Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Biological Research Center Szeged, Hungary
József is interested in the genes that help a cell to orient itself within a tissue. His research team is on the hunt to identify the key players in cell polarity. The same sets of genes control polarity, not only within different fly tissues: wing, eye and thorax, but in different animals. For this reason flies are fundamental to understanding how healthy tissue forms, which is critical to improving our understanding of what goes wrong in cancer, where polarity is often lost.
The Biological Research Center at Szeged is the largest molecular biology institute in Hungary. In 2000 the BRC was nominated as a Center of Excellence by the European Union. The 300 scientists who work there also participate in educating students in addition to running international training courses for neighbouring and developing countries.
The institute has been recognised for its contribution to the development of important resources to study the fruitfly, Drosophila. József and his group are at the core of such work on development. They have developed new genetic techniques for studying flies and are experienced in the testing of new pharmacological compounds, having worked with Aventis CropScience (now belonging to the Bayer Group) and SOLVO Biotechnology Ltd. (Szeged) to develop simple drug tests using flies.