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The New Doctors of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Sixty-two researchers, including five from the University of Debrecen, received their diplomas certifying the awarding of the title Doctor of the Academy.
The ceremony was held on 4 December in the Ceremonial Hall of the building of the Academy.
“You may be justly satisfied, as you have been evaluated according to a strict system of requirements, with the best representatives of you disciplines assessing your achievement.” László Lovász, president of the Academy welcomed the new doctors. He encouraged them to contribute duly in their role of education, and in addition to raising the next generation of academics, also make an effort to ensure that not only those in the same specialization but interested laypersons should also be able to understand what they do and what results they have.
“To be a doctor of the Academy is a recognition that is well worth the additional burden undertaken by the candidates,” said Ernő Zalai, president of the Council of Doctors. As he discussed the figures concerning this year’s ceremony, he pointed out that relative to the previous year’s ninety, there were fewer new doctors of the Academy in 2015. He expressed his hope, however, that this decrease is not a tendency, and the number will be higher again next year.
The Statutes of the Academy provide that title Doctor of the Academy title may be awarded to those who who hold an academic degree, have enriched their field of science with original research results since the issuance of their degree, whose research activities are known to, and recognised as outstanding by, standard Hungarian and international experts of their field, and have synthesised their scientific results in a doctoral dissertation.
The new Doctors of the Academy from the University of Debrecen are:
Bay Péter
The PARP1 and PARP2 enzymes were originally described as proteins continuosly repairing DNA damage. It has then transpired that with the use of PARP inhibitors, certain tumours can also be treated well (e.g. breast cancer with mutations in the BRCA genes). Examining the functions of the PARP1 and PARP2 enzymes further and deeper, Péter Bay contributed several new discoveries in his discipline, which could be summarised in the following points.
He found that the lack or inhibition of the PAPR1 enzyme in the brown adipose tissue provides protection against obesity and type-2 diabetes.
He identified the molecular mechanism whereby the inhibition of PARP enzymes changes the energy balance of the body towards energy expenditure. This was by way of proving that PARP1 enzymes inhibit the expression of the SIRT1 protein, and therefore showing that the lack of the PARP1 leads to the activation of the SIRT1 enzyme, which causes an increase of the mitochondrial activity in the brown adipose tissue, the striated muscle and the liver, thereby increasing energy expenditure.
Using mice as model organisms, he successfully showed that the lack of the PARP2 enzyme reduces the quantity of the white adipose tissue, thereby providing protection against obesity. He also concluded that the absence of the PARP2 enzyme provides partial protection against the cell-damaging side-effect of chemotherapy using doxorubicin.
Csernátony Zoltán
In addition to the active practice of musculoskeletal surgery, extensive research and development activities are also carried out, based in the Biomechanics Laboratory founded by the University of Debrecen. The main focus is on spinal-, hip- and knee surgery. In these areas the most important activities are the development of implant and surgical techniques, surgical and operating room equipment and rehabilitation. The doctoral dissertations deal with research and development activities related to spinal surgery: the design and implementation of an innovative vertebra joint implant, the so-called CAB hook, and its mode of application, and the initial clinical results achieved with it.
Molnár V. Attila
He examines the taxonomy and ecology of two plant families, which mostly contain rare and endangered species. Orchids, which are intensively researched worldwide, and the plants in the hardly known Elatinaceae family different significantly not only in terms of the attention they receive, but also their biological properties (requirements for habitat, length of life cycle, type of pollination, etc.). His work is built on the methods of classic field botany, but also applies the methods of modern molecular genetics. With his colleagues he clarified the origin of the late spider orchid (Ophrys holoserica) and the taxonomic distinction of the Cyprus bee orchid (Ophrys kotschyi). He identified the connections between the flowering phenologic responses and certain cycle strategies (type of pollination, life cycle, propagation) that can be observed as a result of climate change in orchids, and also proved the neutrality of philogenetic relations. He made significant contributions to the body of knowledge available on the Himantoglossum, Ophrys and Elatinaceae genera. He described the seed morphologic properties of Elatine hungarica, which set it apart from other species, recognized that this data deficient species, believed to be extinct in the second half of the 20th century, typically occurs in wetlands, and clarified the environmental factors that have an impact on its extremely varied appearance over time. Significant accomplishments of his science-organising activities include the launching and editing of Kitaibelia, a journal of botany and nature preservation (1996),  as well as the starting of the conference series “Advances in the Research of Floristics and Vegetation in the Carpathian Basin” (1997).
