October 29, 2020 16:35
When ambition meets talent
The journey of Dr. Emese Molnár from Erasmus+ to the establishment of a gene therapy lab

A clinical investigation on the key diagnostic markers for Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) was published in Blood, one of the world’s most prestigious journals of immunology, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology. The first author of this publication is Dr. Emese Molnár, a young researcher, former student of medicine at Semmelweis University and currently a PhD doctoral candidate. Her determination and commitment have taken her from the Serbian town, Zenta to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London to pursue her dreams as a researcher and beyond.

When ambition meets talent

As early as her high school years, Dr. Emese Molnár knew that she wanted to become a researcher and has done everything in her power to reach her goals. After graduating as a Doctor of Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Semmelweis University, she continued her education at the department of stem cell transplantation, which gave her an insight on cell therapies. However, solely her enthusiasm for haematology would not have set her on a path leading to a promising cooperation with Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). It was the coincidence of a number of circumstances that made her seriously think about opening up new horizons in Hungarian gene and cell therapy; the tragic loss of a loved one to untreated lymphoma, her admission to the PhD programme at the department of stem cell transplantation and receiving a rising star award at an international conference in the US.

Living and working in the land of CAR T-cell therapy

Her attention turned towards chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, a promising new method to get a type of immune cells, called T cells to fight lymphoma, leukaemia or other haematological cancers. The patient’s T-cells are collected and reprogrammed in a lab to specifically target tumour cells. These genetically altered T-cells (now CAR T-cells) are given back to the patient to launch a targeted attack on the cancer cells. Dr. Molnár was determined to learn the procedure and build relationships that may pave the way to the establishment of an institution providing gene therapy in Hungary. She applied for an Erasmus+ grant with the aim of finding a place for internship in the United Kingdom, the land of CAR T-cell therapy.

If you want to read more about the journey of Dr. Emese Molnár, please visit the official website of Semmelweis University here.