter Németh who introduced biotechnology as an elective subject for medical and pharmacy students. As the modern higher EU educational training system called the Bologna process was introduced in Hungary too, the traditional training programmes -except for medicine and pharmacy- were replaced by a three-tier system consisting of a basic training programme (BA, BSc), a master level programme (MA, MSc), and doctoral level (PhD, DLA) programme. In 2009 the Masters Programme in Medical Biotechnology was developed by Professor Judit E Pongracz, and accredited by the Hungarian Higher Education Accreditation Board. This programme is unique in the country, as both foreign and Hungarian students study biotechnology together in English. The interest is increasing towards the programme as the theoretical training is complemented with in-depth laboratory training providing ever broadening opportunities for Biotechnology MSc students to participate in exiting research topics as exchange students in research laboratories and at biotech companies as an integral part of their education. Likewise, an increasing number of international students apply to various research laboratories to conduct part of their research training at the University of Pécs. As direct consequence of increasing interest in the Biotechnology MSc programme, apart from the Medical Biotechnology specialization, a new specialization, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, will be introduced from 2015 to provide opportunities for students who intend to focus more on drug discovery and testing processes.
The Biotechnology MSc programme Director, Professor Judit E Pongracz -with the help of enthusiastic members of research and teaching staff of the University of Pécs- works continuously on expansion and improvement of co-operation with European universities and international research institutions. Amongst all the faculties, the Medical School invests the most heavily into biotechnology establishing well equipped teaching laboratories as well as seminar rooms. The Biotechnology teaching programme also makes use of the seminar rooms and research laboratories of the new Janos Szentagothai Research Centre.
Biotechnology Research at the
University of Pécs
With the establish-ment of the János Szentágothai Research Centre the previously fragmented research potential around the health industry of Pecs has become concentrated and focussed. The Research Centre provides highly equipped modern laboratories to perform interdisciplinary research. This environment is absolutely essential for innovative research directions in the field of biotechnology. From the 23 research groups of the Research Centre, the tightest cooperation in biotechnology research and education has been established amongst the following research groups: Functional Genomics Research Group (Prof B Sümegi); Functional Protein Dynamics Research Group (Prof M Nyitrai); Human Genetic and Pharmacogenomic Research Group (Prof B Melegh); Lab-on-a-Chip Research Group (Prof GL Kovacs); Microbial Biotechnology Research Group (Dr C Fekete); Molecular Pharmacology Research Group (Prof Z Helyes); Signal Transduction Research Group (Prof J Szeberenyi); Spectroscopy Research Group (Dr J Erostyak); Virological Research Group (Dr F Jakab) and Wnt Signalling Research Group (Prof JE Pongracz). The lively and target oriented research environment as well as support from research colleagues have led directly to preparations to set up a university patent-based spin-off company, Humeltis Ltd, “The Lung Tissue Company”. Humeltis Ltd is focussing on tissue engineering of the distal lung tissue that includes important cellular elements of the immune system. The aim of the founder and CSO, Prof Judit E Pongracz, apart from providing tissue engineering, drug discovery, toxicity and efficacy testing services for industrial partners and universities, to maintain strong research and development connections with colleagues at the Research Centre and the University to facilitate establishing many more spin-off and start-up companies that are based on innovative research ideas and result at the University and the Research Centre in years to come.