Rurik Imre
In his first studies he examined the nutritional habits of elderly people, looking for age- and gender-related differences. He analysed the successfulness of nutritional counselling for diabetic and high cardio-vascular risk patients in primary care. He surveyed the level of knowledge related to obesity among Hungarian general practitioners. On the basis of health insurance data, he analysed the figures of Hungarian public spending on the treatment of obesity-related complications. On a primary care basis he organised and carried out what was so far the largest Hungarian obesity prevalence study, also looking for links in his fresh epidemiological data with place of living and level of education.
On the basis of his studies, in Hungary, people reach the highest body mass growth at age 30 to 50, and elderly people reach their highest body weight in their 50s or 60s.
Men who later develop diabetes have their highest body weight at age 20. Body weight increase in young age mainly increases the risk of diabetes among men, and mainly the risk of hypertension among women. There is no close correlation between obesity and educational attainment, but the proportion of obese women with higher education diplomas is lower, while men with college or university degrees are overweight more frequently. The proportion of registered metabolic diseases shows a close correlation with body mass, and an inverse correlation with the level of urbanisation. The proportion of overweight/obese persons and the occurrence of metabolic diseases is higher among those with lower levels of education and living in smaller settlements.
Szabó Szilárd
In environmental sciences, and within that in earth science, computational and IT-based methods have gained significant ground, which have created an opportunity for gaining , processing and evaluating data quickly. A key part of the methodology of landscape ecology is landscape metrics. The dissertation of Szilárd Szabó examines the critical use of these methods of landscape metrics in landscape analysis. Covering almost all areas of landscape metrics, he analyses, among other things, the uniqueness of the measurements, the opportunities for measuring patch connectivity with the use of metrics, and the influence of geometric and thematic resolution on the measurements of landscape fragmentation. On various sample areas, he examined the effect of the spatial and thematic resolution on certain landscape metric measurements, thereby preparing the way for subsequent research projects. In addition, the dissertation also discusses the principal terminology of landscape metrics, an interpretation of the landscape metric indexes, and provides a much needed comprehensive analysis of the methods of landscape metrics used in the Hungarian and foreign literature.
He proved that thematic resolution is of higher significance than geometric resolution, and that it influences the value of the fragmentation metrics. He also showed that the the territorial changes can be quantified with the use of landscape metric examinations. On the basis of the characteristics of landscape patterns, he identified the expedient area of use of metrics, and provided a new set of criteria for the evaluation of connectivity.
Vasas Gábor
He examined the toxic plankton blooms and their consequences both in actual environmental and laboratory conditions. He was the first to develop a cost-efficient method environmental analysis which allows the simultaneous measurement of metabolites of different character. Based on his examination of the widely-known toxin-producing golden alga (Prymnesium parvum), he described a new family of proteolytic active agents related to the organism. He examined the toxin production in a nitrogen-fixing toxin-producing cyanobaterium, in sulphur- phosphorus- and nitrogen-starved conditions. During a Microcystis-blooming registered by him in the winter period, he outlined a possible wintering strategy of the species. Upon the highly unusual occurrence in a shallow pond of a cyanobacterium, which is typically found in deep, multi-layered Alpine lakes, in addition to the toxin producing capability, he also examined the characteristics factors that could cause the toxin variabilty occuring in the natural mass-productions in case of the large-scale occurrence of a given species. He examined the characteristics of the European chemotype of the invasive Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii cyanobacterium, carefully watched around the world due to the toxic bloomings, as well as the characteristics of its toxin production.
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