About BRC - History - Péter Závodszky

Péter Závodszky

Debrecen, 18 March 1939 -
Biophysicist, academician

Director of the Institute of Enzimology of the BRC of the HAS („MTA”): 2007 –


Péter Závodszky graduated in physics from Kossuth Lajos University, Debrecen, in 1962. He wrote his thesis under the supervision of Sándor Szalay, in the Institute of Nuclear Research of the HAS („MTA”). It was in the same year that he started his career as a researcher in the Biochemistry Institute of the HAS (“MTA”) (today: the Enzymology Institute of the BRC), under ?? the invitation of Brunó Straub F, where he dealt with the physical interpretation and experimental demonstration of the operation of the conformational dynamics of proteins. It was during this period (1964) that Straub’s „fluctuation fit” concept was elaborated. Péter Závodszky spent the next two years, 1964-1965, in Leningrad (today: Saint Petersburg), in the laboratory of Volkenstein, in the SZUTA Polimer Institute, studying the mechanism and functional role of ligand-induced conformation changes of proteins, using circular dichroism spectroscopy, a method qualifying as a novelty at the time. In 1971-1972, he worked in California Technical University (Caltech), Pasadena, studying the X-ray crystallography of proteins. On returning home, Péter Závodszky founded an independent laboratory of structural biochemistry in the Institute of Biochemistry of the HAS („MTA”). In 1977-1978, he researched the mechanism of the signal recognition and transmission by immunoglobulins, in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Rodney Porter, Oxford. From the year 2001, he was a corresponding member and, since 2007, a full member of the HAS („MTA”) and the President of the Biology Section. His key areas of research are structural biochemistry and molecular immunology. Péter Závodszky achieved significant results in the identification and understanding of the molecular structural foundation of the operation of enzymes and the activating mechanism of the complementary system. He has implemented a number of methodology developments that are utilised in practice. He developed the analytic ultracentrifuga of the MOM and a co-owner of several patents. He was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hungarian Optical Works (“Magyar Optikai Művek”) (1990-91) and a member of the Research Council of pharmaceutical company Richter Gedeon Rt. (1999-2007). Since 2002, he has been a Professor of PPKE ITK, is a member of Oxford Exeter College and the Faculty of Biochemistry of the University of California (UCLA ???), a member of the Hungarian Accreditation Committee (2001-2006), the Chairman of the Social Council of Debrecen University and the Chairman of the Hungarian Biophysics Society. He also plays an active role in scientific and technical public life: between 1999 and 2002, he was a member of the National Committee for Technological Development (“OMFB”; today called National Office for Research and Technology), a technology policy advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office (1999-2002), a founder of INNOSTART National Business and Innovation Centre, Co-Chairman of Baross Gábor National Economy Support Society, Vice President of the Hungarian Innovation Federation and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hungarian Association for Innovation. He is the author of over 150 scientific publications, two books and several book chapters. In the year 2007, Péter Závodszky was appointed Director of the Institute of Enzymology of the BRC.