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Cell Analysis Section

History of the Cell Analysis Section

The Cell Analysis Section of the Hungarian Biophysical Society was founded as an associated society of ISAC (International Society for Advancement of Cytometry) in 1995. The section recruits its members from among scientists working in the field of flow and imaging cytometry including those who develop and apply such techniques. The founding president of the section was János Szöllősi who was assisted by László Mátyus and later by Béla Molnár as a secretary. Peter Nagy took over the presidency of the Cell Analysis Section in 2011 helped by Andrea Bodnár as a secretary. The membership of the section fluctuates around 40-50.

A substantial fraction of the scientific activity of the Cell Analysis Section focuses on studying the clustering of proteins, especially cell surface receptors, and the biological significance thereof. Receptors for growth factors and extracellular matrix proteins involved in the development of human cancers, molecules playing a role in the regulation of the immune response and lipid raft-associated proteins stand at the forefront of interest in the scientific works of the members of the society. In addition, significant work is carried out in the area of molecular cytogenetics. The former secretary of the society, Béla Molnár, and his colleagues have achieved outstanding results in the development of virtual microscopy.

A significant result of the scientific organizational activity of the section is to have organized the Hungarian Cell Analysis Conference several times. The popularity of the event is signified by the fact that more than 300 scientists regularly register for the conference. In addition to lectures and poster presentations tutorials were also held where young scientists and laboratory technicians could gain theoretical introduction and hands-on experience with the basics of cytometry methods. In 2007 the 6th Hungarian Cell Analysis Conference was a joint event with the International Semmelweis Symposium where the scientific scope was extended to include molecular gastroenterology and array techniques.

The Cell Analysis Section organized a lecture and practical course “European Summer School: Frontiers in Cell and Immune Technology” in cooperation with the German Cytometry Society in 2003. Lectures were held in the hotel resort at Hortobágy-Epona while laboratory practicals took place at the University of Debrecen. The summer school had 45 participants, out of whom 30 were students preferentially from countries neighboring Hungary.

The Cell Analysis Section played a key role in organizing the 26th conference of ISAC in Budapest between May 17-21, 2008. The chairman of the organizing committee was János Szöllősi. The topics of high quality plenary and parallel lectures revolved around the key concept of the event “Cytometry in the Age of Systems Biology”. Almost 1100 scientists from 28 countries from around the world participated in the 5-day event. The scientific program of the conference was well received internationally and the cultural program also contributed to the success of the congress. On the occasion of the conference a special issue of Cytometry was published in which Hungarian scientists could publish their newest results.

János Matkó, one of the members of the Cell Analysis Section, organized the 11th conference on Methods and applications of fluorescence (MAF-11) in Budapest between Sep. 6-9, 2009. The MAF conference series is known for the friendly environment and intense scientific discussions which were the attributes of the conference in Budapest as well.

Members of the Cell Analysis Section, György Vámosi, Peter Nagy, Andrea Bodnár and György Vereb, organized an EMBO-supported course “Studying protein-protein interactions by advanced light microscopy and spectroscopy” (embo2011.unideb.hu). Twenty-five young researchers from several countries of Europe took part in the course where they could get acquainted with FRET, correlation spectroscopy and FRAP. In addition to laboratory practicals held by teachers of the Department of Biophysics, University of Debrecen, Hungary, lectures were held by several world-renowned speakers. Members of the Cell Analysis Section contributed to the organization of the EBSA (European Biophysical Societies’ Association) conference in Budapest in 2011.

Several members of the Cell Analysis Section received important national and international decorations. In 2004 János Szöllősi was elected a member of the ISAC Council. The current president of the section, Peter Nagy, received the Young Fluorescence Investigator Award from the Biophysical Society on the annual conference of the society in Baltimore in 2011. Also in 2011 ISAC donated the “Distinguished Service Award” to János Szöllősi, the former president of the Cell Analysis Section, for his continued support of the society and his achievements in cytometry research. László Mátyus was awarded the “Ányos Jedlik Prize” for his activity in intellectual property protection. László Mátyus was elected president of EBSA in 2011.