Nearly 300 presentations in 35 Hungarian and 6 international sections were submitted to the Scientific Student Conference (TDK), which was held online this year due to the current epidemic situation. At the opening ceremony, several awards related to TDK were presented, including the awardees of the Rector’s Scientific Project Work.
“As a former TDK student, I believe that the TDK conference is the most important workshop operating at our university. Our students may get to know the world of science beyond the textbooks here. The approximately 1,000 talented students participating in TDK take on very serious challenges beyond textbooks and studying, and these students represent the future for us”, said Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector, in his opening speech.
According to the Rector, the Semmelweis University TDK in 2021 is an integral part of the university’s 250th anniversary events, which was organized online for the first time this year to adapt to the epidemic situation, but he expressed his hope that next year the event may take place in the usual, traditional way.
“Nearly 300 presentations were submitted to the conference, in 35 Hungarian and 6 international sections; and in the framework of the international TDK, participants of 13 higher education institutions from 8 countries applied with 64 presentations. The pandemic also has an effect on science, and in this situation, programs such as TDK are particularly important, where future researchers and the youngest members of science can represent themselves”, said Dr. Béla Merkely.
“It is convincing to me that the members of the Semmelweis University TDK were able to carry out their research with equal force despite the current difficulties of this pandemic period. Their enthusiasm has not diminished, they have found the opportunity and the way to produce high-quality, valuable scientific materials in preparation for the 2021 conference”, said Dr. Attila Szijártó, President of the Scientific Student Association of Semmelweis University.
He was particularly pleased that early and recent researches on the new type of coronavirus infection can also be presented at this year’s event.
“All this is a proof that medicine is able to innovate, and the new situations, challenges are encouraging researchers to explore the broad range of the theoretical and clinical background of the disease”, said Dr. Attila Szijártó.
He drew attention to and emphasized the importance of TDK’s talent support and management as well as the value of the master-student relationships along which generations have been raised.
“This year, the usual TDK conference of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences has expanded, as a conference of the Faculty of Health Sciences will be held at the same time. Accordingly, TDK was forged into a unit and turned into a major university event”, Dr. Attila Szijártó highlighted.
“TDK is a Hungaricum ensuring that students may get acquainted with the world of science, and now the world of science and innovation, as early as possible”, said Dr. Péter Ferdinandy, Vice-Rector for Science and Innovation.
He emphasized that TDK secures the future, including prospective researchers, lecturers, rectors, and vice-rectors of Semmelweis University. The Vice-Rector also highlighted the importance of research in health industry, to which the COVID-19 epidemic drew everyone’s attention. Dr. Péter Ferdinandy also spoke about a new element of this year’s conference, the encryption of presentations, which aims to draw the attention of students and supervisors to think not only in scientific publications but also in defensible intellectual property.
At the opening ceremony of the event, the Semmelweis University Outstanding TDK Teacher Awards as well as the Outstanding TDK Student Awards were presented, in recognition of the first author’s publications in 2020 (the list of awardees can be found at the end of the article). Richter Gedeon Nyrt. received the award certificate of Semmelweis University Outstanding TDK Sponsor this year as well. The list of awardees of the Rector’s Scientific Project Work was presented as well.
“In case of the Rector’s Scientific Project Work, students have to position their own work well and present it in an appropriate environment, placed among the current scientific results, so that it represents an even greater value, up to three times greater, than an outstanding dissertation. This year, 56 applications have been received for the scientific project work, and their high standard can be the basis for future research activities, with which students make a significant contribution to Semmelweis University’s goal of being among the top 100 higher education institutions in the world”, pointed out Dr. Béla Merkely.
“If TDK is a Hungaricum, then the Rector’s Scientific Project Work is a similar system typical of the university, supporting students with outstanding talent. The number of applications received also proves that the coronavirus did not decrease the scientific activity of the students. Out of the 14 awardees of the first prize, 11 have received recognition due to an already published English language publication, which means that it is becoming more and more difficult to win the award”, emphasized Dr. József Tímár, President of the Evaluation Committee.
He also highlighted that this year, for the first time, there are students participating in the German language training as well as students of the Faculty of Health Sciences among the recipients of the first prize. The list of award winners can be found here (pdf).
