Developmental anoikis: A novel mechanism protecting the developing brain

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process initiated by the loss of cell to cell, and cell to extracellular matrix connections, is extremely important in both normal development and various diseases (cancer metastasis, fibrosis). In order to protect the organism from the dire consequences of inappropriate EMT, a specific form of apoptotic process named anoikis exists which is initiated by pathophysiological loss of the epithelial cell contacts to its surroundings. During mammalian cortex development, a process very similar to EMT happens during delamination of the fate-comitted daughter cells after asymmetric cell division. It has been so far unknown however, whether an anoikis-like protective mechanism exist to prevent the survival of abnormally delaminated and non-comitted proliferating progenitor cells: Equally importantly, it remained also unknown of how the normally delaminating daughter cells such as postmitotic neurons escape cell death.

The latest results of the Momentum Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology offers a possible solution to both questions.  We used in utero electroporation of a dominant-negative N-cadherin construct to force untimely delamination of the ventricular zone proliferating progenitors called radial glia cells. We demonstrated that disrupting the adherens junctions that connects these cells,we could indeed initiate a protective apoptotic process that we termed developmental anoikis. In addition, we showed that both acute and subchronic (3-day regime) maternal ethanol exposure, representing heavy and medium intoxication respectively, also elicited a similar protective apoptotic process in the proliferating zones of the embryonic cortex. Finally, we identified ABHD4, a serine hydrolase with an unknown in vivo function as a sufficient and necessary mediator of developmental anoikis.

See for details:
*László Z, *Lele Z, Zöldi M, Miczán V, Mógor F, Simon GM, Mackie K, Kacskovics I, Cravatt BF and Katona I (2020) ABHD4-mediated developmental anoikis safeguards the embryonic brain. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18175-4.

Képek

Az egészséges idegsejtek osztódás után felvándorolnak az agykéreg felső rétegeibe, miközben az ABHD4 enzim szintje lecsökken. A hibás sejtekben azonban az ABHD4 segítségével beindul az anoikis típusú sejthalál jelensége.

A kép készítője Balogh Kata

A domináns N-cadherin elektroporálása megnövekedett sejthalált okoz (f és g panel), ami az ABHD4 génkiütött állatokban nem jelentkezik (h és i panel). Az ABHD4 visszajuttatása a génkiütött állatokba helyreállítja a megnövekedett sejthalált.

Az ABHD4 expressziója (lila színnel jelölve) az fejlődő agykéreg osztódó zónáiban. Az e. panelen, ami egy ABHD4 génkiütött állatból készült, látszik a jelölés specifikussága

Az adherens kapcsolatok (lilával jelölve) lebomlása a domináns negatív N-cadherin (zöld GFP markerrel jelölve) elektroporálása után (b és d panel) a csak GFP elektroporálásához képest (a és c panel).

Az anyai alkoholfogyasztás megnövekedett sejthalált okoz a vad típusú embriók agyában (a és c panel). Ezzel szemben az ABHD4 génkiütött állatokban (d panel) ez a növedés nem látható), ami bizonyítja, hogy az ABHD4 jelenléte szükséges a sejthalálszint emelkedéséhez.

A teljes tanulmány angol nyelven a nature.com-on érhető el.

Belarus in Maps, an atlas published by the CSFK Geographical Institute – background of the current situation in Belarus

Why are people protesting in Belarus under the white-red-white flag? Is it a Belarusian “Maidan”? Is it Belarus or Belorussia? How significant is the Russian minority or the Russian language use in Belarus? Why does Lithuania have close historical ties to Belarus?

If you are interested in the socio-economic and the historical and ethnical background of all these questions, Belarus in Maps published in 2017 by the CSFK Geographical Institute will serve as an excellent information source.

Recognizing the need to provide a factual, up-to-date and comprehensive overview of Belarus for both the scientific community and the broader public, a team at the Geographical Institute in Budapest has launched a complex research program in close cooperation with fellow geographers in Belarus. This atlas is the result of their collaborative efforts, which constitutes a further addition to the “in Maps” series initiated by the Geographical Institute in 2005. Like its predecessors, Belarus in Maps combines the features of a book and an atlas. The ninety-eight full-color maps and diagrams are complemented by authoritative explanatory texts written by a distinguished team of contributors from both countries. Beyond the usual topics of physical and human geography, separate chapters address issues of specific importance for Belarus, offering insights into the ethnic processes that led to the emergence of the Belarusian nation, the background to the Belarusian economic model, and the lasting impact of the Chernobyl disaster.

Available in both printed and electronic form, Belarus in Maps is destined to serve as an abundant source of information about the country.

Forrás: http://www.mtafki.hu/inmaps/#menu4

Tick season throughout the year: The effects of climate change and human activity on ticks and tick-borne pathogens

Gábor Földvári,  a senior researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences (ETI) of the ELKH Centre for Ecological Research, deals with the epidemiology and ecology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens. His research examines the effects of climate change and human activity on the distribution of ticks and the pathogens they spread, such as the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

The common tick (Ixodes ricinus) can easily adapt to a changing environment, and its spread has been observed both in terms of altitude and northerly locations. When the winter is mild and spring comes earlier, the period of activity of ticks is significantly extended to both early spring and late autumn. In addition, ticks carried by migratory birds towards the temperate zone also become more and more easily overwintered, which means that the risk of infection is higher. Overwintered adult specimens of some Hyalomma tick species have been observed in Germany and several areas in Sweden, and we can also expect their appearance in Hungary.

A recent study in Nature’s columns looked globally at the impact of human intervention in nature on hosts of zoonotic pathogens. The researchers were looking to answer the question of the extent of change in the proportion and amount of so-called reservoir hosts as a result of human disturbance. Analyzing the nationwide database, the researchers came to the conclusion that human intervention has a systematic and predictable impact on the presence of reservoir hosts. Analysis shows that vertebrate hosts carrying human pathogens account for a greater proportion of species richness and a higher individual density in areas used by humans than in more undisturbed habitats. All this is in line with the previous research findings of Gábor Földvári and his colleagues, which demonstrated that hedgehogs occur in significantly higher densities in parks in urban areas, which allows populations of ticks and pathogens to be maintained.

Climate change and human intervention in nature are constantly creating new opportunities for pathogens to emerge, which is why it is extremely important to focus on prevention. Using the DAMA protocol (Document, Assess, Monitor, Act), EIT researchers monitor zoonotic pathogens that pose a threat to humans. Further details here.

A member of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences is the leader of an international project aimed at researching complex nanostructures for engineering next-generation diamond-related materials

The wide variety of fascinating and complex nanostructures contained within meteorites, impacted rocks, and laboratory-shocked samples can be targeted to produce future diamond-related materials with improved mechanical, thermal and optoelectronic properties – according to a scientist from the Institute of Materials and Environmental Chemistry of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences belonging to the ELKH Research Network, and his colleagues in their Commentary paper published by the prestigious Nature Materials journal. 

A diamond is not only the symbol of wealth but is also an important technological material. It is a transparent, super hard wide-band gap insulator with remarkably high thermal conductivity thanks to its structure consisting of covalently bonded carbon atoms. However, there are numerous applications that would require us to fine-tune these properties or combine them with others. For example, diamond is hard yet not ductile and fractures easily, thus it is inappropriate for applications requiring the ability to adjust its shape in response to applied stress and in order to absorb mechanical shock. Similarly, engineering the electronic properties of diamond from insulating to conducting would be advantageous for the semiconductor industry.

An international team of scientists from the Institute of Materials and Environmental Chemistry and University of Pannonia, University of Bath, Arizona State University, University College London and University of Milano-Bicocca now draws attention to the engineering possibility of the complex and fascinating nanostructures occurring in impact diamonds and laboratory-shocked samples (Figure 1). According to the authors’ Commentary published in Nature Materials (reference 1), these nanostructures could be attractive for producing next-generation diamond-related materials with tunable mechanical, thermal and optoelectronic properties.

The study was motivated by the new understanding of impact-diamond structures provided by the latest state-of-the-art ultra-high resolution transmission electron microscopy, the McDIFFaX stacking analysis of X-ray diffraction data and the recent development of advanced electronic structure calculation methods. Furthermore, the authors were prompted by their recently published paper (reference 2), in which they demonstrated the existence of a new class of carbon materials that combine the super-hardness of diamonds with the flexibility and fracture resistance afforded by the inclusion of graphite or few-layered graphene within the structure of diamonds.

Figure. 1. Structural complexity of the diamond in the Canyon Diablo meteorite.

In the Commentary, the scientists highlight and classify the structural complexity of diamonds found in meteorites and laboratory-shocked samples by applying a systematic hierarchical approach and investigating their energetic stability. In particular, they describe the intriguing complexity of cubic-hexagonal stacking disorder and nanotwinned structures, layered graphene domains included within covalently bonded carbon, diamond units contained within graphitic materials as well as rounded, fullerene-type nanostructures and twinned structures with unusual five- and twelve-fold rotational symmetries.

The authors point out that so far these complex nanostructures have been identified mainly among meteorite samples or impacted rocks, or shown to be present in laboratory-shocked materials. Some structures are prevalent among millimeter-sized samples, others constitute only a small fraction of the overall volume, yet according to theoretical calculations, they exist at relatively low energy and are expected to be kinetically stable. They are therefore candidates for obtaining larger scale metastable carbon materials formed by static or dynamic compression that are recoverable to ambient conditions.

The authors suggest the nanostructures can be targeted for preparing materials with exceptional hardness as well as improved fracture toughness and ductility. Furthermore, they can be attractive for engineering the electronic conductivity as well as the optical and thermoelectric properties of diamonds.

‘Engineering and preparing the next generations of complex carbon nanostructures for new applications is the task of the future’, said Péter Németh, one of the leading authors of the paper in summary.

The research was supported among others by the NKFI FK126502 projects, the ÚNKP-19-4-PE-4 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the János Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Further information: nemeth.peter[at]ttk.hu

References

  1. Németh P, McColl K, Garvie LAJ, Salzmann CG, Murri M, McMillan PF Complex nanostructures in diamond. Nat. Mater., 2020, doi: 10.1038/s41563-020-0759-8

2. Németh P, McColl K, Murri M, Smith RL, Garvie LAJ, Alvaro M, Pécz B, Jones AP, Corà F, Salzmann CG, McMillan PF          Diamond-graphene nanocomposite structures. Nano Letts., 2020, 20(5):3611–3619.

 

The award ceremony of the Széchenyi Prize was held on 19 August 2020

Unfortunately, the Széchenyi Prizes awarded on the occasion of Hungary’s national holiday on March 15 2020 could not be presented to the recipients due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the award ceremony was finally held on August 19 at the Hungarian Parliament where János Áder, President of the Hungarian Republic presented the reputable prizes to the recipients. This year, six of the outstanding scholars who were awarded the Széchenyi Prize have direct affiliation with the Eötvös Loránd Research Network.

László Rezső Borhy

This award recognizes his exceptionally valuable contribution to Hungary during his outstanding scientific career as a distinguished expert in Hungarian and international ancient sciences, specifically his significant research in Roman provincial archaeology and conducted academic work on the history and archaeology of Pannonia.

László Rezső Borhy is an Archaeologist, an Ancient Historian, a Full-time Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Rector of the Eötvös Loránd University, an Ordinary Professor of the Department of Classical and Roman Provincial Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, and a Member of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network’s Steering Committee.

Pál Péter Pálfy

This award recognizes his exceptionally valuable contribution to Hungary during his outstanding scientific career, particularly his notable research results in the field of algebra, more specifically in the field of group theory and universal algebra. His achievements along with his vital work as institution director and science organizer have strengthened the international recognition of Hungarian science.

Pál Péter Pálfy is a Mathematician, a Full-time Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, a Research Professor at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics belonging to the ELKH Research Network, and a Member of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network’s Steering Committee.

Melinda Berlász

This award recognizes her exceptionally valuable contribution to Hungary during her outstanding scientific career, especially the notable results of her niche research in the field of 20th century Hungarian music education history, her widespread dissemination of the oeuvre of Hungarian composers and music performers forced to emigrate, hence lesser known to the public.

Melinda Berlász is a Bence Szabolcsi Prize winning music historian, a Corresponding Member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, a retired senior fellow at the Institute of Musicology of the Research Centre for the Humanities belonging to the ELKH Research Network.

László Buday

This award recognizes his exceptionally valuable contribution to Hungary during his outstanding scientific career, particularly his notable research achievements in the field of cellular signalling transduction pathways, his high-level work in teaching biochemistry and molecular biology, and his scientific outreach activities.

László Buday is a Doctor and Biochemist, a Full-time Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Director of the Institute of Enzymology of the Research Centre for Natural Sciences belonging to the ELKH Research Network, and a Professor at the Department of Medical Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Pathobiochemistry of the Faculty of General Medicine at Semmelweis University.

Ferenc Iglói

This award recognizes his exceptionally valuable contribution to Hungary during his outstanding scientific career, particularly his extensive internationally acclaimed research results in statistical physics, specifically in the field of the collective behavior of multiple-body systems, and his contribution to developing research-based curricula in education.

Ferenc Iglói has a PhD in Physics, he is a Scientific Advisor at the Institute of Solid State Physics and Optics of the Wigner Research Center for Physics belonging to the ELKH Research Network, a Professor at the Department of Theoretical Physics of the Institute of Physics of the Faculty of Sciences and Informatics at the University of Szeged.

László Mihály Csiba

This award recognizes his exceptionally valuable contribution to Hungary during his outstanding scientific career in the field of the diagnosis and treatment of stroke, in particular his outstanding role played in the elaboration of a treatment model targeted at facilitating the spread of the best pharmaceutical treatment of stroke, i.e. venous thrombolysis.

László Mihály Csiba is a Batthyány-Strattmann László award-winning neurologist, a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, President of the Hungarian Neurology Society, Professor of the Department of Neurology at the Clinical Center of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, and head of the MTA–DE Cerebrovascular and Neurodegenerative Research Group of ELKH.

Endre Szemerédi, professor emeritus at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics, has received this year’s Order of Saint Stephen award

The importance of hard work, achievement, faith and a dedication to finding the right answers was highlighted by János Áder, the President of Hungary, in his speech at Sándor Palace on Thursday 20 August 2020, when he awarded this year’s Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen to the Abel and Széchenyi Prize-winning mathematician Endre Szemerédi, who is professor emeritus at the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics and a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, one day before his 80th birthday.

“The Order of Saint Stephen is the most prestigious expression of respect from the Hungarian nation,” said President Áder. “We are here to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Endre Szemerédi and his epoch-making achievements in the science of mathematics, which have significantly enhanced Hungary’s reputation.”

Szemerédi Endre, a Rényi Alfréd Matematikai Kutatóintézet emeritus professzora kapta az idei Szent István-rend kitüntetést
President János Áder presents the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary to the Abel and Széchenyi Prize-winning mathematician Endre Szemerédi, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, on August 20, 2020, at the Feast of the Founding of the State and Saint Stephen at Sándor Palace. Photo: Noémi Bruzák / MTI

The President of the Hungarian Republic pointed out that this year’s recipient of the Order of Saint Stephen said the opportunity led him into a scientific career: on the good advice of a friend, he turned from a medical career to one in the field of mathematics and physics. “And the second coincidence came in the mid-1970s, when walking along the banks of the Danube, he recalled, proved and derived a mathematical theorem that had remained unsolved for almost 40 years. He solved the puzzle set by Pál Erdős and Pál Turán in 1936 ‘by accident’,” President Áder recalled, adding that “this mathematical derivation, which consisted of a theorem on a question, raised Endre Szemerédi to the forefront of scientific public life.

He soon established a reputation in the world of number theory and combinatorics, and, living up to the name of his illustrious predecessors, from that moment on became a master of problem solving. By having a theorem named after him, he ensured scientific immortality, in keeping with the very greatest,” the head of state said.

Praising the mathematician, President Áder said that Endre Szemerédi’s career, international job offers, research at the best universities, articles published individually and with his colleagues and the respectful recognition of his contemporaries were the result of far more than mere chance. “They required determination, hard work, achievement, and faith, as well as a determined search for the right answers,” he added.

“You have proved in a mathematical sense that chaos can be broken down into ordered parts. That is, even in the greatest uncertainty, there is always total certainty. Mathematics is everywhere. In nature and in social relations,” said the President Adér, who called Endre Szemerédi “a superstar mathmetician, a role model and a scientist who was able to establish a new school of thought.”

Congratulations!

Source: MTI

 

Eternal Mohács – Articles and Essays, the latest volume of the Reconstruction and Memorial series published

The Research Centre for Humanities (BTK), part of ELKH, has added a new volume to the Mohács 1526–2026, Reconstruction and Memorial series. The book, edited by János B. Szabó and Gábor Farkas Farkas, uses both contemporary and subsequent sources to present the Battle of Mohács, which took place on 29 August 1526, as well as the period leading up to the battle and the events that followed the historical clash.

“‘The Battle of Mohács is eternal. It is a reference point, eternally bitter, eternally something that ‘sticks in the throat’ of every Hungarian with an interest in the past,” writes Pál Fodor, the BTK General Director. In addition to providing a broad description of the era, the authors also seek to show what was actually lost at Mohács.

Mór Than: The Battle of Mohács.
Many of the sources that underpin the book are available to read in Hungarian for the first time. In addition to new texts, the authors also incorporated Hungarian translations of earlier known sources into the corpus. Thanks to the translation team involved in the Mohács project, English, German, French, Italian, Czech, Turkish and Latin texts will be presented to the reader in Hungarian translation either for the first time, or as improved versions of earlier translations.

The book is more complete than previous essay collections and presents a more accurate picture of both historical events and the continuous transformation of our memory of the past, which, as we pass through different eras, has also affected historical research and our understanding of this historical moment.

The book groups the published works into three thematic sections. The first section examines the events of the year 1526. The second presents a new interpretation of the various genres of cultural memory, with a more detailed examination of who remembers what in relation to the Battle of Mohács, and what has been thought important to highlight or to suppress. This section promises to be extremely instructive as it gives us the chance to view in chronological order the often problematic literature, politics and cult that have developed in Hungary around the Battle of Mohács. In the third, extended section, texts on Mohács, organized around a theme (the location of the battle, the Hungarian war plan, the death of the king, etc.), present one and a half centuries of scientific discourse and the mythology closely related to it.

Bertalan Székely: The Battle of Mohács
The collection of articles has some true delights. For example, published for the first time in the Hungarian language, you can read Suleiman the Magnificent’s letter to the Doge of Venice, a dreamlike battle plan against John Zápolya, a fragment of writing from Caspar Ursinus Velius on the Battle of Mohács, an excerpt from Wolfgang Lazius’s historical work, and a paean to the House of Habsburg. In a new translation (and with new notes), you can also read the list of weapons and munitions of Ottoman Viziers, statesmen, Sanjaks, court mercenaries and Janissaries in the campaign, and the extremely significant Turkish war diary of 1526. Exciting and up-to-date Italian spy reports, also available for the first time in Hungarian, German newspapers that anticipate modern popular culture, Czech and Latin chronicles that are a mix of historical impartiality and myths, and various English and French letters are also excellent additions.

New social and data science findings using the KRTK Databank

The Centre for Economic & Regional Studies[1] (KRTK) Databank has created Admin3, the third time it has created a version of Admin, the research database for public administration records related to the social sciences. The Admin database offers another opportunity for the creation of independent, ethical and professional scientific research studies concerning Hungarian society and based on administrative data. The previous waves of linked data will also be made available for wider scientific usage.

The database created by the KRTK Databank marks the first time in the Central and Eastern European region that a database combining public administration records has been expressly created for research purposes. Because the database contains content from such a wide range of records, its importance to social science is enormous. It can be used to simultaneously research almost all topics examinable on the basis of administrative data. The database is being cleaned up with scientific care by the staff of the Databank, in partnership with other researchers who have been using the records for an extended period.

KRTK researchers have been working for many years on data-driven research on important policy issues. The database is currently being used to carry out research in the fields of health science, health policy, regional sciences, labor economics, business research, migration research, educational research, agronomy and social policy. Results of international significance have also been achieved in relation to the employment of people with disabilities, the impact of pensions on health care expenditure and changes in unemployment benefits. The figure below displays the main findings of an Admin-based piece of research on the labor market situation for prisoners.

Employment and career paths of prisoners

Source: Admin2 database, which tracks the labor market careers of nearly 40,000 people who had been to prison at least once between 2003 and 2011. Source: Demand constraints in the reintegration of people released from prison (István Boza – Anikó Csáki – Virág Ilyés – János Köllő – Zsófia Kőműves – Lili Márk – Mercedes Mészáros). Publication pending.

The latest results of domestic relevance report on the consequences of lowering the compulsory school age, the subsequent labor market effects of the competence results of 10th graders and the effectiveness of vocational training reform.

The following figures show the effect of 10th graders’ competency test outcomes on their earnings at the ager of 25. Admin3-based research found that students who achieved better competency test scores had higher adult earnings and were less likely to become unemployed.

Correlation of the test results of the 10th graders of 2008 with the October 2017 earnings and the chances of unemployment in the 20 groups formed on the basis of the test results:

Earnings (log)

Matematika
Mathematics
Szövegértés
Reading comprehension

Unemployment

Matematika
Mathematics

Szövegértés
Reading comprehension

Averages for the 20 groups according to test score

Source: Admin3 database. The impact of reading and mathematics test results on future earning (Zoltán Hermann, Dániel Horn, János Köllő, Anna Sebők, András Semjén & Júlia Varga). In: Fazekas, K.; Csillag, M; Hermann, Z; Scharle, Á (editor). Munkaerőpiaci Tükör 2018., 45-53. / THE IMPACT OF READING AND MATHEMATICS TEST RESULTS ON FUTURE EARNINGS AND EMPLOYMENT, in: Fazekas, K; Csillag, M; Hermann, Z; Scharle, Á (eds.). The Hungarian Labour Market – Review and Analysis, 2019. 45-52.

Admin

The content of the records contained in the Admin database is linked on an individual level, anonymously. This means that 5 million people can be tracked on a monthly basis for 15 years without being directly identifiable. The database contains both the school, study data and the results of the competency test. Later, as the individuals get older, we can see the patterns in the labor market and characterize jobs, occupations, peer groups and earnings. The database can be used to see when individuals receive sick pay, when they leave a job, and even when they retire. We also get an idea of whether a person who is not currently working is receiving some kind of state benefit or has been registered as unemployed. In addition, it also provides data on their state of health.

Protection of personal data

Data is linked using a secure hashing algorithm unknown to all registrars. The hash procedure is used to encrypt unique identifiers (such as the TAJ number) in the records that represent the data source. As a result, information related to a given individual from different registers can be clearly assigned from one to another, but the data cannot be linked to specific persons on the basis of an identifier.

In order to further reduce the disclosure risk, the liaison body (Nemzeti Infokommunikációs Szolgáltató Zrt.) also provides anonymization. As part of the process, it consolidates categories with a critically low number of cases (e.g. codes for various illnesses, educational qualifications). In addition, in order to protect individual data, the KRTK Databank only allows the Admin database collection to be searched in a secure and closed server environment, and solely by researchers and professionals commissioned by a scientific institute or with an appropriate and verifiable scientific objective.

Professional protection of individual data and scientific ethical criteria provide mutual protection against disclosure risk. By contrast, the correct and ethical use of individual data is more doubtful in on the open market, as there it is not possible to provide the level of control found in scientific work.

Independent, cross-disciplinary, independent, data-driven social research practices that pay particular attention to verifiable data use are needed to develop policies, create an effective scientific and public administration sphere, and to develop data ethics guidelines applicable to all areas of life.

KRTK Databank

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the KRTK Databank, which is at the forefront of the development of the scientific infrastructure of empirical social science research in Hungary. In doing so, it carries out five main empirical activities. First, it produces the large-scale, administrative-based databases that track in detail people and companies over an extended period.

Second, it acquires and puts into a state suitable for research (for example, harmonizes, puts in chronological order, or cleans up) the most important household and corporate data surveys. Its third task is, for the last six years, to develop and manage the KSH-KRTK research room, which is available to all KRTK researchers and co-authors. In addition, the KRTK Databank also operates an open experimental laboratory, which enables researchers to conduct social science experiments. The Databank also serves as a place for internships, is involved in university education through holding courses, and makes a number of databases available to graduates and doctoral students.

The significance of the Databank is indicated by the fact that all the five Momentum groups of KRTK have now used the infrastructure. 580 publications (theses, dissertations, domestic and international studies) have been written using the data. A number of policy domestic and foreign impact assessments have been carried out based on data from the Databank, including programs such as ERC, H2020, Momentum, the Cooperation Program of Excellence and OTKA. The services and databases of the KRTK Databank can be used by researchers almost in their entirety, free of charge.

Detailed information is available on the KRTK Databank website.

You can read more about the Admin database in the article below.

[1] Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence

EU provides extraordinary funds for the international COVID project led by SZTAKI

The 21-member EU project led by SZTAKI has the objective of making European production systems and supply chains more flexible, as well as facilitating the transfer of medical equipment if required due to another global pandemic or further waves of COVID-19.

SZTAKI, an ELKH member institution, won the CO-VERSATILE tender for the European Union Horizon 2020 framework program for the extraordinary challenge of combating and eradicating COVID. In May, the EU advertised the opportunities to submit tenders in five sub-categories, with a total of 23 projects receiving support from 454 bids submitted. Because of the urgency of the matter, everything was completed in a single month, from the initial instructions to the preparation and putting together of a consortium, while the results were also not announced according to the original schedule.

The CO-VERSATILE project aims to increase the adaptability and flexibility of the European manufacturing industry, with a particular focus on vital medical devices and protective equipment. The results have the potential to help Europe prepare for a global pandemic and respond to unexpected requirements.

The director of the project, Dr. Róbert Lovas, is SZTAKI’s deputy director. Under the coordination of SZTAKI, as part of the CO-VERSATILE research and development project and with the help of their partners, they have created a digital environment and processes that, in as little as 48 hours, can flexibly adjust and reallocate production capacities – which otherwise manufacture other products – if there is a need for an extremely large quantity of medical equipment or personal protective equipment. Another goal is to create a ‘Digital Technopole’ that not only serves urgent demands but where the developments and solutions applied there can also be transferred to other manufacturers all over Europe.

The EU has awarded EUR 5.4 million to the 24-month international project. The project is coordinated by SZTAKI – of the member states that joined the European Union after 2004 (EU13), Hungary was the only country to be awarded such a role in the fight against COVID-19. The 21-member consortium includes the German Fraunhofer IGD (Institute for Computer Graphics Research) and IML (Institute for Material Flow and Logistics) research centers, EIT Manufacturing, Leibniz Universität and the University of Westminster, as well as several European manufacturers and centers for digital innovation.

In addition to coordination, SZTAKI has also contributed to the development of the Digital Technopole with cloud-based solutions and the elaboration and adaptation of simulation models. This means that in the fight against COVID, the institute not only provides R&D background, IT expertise and resources for the Hungarian scientific community and virus research teams, but also for the European industrial sector.

Innomine is an important domestic member of the consortium. As a digital innovation hub, Innomine brings together various actors in the field, including suppliers, universities and research institutes, small and medium-sized enterprises and investors, to promote the further development and strengthening of the digital ecosystem. One of Innomine’s main tasks will be to promote and disseminate the resulting solutions on the market, including through the organisation of a Europe-wide networking event (matchaton).

Further information:
Media Contact:

Bálint Laza, laza.balint[at]sztaki.hu

‘Lendület’ Mobility Research Group completes five-year research project with excellent rating

The first five-year period of the ‘Lendület’ Mobility Research Group’s project, which has been operating within the Institute of Archeology of the ELKH Research Centre for the Humanities since July 2015, ended this year. The active work and the final report of the Research Group were rated as excellent by the professional reviewers, the special committee and the President’s Committee for Scientific Evaluation.

The ‘Lendület’ Mobility project was set up to study settlements that were inhabited in the first thousand years of the Bronze Age in the Carpathian Basin between 2,500 and 1,500 BC, as well as burial sites and objects found there. This was done by integrating new types of scientific analysis that have become available in recent decades for interpreting archaeological finds. Research into this era has always focused primarily on examining the movement of communities, and this issue is gaining particular relevance in light of current migration phenomena.

In the absence of written sources, the existence and evolution of relations among communities living in remote areas of Bronze Age Europe were inferred in the past mainly from traditional archaeological analysis. However, the research team employed multidisciplinary methods hitherto not used in the research into this era – such as genetic, pathological, absolute dating, isotope geochemical and geophysical studies – which provided many new results for these thousand years, for instance about the people and small and large communities living in Hungary during the time of the builders of the great pyramids and the Greek heroes buried in mine graves in Mycenae.

The most important questions of the basic research carried out in collaboration with nearly 50 researchers – archaeologists, archaeogenists, anthropologists, materials scientists – were raised by the mobility and stratification of contemporary society, as well as the exploration of barter trade relations. To answer these questions, five well-researched settlements were selected from the central zone of the Carpathian Basin together with their micro-region, which represent a significant sample area for the study of Bronze Age communities in Central Europe and make a useful contribution to existing Bronze Age research.

The research team focused on three main topics. Among other things, they wanted to find out whether the analysis of human remains and objects could demonstrate the migration of larger communities and the extent of mobility at the time. This research was mainly focused on the strontium isotope sampling of the teeth of the deceased buried in inhumation (i.e. skeletal) graves (carried out in collaboration with Quinnipiac University and Yale University) and the analysis of samples taken from cremation graves in collaboration with an Italian research partner joining the research project of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a guest. The results showed that the communities of the first thousand years of the Bronze Age had a high degree of mobility and were also characterized by exogamy, that is, the habit of marrying outside the given group. As a result of the investigations, considerable progress has been made in the development of the strontium isotope map of Hungary, which provides data that can be used for other archaeological periods as well. The examination of funeral customs and diseases provides additional information on the lifestyles of contemporary communities.

Multiple burials from Érd and an injury to a skull excavated in Füzesabony that can be related to combat.
(Source: Ferenczy Museum Center; Hungarian Museum of Natural History)

The archaic DNA studies conducted in collaboration with the Archaeogenetic Laboratory of BTK’s Institute of Archeology and the Department of Genetics at Harvard University on the finds of the so-called bell-shaped vessels culture also show a high degree of mobility in connection with the individuals buried together with these objects, confirming that multidirectional mobility was likely to have characterized the period under discussion, which was different from the Neolithic migrations identified so far.

The research team also looked at how the new material of the era, the technology of producing bronze, emerged and where the raw materials used to make bronze objects in the area came from. In this context, the analyses carried out jointly with the Centre for Energy Research and the Wigner Research Center for Physics have led to important findings regarding the composition and production techniques of these objects. The results of lead isotope analysis prove that the Carpathian Basin was characterized by imports of copper ores of Balkan origin, and even more so by the import of finished objects, both in the Neolithic and Copper Ages. Similar studies carried out in collaboration with the Curt-Engelhorn Archaeometric Laboratory in Mannheim have shown that copper mines in the Garam region of Slovakia were cultivated, and ongoing tin isotope analyses suggest that the origin of the alloy essential for the production of bronze should be sought in the Czech-Saxon Ore Mountins and in the Balkan tin ore sources. Overall, the typological kinship of regional copper ore objects with devices from remote areas indicates broad interregional relationships.

Researchers also sought to find out how the use of bronze had changed the history of the Carpathian Basin and the surrounding area, and how the institutionalization of social inequality had emerged. Compared to the first half of the Early Bronze Age, a higher proportion of copper indicating social status could be observed later, and the appearance of tin-bronze tools and weapons was becoming more and more common. Studies supported by the Polish Science Foundation in collaboration with Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań have clearly shown that amber finds from Bronze Age sites in Hungary are of Baltic origin. This suggests that controlling the trade in rare raw materials in Hungary during the Middle Bronze Age was probably a possible way to gain power. Studies carried out in the Heritage Science Laboratory of ATOMKI have revealed several sources of raw materials for gold objects.

PIXE analysis of a gold armband at the Atomki Heritage Research Laboratory in Debrecen.

Based on the examination of the grave annexes indicating social status and the multi-level settlement system emerging in the period, it can be concluded that social inequalities became more significant in the later period and that social and economic systems of a different nature and structure were at work in the Carpathian Basin.

Finds from the boss’s grave in Balatonakali and the possible reconstruction of the buried man. (Photo: Péter Hámori, graphics: Zsolt Réti, Dávid Ringeisen)

As a result of the multidisciplinary activities of the research group, a partnership of outstanding significance was established within the research network of ELKH, which has contributed to the adaptation of new technologies, (for example, bioapatite-based radiocarbon testing of burnt bones in addition to collagen-based tests, and strontium isotope ratio measurements on ashes at ATOMKI) and to increase the competitiveness of domestic laboratories. New methods and international co-operations have made Bronze Age research in Hungary one of the leading research topics in Europe. The success is also well illustrated by the fact that the video recording of the research group’s presentation at the international conference ‘Genes, isotopes and artefacts’ held in Vienna in December 2018 has been viewed nearly a thousand times on the YouTube channel of the OREA Institute of the Austrian Academy. In addition, a number of winning applications and international partnerships provided an additional opportunity for a deeper analysis of the Bronze Age period under discussion.

As well as the analysis of Bronze Age handicrafts, multidisciplinary conferences summarizing the multidisciplinary study of Bronze Age art and textile art, organized jointly with the BTK Institute of Archeology and the ‘Lendület’ Medieval Economy Research Group, also contributed to the research of broader historical and archaeological periods. Domestic and international workshops were held with a similar purpose to discuss the methodological issues of cremation burial research and the research results of Bronze Age ceramics.

During the five years of the project, more than a hundred publications were published (a total of 59 book chapters, books and studies, of which 21 were in Hungarian and 38 in foreign languages; 50 abstracts: 13 in Hungarian, 37 in foreign languages) in Nature, the Radiocarbon, Journal of Archaeological Science, Quarternary International, Acta Archaeologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae and Communicationes Archaeologicae Hungariae, as well as 15 additional papers (6 in Hungarian and 9 in foreign languages) are expected to be published. In addition, 100 professional and educational presentations were given (a total of 54 lectures at 39 domestic events and 46 lectures at 31 foreign events). A volume of studies and several monographs in English are also under preparation, as well as a manuscript of an educational volume in Hungarian.

In addition to scientific research, the research group also considered the social utilization of knowledge as one of its key goals. Its website in Hungarian and English has been updated with nearly 100 bilingual scientific papers and research news articles over the past five years. The number of readers of their bilingual Facebook page is growing steadily: since its inception, they have shared the research team’s news, brief educational studies and other information related to prehistoric archeology in more than a thousand posts to provide professionally verified and reliable knowledge of the European Bronze Age to the general public and professionals interested in this area of research.

The short film ‘Bronze Age Mysteries’, made in 2017 (downloadable from the BTK website), which presents the work of the research group and has been shown on television several times, and which represented Hungary at an archeological film festival, also contributed to the disseminatation of scientific knowledge.

The research group also participated in the production of another film within the framework of the European Union’s CRAFTER (Crafting Europe in the Bronze Age and Today) program, which was launched in 2018 in collaboration with eight institutions from five European countries. The aim of the film ‘In their Hands’ is to introduce European Bronze Age pottery and help to revive modern handicrafts by the inspiration gained from it.