MTA-SZTE Momentum Foldamer Research Group
The research carried out by Tamás Martinek and his group can result in new biomimetic, folding agent candidates that allow for the manipulation of protein-protein, protein-carbohydrate and protein membrane interactions. This is one of the biggest challenges in pharmaceutical research, which can bring us closer to the recognition and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and certain tumorous diseases. The researcher and his colleagues have reached remarkable success: they have produced new systems mimicking biomolecules which can identify neurotoxic protein aggregates and overcome their toxic effects. Being in the focus of Tamás Martinek’s research, foldamers are tested on many pharmacologically interesting target proteins. The industrial relations of the group are currently based on peptide-based immunotherapy developments (Treos Bio Inc.), furthermore, biomimetic cell penetrating systems are being developed (Richter Gedeon).
MTA-SZTE Momentum Porous Nanocomposites Research Team
Ákos Kukovecz turned his attention to nanotechnology about fifteen years ago, while working on his doctoral work, and since 2003 he has been researching inorganic and carbon nanofibers, nanotubes and their self-organizing arrays. With his Momentum group, he investigates the processes involved in the interaction of gases, fluids and solid materials in such organized networks across different length scales. The studies include a better understanding of the physical chemistry of interface phenomena, migration and evaporation of fluids in porous materials, and changes in the electrical conductivity and mechanical properties of solids as a result of the interactions. Basic research results are used to develop two directions of practical application. One of them is a new technique introduced by them in the practice of analytical chemistry: the use of evaporation profile measurement to make simple but highly selective sensors. The other is the optimization of gas diffusion layers critical to the functionality of fuel cells, especially for methanol fuel cells that are important for C1 economy. They are working together with their international partners in the field of the synthesis of nanoparticles and large-scale imaging, in the area of photovoltaics, sensor development, 2D nanostructures and developments in food metrology.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Photoelectrochemistry Research Group
Chemist Csaba Janáky continues his research into the exploitation of solar energy, started in the United States at the University of Szeged. He studies complex materials based on inorganic semiconductors and organic conducting polymers, from which fuels can be produced directly by using sunlight to convert CO2 to fuel (such as methanol). The properties and behaviour of these ordered nanostructured materials can be controlled by modifying their composition and manufacturing technology. The research group deals with the production and study of new semiconductor nanostructures and metal nanocatalysts. To this end, new study methods are developed to help detect the mechanism of various photoelectrochemical processes. Knowing the basic steps of these processes, it becomes possible to produce rationally designed photoelectrodes. A promising research direction is the development of various continuous flow electrochemical and photoelectrochemical reactors that open the way for practical use. The ultimate aim of the research program is to design reactors (photoelectrochemical cells) by which fuel can be produced using industrial exhaust gases. In order to achieve these ambitious goals, joint R & D projects are being carried out with European and American research teams and industrial players.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Biocolloids Research Group
The group has aimed at developing antioxidant dispersions by fastening natural and artificial enzymes to nanoparticles and by stabilizing the produced nanocomposites. In this process, superoxide dismutase, catalase and peroxidase enzymes and their mimetic compounds are immobilized on nanoscale titanium and transition metal hydroxide carriers and then their functional and colloid stability is increased using biocompatible polyelectrolytes. The antioxidant effect of the dispersions produced is evaluated in biochemical test reactions and biological systems. With the help of a modern instrument park at the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Szeged, the structure of the materials obtained is studied to the smallest detail and the relationships between the material structure and the operation are examined. The group conducts international co-operation in the matter with French, Australian, Slovenian, Austrian and Swiss laboratories. The successful implementation of the research enables the medical and industrial applications of the materials thus developed and hence the prevention of diseases and the improvement of the quality of products required for everyday life.
MTA-DE Momentum Functional Analysis Research Group
Lajos Molnár tries to determine the mapping between certain mathematical structures that preserve certain properties and conditions of the structural elements. His group formed in the framework of the Momentum (“Lendület”) Programme examines the similarity of certain parts of such structures from algebraic, analytical and geometrical considerations.
In the first part of their project, they seek to answer the question that if two structures or certain parts of them are geometrically similar (isomorphic) and there is, for example, a distance preserving transformation between them, is it to be inferred that the original large structures are also similar?
The activity of the Research Group is related to the mathematical research of the Smart Systems theme.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Oscillatory Neuronal Networks Research Group
Antal Berényi’s Research Group develops therapeutic procedures based on electric stimulation of the brain to treat neuropsychiatric and epileptic disorders that cannot be made asymptomatic by using available drugs. Their efforts are aimed at understanding the neurological changes that lead to these diseases. For this purpose, they carry out unique high-resolution studies in animal models to reveal the origins and patterns of dysfunctions affecting neural networks. They work out advanced statistical methods to evaluate data from their measurements. The identified abnormal patterns are corrected by self-developed spatially and time-focused electrical stimulation procedures. In the course of their work, a methodology for the automatic detection and almost immediate shutdown of certain epileptic seizures has been developed, which forms the basis of an implantable seizure monitoring system (brain defibrillator). The objective of the work team is to adapt their focused stimulation procedure over the next five years to treat other types of diseases, such as depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome, as well as to introduce focused ultrasonic stimulation procedures in addition to electrical stimulation modality. Their therapeutic development efforts are aimed at the treatment of disease groups with significant individual and social burdens, for which medical science currently has no alternative. Their expected results enable direct and short-term social and economic utilization.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Epithelial Cell Signalling and Secretion Research Group
József Maléth’s Research Group aims to better understand the regulation of epithelial cell function. Epithelial cells play an important role in the functioning of the body as they determine its fluid and ionic composition. In contrast, their impaired functioning leads to the development of inflammatory diseases, while their malignant transformation - to tumours. Therefore, the function of epithelial cells is precisely regulated, the details of which are scarcely known. Research in recent years has shown that the proteins involved in signal transmission spatially arranged in so-called microdomains, which helps optimize their function and regulation. The focus of the research group is on the composition of these domains, their role in physiological processes and in the development of diseases, with particular attention to the inflammatory and tumorous processes of the pancreas. They use advanced imaging techniques, molecular biological studies and various disease models during their investigations. The Research Group puts special emphasis on the applicability of their results to human medicine, so they use 3-dimensional human pancreatic organoids during their studies. The greatest advantage of the use of organoid cultures is that they are made up of viable human cells that retain their function and structure, and their long-term storage can be solved, therefore, a biobank can be created from them. With their help, human disease processes can be modelled more accurately, and they can also be used to model patient response to treatment, thus enabling preclinical testing of new therapeutic products, which may allow for potential economic utilization.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Fungal Pathogenicity Mechanisms Research Group
The aim of the project is to create a Microbiology and Pathogenomics research group, which would work on the microbiological and immunological examination of clinical strains and would study the pathogenetic processes of human pathogenic filamentous fungi with the help of a comparative application of permeable genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic processes and system biological methods. The group is to study the host–pathogen interactions, hypothesized virulence factors, the activity of antifungal agents, and the possibilities to develop the methods of molecular diagnostics with model systems associated with various primary illness types characterized by different symptoms (e.g. cystic fibrosis and other rare diseases, diabetes, immunosuppressive state). The models are to be selected in order to help the research and the development of therapy of rare diseases. A better understanding of immunological processes and the discovery of pathogenetic factors make it possible to identify new therapeutic targets and to develop more effective preventative and therapeutic processes. The research fits in with the efforts to improve the quality of life and increase life expectancy. Planned activities for the theme are: promoting personalized therapies by developing and testing new antifungal approaches (e.g. new types of antifungal agents, antibody-based treatments, nanotechnologically produced materials and carriers); characterization of genes involved in cell-cell interactions, those encoding cell surface proteins responsible for adherence to host cells, as well as genes involved in the control of tissue barriers and in immunomodulation; microbial examination of fungus in various tumorous diseases and possible use of microbiome for diagnostic purposes; studying the microbial host interactions to increase the effectiveness of tumour therapy procedures. For conducting comparative studies, a characterized microbial gene bank is to be created from strains derived from human and environmental samples.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Translational Gastroenterology Research Group
Gastroenterologist Prof. Dr. Péter Hegyi of the First Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Szeged examines the initial stages of the development of pancreatitis within the framework of the Momentum Programme. He is looking for biological targets susceptible to pharmacological intervention in his focus on prophylactics and specific treatments for pancreatitis. The research area is of outstanding importance due to the lack of a specific therapy for pancreatitis to this day even though it is the most common gastroenterological inflammation requiring urgent hospitalisation, where mortality may be as high as 30 to 50 percent with the serious form of the disease. Péter Hegyi believes that the Programme for Excellence of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences ensures the conditions of successful research, so he can implement his ambitious plans in Hungary.
MTA-SZTE Momentum Federal Markets Research Group
As a lawyer, Csongor István Nagy looks at the world’s federal markets from a comparative and economic point of view. The International Private and Economic Law and Competition Law Expert considers it a serious shortcoming that although the world’s federal markets (Australia, the United States, the European Union, etc.) face the same legal problems and their courts often have to decide on the same issues, so far, their systems have developed in isolation and have learned very little from each other. Forming an independent research group at the University of Szeged, István Nagy Csongor thinks that the scientific work carried out under the Momentum Programme is of global significance and has the potential to markedly show Hungary on the map of international legal science.