“The outstandingly talented young people move society forward, that is why the university’s talent support program has great relevance.”, says Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius, a professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy at Semmelweis University. He is the mentor of Gergő Erdei, who is studying at the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition Sciences at the Faculty of Health Sciences. Gergő Erdei has joined the researches in the area of food chemistry at an early stage of his participation in the program, he took part in several nutrition-health related programs and currently is planning the research of the dietetic therapy of patients suffering from fructose malabsorption.

Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius highlighted that it is a pleasure for him that the talent support program of Semmelweis University is named after his father, Dr. Ödön Kerpel-Fronius, who invested a lot of energy in order to involve young people in research projects. Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius says that it was especially a great happiness for his father when he managed to discover a talented young colleague, maybe that is the reason why he, as his son, is also glad to participate in the program as a mentor.

As Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius said, his relationship as a mentor with his student is absolutely fortunate because of two reasons. Up until now, mostly the students of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences joined the talent support program, but it would also be very important if students of the Faculty of Health Sciences could also make use of this opportunity. Apart from this, he got to know such a great young colleague in Gergő Erdei as a person, who not only has research plans but has started to deal with the practical application of his research results at an early stage. He is trustful that as a result of an active research work, Gergő will be among those excellent researchers, who have a significant role in the outlining of the backgrounds of healthy nutrition, both for healthy people and for patients suffering from chronic diseases.

Gergő Erdei has worked as a dietetics at Bátor Tábor (camp for children living with cancer or other chronic illnesses) for years. He also played an active role in the fight against unhealthy nutrition as a member of various professional organizations. According to his mentor, he can profit a lot from these professional experiences, since patients suffering from chronic diseases have special dietary needs, therefore there is a great need for appropriate professionals.

Gergő Erdei applied for the talent support program as a student of dietetics, at the end of his BSc studies, because he wanted to continue his research work dating back for several years. As he said, he was extremely happy to have such a mentor as Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius, who is a role model for him. As he recalled, he was so much looking forward to their first meeting, which was not only exciting, but he also received a lot of support related to available opportunities, what path to proceed on and what those qualities are which need to be strengthened in order to become a good researcher.

Gergő Erdei participated in the realization of nutrition-health surveys and programs during his university studies as employee of the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition. Besides this, he worked for a health development program designed for school children at the National Institute of Health Development, the aim of which was to promote healthy nutrition for school children outside of school as well. He was an active volunteer at Bátor Tábor for five years, and during the latest occasion he participated in the program as a leading dietetics. During his university years he completed a professional cookery training course, because he thought he would be able to provide a more efficient help as a dietetics in case he extends his knowledge in gastronomy.

Dr. Sándor Kerpel-Fronius highlighted that he first and foremost supports his student as a mentor related to the more general topics, since their professional activities are different. He emphasized that for him, it is an especially exciting relationship, and due to this he managed to learn a lot about areas that he had not dealt with before. “The mentor learns the most.”, he said.

Among the plans of Gergő Erdei currently the starting of his PhD studies is in the first place. He would like to do a research at the PhD School of Pathological Studies related to the dietary therapy of fructose malabsorption. As Gergő Erdei emphasized, the symptoms of this disease after having consumed fructose are abdominal distension, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, as a result of which the dietary opportunities of the patient are significantly reduced. Unfortunately, fructose is frequently and widely used in the modern food production. According to Gergő Erdei, in case these patients avoid the consummation of those products which might contain fructose, then vegetables and fruits should also be omitted from their menu, but these can be brought back by following an appropriate diet.

Péter Pogrányi
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi