Dr. Laszlo Szekeres: Szeged, Hungary
With over half a century of experience researching cardiovascular disease, Dr. László Szekeres is nearing his 90th birthday with the distinguished title of Professor Emeritus of the Institute of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Medical Faculty of the University of Szeged, Hungary. In his early days as a scientist, he received numerous scholar-ships and grants, and studied as a “Riker” fellow at the University of Oxford. In addition, he was elected twice as a member of the Organizing Committees of the II (Prague 1962) and VII (Paris 1978) World Congress of the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR).From 1967-1991 he served as a Professor and Director of the Department of Pharmacology, University Medical School of Szeged, during which from 1968-1977 he was the Pro-rector. Dr. Szekeres studied various aspects of heart disease, including metabolic changes as a result of hypoxia and ischaemia, researching mechanisms to prevent sudden cardiac death due to acute myocardial infarction, and the effects of prostacyclin and 7-oxo-prostacyclin on angina pectoris as endogenous cardioprotective components. However, his most significant contributions to the field of cardiovascular research stems from his work on arrhythmias. He was the first to outline a comprehensive analysis of the mode of action of anti- arrhythmic drugs, elaborating on several “in vivo” models of experimental arrhythmias and contributing to the elucidation of they occur. Throughout his career he received numerous honourary degrees and memberships including, ‘Doctor Honoris Causae’ from both the Jagellonian University of Cracow and Karl Eberhard Universitaet, as well as being an Honourary member of the Czechoslovak Pharmacological Society and the Polish Physiological Society. He has served on numerous editorial boards including the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Journal de Pharmacologie (Paris), and Acta Medica Hungarica. One of his crowning achievements, however, was his establishment of the East-European Subsection of ISHR where he served as president from 1984-1993, being a crucial player in promoting this subsection’s joining to the European section of ISHR. He accomplished this while serving as a Councilor of ISHR from 1983- 1992.He was also the founder of the “Szeged School of Cardiovascular Pharmacology” which is now an internationally renowned cardiovascular research center. He has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Bronze Medal of the Helsinki University, Hungarian State Gold Medal of the “Order of Labour”, two awards from the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture for high standard textbook and monograph, the first “Gábor György” Award and Medal of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology as well as the Medal of Merit of ISHR and the first “Howard Morgan Award for Distinguished Achievements in Cardiovascular Sciences” from the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. In addition, in 2002 he was honoured by denominating the symposia regarding cardiac arrhythmia: Szekeres Symposium. He has also been an invited speaker to numerous congresses and symposia through Europe and the world including Canada, US, Japan, Israel, India, and China. In summary, he has published 295 full text articles in peer-reviewed journals and books, 76 book chapters, 304 abstracts, and edited 7 books. In addition to his meritorious contributions to the field of heart research, where he is regarded as a sophisticated, intelligent speaker and an amiable gentleman, he is also an accomplished painter.