During the opening session, Dr. Andrea Fekete, Associate Professor of the 1st Department of Pediatrics, who was awarded with the Semmelweis University Outstanding TDK Teacher Award at the event, held a presentation entitled “Sigma-1 receptor activation as a new treatment option in the treatment of lung processes caused by COVID-19”. She presented fibroproliferative diseases as well as the phenomenon of fibrosis, the production of fibrotic tissues through the kidneys. She then described the role of the Sigma-1 receptor in influencing fibrotic damage and the development of fluvoxamine therapy based on it, which was developed and patented by Dr. Andrea Fekete and her research team. For the discovery, they won the Semmelweis Innovation Award in 2016, the Academic Excellence Award in 2019, and the Gábor Dénes Award in 2020. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, based on international publication results, the idea arose that Sigma-1 receptor agonist fluvoxamine could reduce SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and fibrosis. Further research and experiments confirmed the hypothesis, therefore they received funding by the state and the university in 2020, and a phase II clinical trial could begin in November last year.
Semmelweis University Outstanding TDK Teacher Award:
Dr. Andrea Fekete, associate professor, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, 1st Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Péter Sótonyi, department head, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Heart and Vascular Centre, Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Dr. Szabolcs Béni, associate professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacognosy
Zoltánné Horváth, college professor, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Dietetics and Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Judit Borbély, associate professor, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Dentistry, Department of Prosthodontics
Dr. Henriett Pintér, college associate professor, Semmelweis University, András Pető Faculty, Institute of Human Sciences
Semmelweis University Outstanding TDK Student Award:
Supervisors: Dr. Orsolya Kiss, senior lecturer, Heart and Vascular Centre, Dr. Béla Merkely, professor, Heart and Vascular Centre
Bálint András Barta
Supervisor: Dr. Tamás Radovits, associate professor, Heart and Vascular Centre, Department of Cardiology
Bettina Katalin Budai
Supervisor: Dr. Pál Kaposi Novák, associate professor, Medical Imaging Centre – Department of Radiology
Bálint Péter Bányai
Supervisors: Dr. Eszter Mária Horváth, associate professor, Department of Physiology; Dr. Szabolcs Várbiró, associate professor, 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Tamás Györke, associate professor, Medical Imaging Centre – Department of Nuclear Medicine; Dr. Sándor Czibor, specialist, Medical Imaging Centre – Department of Nuclear Medicine
Dr. Noémi Daradics
Supervisors: Dr. Bence Ágg, Heart and Vascular Centre; Dr. Zoltán Szabolcs, Heart and Vascular Centre
Supervisors: Dr. Gábor Kovács, professor, department head, 2nd Department of Pediatrics; Dr. Ágnes Semsei Félné, senior lecturer, Department of Genetics, Cell- and Immunobiology
Dr. Tamás Gergely
Supervisors: Dr. Gábor Brenner, PhD student, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy; Dr. Zoltán Giricz, senior research fellow, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy
Dr. Rozina Ida Hajdú
Supervisors: Dr. Gábor Márk Somfai, senior lecturer, Department of Ophthalmology; Dr. Ákos Lukáts, senior lecturer, Department of Molecular Biology
Dr. Dávid Árpád Karádi
Supervisors: Dr. Al-Khrasani Mahmoud, associate professor, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy; Dr. Mihály Balogh, senior lecturer, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy
Dr. Roland Stengl
Supervisors: Dr. Kálmán Benke, heart surgeon specialist candidate, Heart and Vascular Centre; Dr. András Bors, clinical biochemist, South Pest Central Hospital National Institute of Hematology and Infectology Molecular Genetic Laboratory
Dr. Krisztina Vén
Supervisors: Dr. Éva Ruisanchez, senior lecturer, Department of Translational Medicine; Dr. Zoltán Benyó, professor, Department of Translational Medicine
Dr. Krisztián Zichó
Supervisor: Dr. Gábor Nyiri, lead researcher, Institute of Experimental Medicine
Award for a first author publication published in 2020:
Supervisor: Dr. Bálint Gergely Szabó, Semmelweis University Doctoral School, TDK PhD student
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University (illustration)
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi