About BRC - History - László Vígh

László Vígh

Magyarszerdahely, 6 February 1950
M.Sc. in Chemistry

Director of the Institute of Biochemistry of the BRC of the HAS („MTA”):
1994 – 2003


László Vígh was born in Magyarszerdahely, Zala County, Hungary, in 1950 and took his secondary school final examinations in Landler Jenő Grammar School in Nagykanizsa.

After graduating from university as a research chemist, he began his career in the middle seventies as a student of the late Tibor Farkas (a corresponding member of the US National Academy of Sciences and a full member of the HAS /„MTA”/), in the Institute of Biochemistry of the Szeged Biological Research Centre (BRC), where he had first begun to work as a student of chemistry and a member of a Students’ Scholarly Circle of József Attila University (Szeged) in 1973. From the year 1975, he was a Teaching Assistant of the Institute with a scientific scholarship, where he now works as a research professor. He has been leading a separate research group in the Institute (Molecular Stress Biology Group) since 1986 and defended his Doctor of Biological Sciences dissertation in 1991.

Between 1994 and 2003, László Vígh was the Director of the Institute of Biochemistry of the BRC. From 2001 until 2004, he was Deputy Director General of the BRC responsible for innovation and since the year 2008, he has filled in the same position, now being responsible for strategic matters. He has been a corresponding member of the HAS („MTA”) since 2004 and an honorary professor of Szeged University and Vice President of the Szeged Regional Committee of the Academy (“SZAB”) since 2005. He is a founding member of 2 PhD schools. In 2012 he received Gábor Dénes Prize.

László Vígh is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Straub Heritage Foundation, established in 1997. The most successful initiatives of this Foundation were the launching of the “Life Science Research Camps for Secondary School Students“ movement in the city of Szeged and the elaboration of the technology transfer and incubator house concepts built on the knowledge base of the Szeged Region. Between 1997 and 2003, he was a member of the Board of Directors of an American-Hungarian pharmaceutical research and development joint venture (Biorex-Rt.).

In cooperation with academician Ferenc Joó of the city of Debrecen, László Vígh introduced an internationally unique method for the measurement of the level of saturation of membrane lipids and the programmed modification of membrane fluidity using hydrogenating catalysts. Dr. Vígh and Dr. Joó received a Széchenyi Prize for these research results in 1998. A key milestone in the career of László Vígh was the creation of the so-called „membrane thermo sensor” hypothesis (1993). Together with the members of his group, Dr. Vígh is studying the stress sensing and signalling processes related to the lipid matrix of cell membranes and the operation of molecular chaperon like stress proteins and the opportunities of their application in the pharmaceutical industry.

László Vígh paid longer study visits to a number of foreign institutions, in a total of 6 years, to Holland’s Groningen State University (postdoc), the Pierre and Marie Curie University of Paris (visiting professor), Texas State University, Austin, the National Institute of Basic Biology Research Centre, Okazaki, Japan (visiting professor) and, on the latest occasion, to the University of California University, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

The number of his publications amount to about one hundred and eighty, their total impact factor is app. 520 and their total number of citations is app. 6500.