Department of Immunology and Biotechnology

History

The Department of Immunology and Biotechnology (previously "Immunological and Biotechnological Laboratory") was established in 1991 as an independent teaching, research, and diagnostic unit of the University Medical School of Pécs. Research and R&D activities were started by Peter Németh’s research group in the field of molecular and cellular immunology in the Department of Pathology during the early 1980’s. Special courses were held by Peter Németh regularly on the current theoretical immunology and immunopathology for voluntary students in every year between 1981 and 1991. These informal lectures (usually held in the student`s college club) enjoyed considerable popularity. The lecture series were completed later by György Szekeres, Zsuzsa Bebök, Timea Berki and Péter Balogh, the first research fellows of the group.

These two main aspects – research and teaching – and the successful grant activity supported the progression from a small research group to a new, well equipped university department during a relatively short period from 1981 to 1991.

The Immunological and Biotechnological Laboratory exhibited intensive R&D activity from the beginning, and specialized for monoclonal antibody production by hybridoma technology. Since 1981 more than 250 new hybridoma cell lines have been developed in the group mainly for the own research but some for commercial use as well.

Successful theoretical research fields were developed consequently in three major themes parallel with the monoclonal antibody production.

The research group partially separated  inside the Department of Pathology between 1986-1989 (under the name of “Biotechnological Facility”) and was brought to total independence in 1991 with the establishment of the Immunological and Biotechnological Laboratory responsible in teaching a regular subject – Basic Immunology – for medical students and biologists.

The official name of the laboratory changed to the “Department of Immunology and Biotechnology” in 1996, and at the same time Péter Nemeth was appointed to the first professor and chairman.

The basic infrastructure development of the department was carried out between 1989-1990 in the ground floor and during the year 1995 in the first floor. An old university building – located in a separated block inside of the university campus - was reconstructed according to the needs of a modern research facility for biosciences. The building now houses several laboratories, including a teaching room for seminars and laboratory skills, special laboratories for the immunodiagnostical examinations, the room for the cell depository, a library, and the offices of staff members. The National Hybridoma Cell Bank is placed in the Department as an official depository for hybridoma cell lines, and serves as a regional source of other reference cell lines (human, mouse and rat) as well.

The technical tools include instruments for long term in vitro cell culture procedures, equipments for immunochemical and biochemical analysis, protein purification, nucleic acid techniques, and microscopes for light and fluorescent morphological investigations.

The building has its own computer network, linked to the main University system, enabling full e-mail and Internet contact worldwide. The Department of Immunology and Biotechnology is furnished with an up to date technical capacity, and keeps well trained coworkers employed, specialized in the field of the current molecular and cellular biological methods.

One of the most important aims of the institute was to integrate clinical and theoretical immunology and keep good contacts with the clinics of the region. First the cooperation was only consultation than since 2001 it has routine immunodiagnostical services for the clinics of Pécs and the region too. Now the Department has two specialists and two residents.

Contacts

Institute Director: Dr. Timea Berki, full professor
Address: 7624 Pécs, Szigeti út 12.
Phone: +36-72-536-288
Fax: +36-72-536-289

Homepage: http://www.immbio.hu

Each year, the Medical School recognizes 3 departments and 3 clinics, the best lecturers of theoretical and clinical subjects as well as excellent practice instructors based on the votes of graduating students.

Each year the Dean and the Director of the Clinical Centre recognize the performance of 3 theoretical and 3 clinical departments with the Excellent Department/Excellent Clinic award.