By invitation, two senior members of this group (G Szabo & Z Katarova) have moved to the institute 5 years ago with the mission to integrate molecular biology and trangenic approach into the classical" neuroscience research of the institute and to establish an independent research direction of their own that focuses on the molecular and genetic bases of brain function, development and disease.
Using the set up money provided by the institute and own grants, they established molecular biology, tissue culture and transgenic labs, and a mol biol core facility. A senior research fellow (F. Erdélyi) was recruited in 1999, who had a major role in introducing transgenic technology, second in the country. In March 2000, a foreign grad student, M. Schwirtlich (M.S.) joined the group, followed by a junior research fellow, I. Szatmári (I.S.) in May 2001. A number of undergrad students passed trough the lab from whom A. Kvakovszki (A.K) staid as a PhD student. Z. Máté (Z.M.) another undergrad student will start his PhD training in our group this fall.
The developmental research direction is headed by Z. Katarova. M.S., who has considerable experience with tissue culture and molecular biological techniques, is involved in in vitro neuronal differentiation and stem cell technology. As a future direction of the lab, she will be involved in establishing knockout technology. A. K., a former undergrad student of the lab in, has mastered both molecular biological and morphological techniques. This anatomical skill is essential for studying GABA-signaling by a complex approach.
Studies on nervous system specific gene regulation by using transgenic technology, another important research direction of the lab, are supervised by head of the group. In these projects, F. Erdélyi is responsible for making DNA constructs and generating, as well as analyzing transgenic mice. Our transgenic mice that express GFP in most of the GABAergic neurons are being used all over the world for collaborative research to identify GABAergic cells in a wide range of studies. The other members of the transgenic team (I.S., on maternity leave for at least a year and Z.M., a future grad student) are mostly involved in introducing new transgenic technologies (inducible and BAC-based) and making DNA tools for genetically targeting different neuronal cell types, a future joint research direction with other groups of the institute (Freund & Sperlágh groups).
In addition to their own research activities, the whole group devotes considerable amount of time to help other groups with molecular biological techniques. In the past two years the lab head, helped by members of his lab, was fully occupied by setting up the new Medical Gene Technology Division (MGDT) of the Institute from writing and managing institutional grants, working out the concept, overseeing the planning and construction, recruiting new staff to establishing the SPF animal and transgenic technology. From September, 2003 he also became the head of the Division and F. Erdélyi left the group and became the head of the transgenic unit. The Division provides transgenic service to research organizations and to industry.
Since their transgenic lab got integrated into MGTD the group is being restructured. From 2004 F. Erdélyi is replaced by a senior developmental biologist (Z. Lele), who got his PhD in Canada and returned to Hungary after his second post doc period in England and will work partly on the role of cell adhesion molecules in CNS development and plasticity.