History of the Department

In 1964 our department was separated from the Department of Botany and Zoology, founded in 1953. Between 1953 and 1964, the Department of Botany and Zoology taught biological subjects (botany, plant physiology, zoology, animal autopsy and physiology, plant pathology, animal pests). