A short historical overview

The history of the Department has started in 1966 when György Ádám, MD, DSc, a senior associate professor at the Budapest Medical School had been invited to be a full professor at the Department of Zoology and had been trusted with establishing a new department. That’s how the Department of Comparative Physiology, a unique and first formation of its kind in Hungary, came to alive. This department has been characterised by the regular use of chronic animal surgical preparations, by the multitude of acute and chronic recording methods as well as by the widespread human research activities. It has also always been known about its multiple approaches to the neurophysiological problems from the neurons through the brain up to the behaviour.

Following its establishment, the Department has started to teach physiology for biology and biology-teacher students. The new curricula of these courses were regarded as state-of-the-art and innovative not only in this country but in the whole region as well. In the 70-ies, we also started to teach physiology and later anatomy-and-physiology for psychology students which has continued up to the present time, including English language programs, too. In the 90-ies, our PhD programme entitled “Neurobiology of the Behaviour” was among the first of those accredited when the new PhD-education system had been introduced. It is now a Programme of the Biology Doctoral School and is called “Neurosciences and Human Biology”. The latest development has been the initiation of a post-secondary educational form called “Pharmacology Technicians” in which technicians and laboratory assistants learn up-to-date methods used in physiological and pharmacological research and development.

In the meantime, the Department was renamed to Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, corresponding to the new profile of the research and teaching activity of the members. In addition to teaching general (classical) physiology in the BSc and BA level, an extended MSc program is run that covers most of the aspects of neurophysiology and psychological physiology, including neuronal cell-biology and –development, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, behavioural assessment and psychophysiology. Research activities also extend from cell to behaviour offering a wide range of methodology as well as of conceptual approach to neurobiological research. In addition to the fields covered by the staff itself, wide range of co-operative activity provides excellent research facilities for students, including experimental medicine, neurosciences, pharmaceutical research and drug development, physiological ethology and psychology.

The Department is now headed by Professor László Détári DSc, and includes some 10 members of the teaching staff and 5 members who assist research and administration. As an average, 5-7 PhD students and 7-10 graduate students have the opportunity to work here with some equal number of students working in other institutions but belonging to the MSc and PhD programs run by the Department.