About BRC - History - Pál Venetianer

Pál Venetianer

Budapest, 15 April 1935
Teacher of biology and chemistry

Director General of the BRC of the HAS („MTA”): 1994 - 1996
Director of the Institute of Biochemistry of the BRC of the HAS („MTA”): 1984 - 1993

Pál Venetianer was born in Budapest in 1935. He obtained a diploma at Eötvös Loránd University as a teacher of biology and chemistry in 1957. He started his research career in the Medical Chemistry Institute of Semmelweis Medical University, under the supervision of Brunó Straub F. His first significant research result was the discovery of the protein disulphide isomerase enzyme, which earned him the PhD Degree and an invitation to the laboratory of later Nobel laureate C.B. Anfinsen. Following his return to Hungary, his research focus shifted from biochemistry to molecular biology and when the Szeged Biological Research Centre was founded, he became the Head of the Nucleic Acid Group of the Institute of Biochemistry of the BRC. It was here that the practical application of the recombinant DNA-technology (genetic engineering) and DNA-sequencing started in Hungary: a number of researchers from Hungary and neighbouring countries learnt these methods in this Group. These activities and achievements of Pál Venetianer were recognised with an Academy Prize (1981) and a State Prize (1985).

Between 1973 and 1974, he spent another year in the USA, in the laboratory of Lasker laureate Philip Leder and later, in 1999-2000, he spent four months in the Tasuku Honjo Institute of Kyoto University.

Between 1978 and 1982, Pál Venetianer worked as Deputy Director of the Institute of Biochemistry of the BRC and as its Director from 1984 until 1993. In the period between 1994 and 1996, he was the Director General of the BRC, at present, he is an Emeritus Research Professor in the BRC. Since 1975, he has been an Honorary Professor of József Attila University (now called Szeged University).

In the year 1991, Pál Venetianer was the first Hungarian ever to be elected a member of the EMBO. He was a member of the Council of this organisation for four years and Vice President for one year.

He was elected member of Akademia Europaea (London) in 1992 and member of Germany’s Leopoldina (today called the German Academy of Sciences) in 1995.

Pál Venetianer defended his doctoral dissertation in 1975 and was a corresponding member of the HAS („MTA”) from 1987 and has been a full member since 1996. In the year 1997, he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, Medium Cross (“Köztársasági Érdemrend Középkeresztje”).

Besides his research activities, summarised in some 100 scientific publications, he has always carried out broad teaching and popular science propagation activities and is the author of 5 popular scientific books, written for the general pubic as the target audience.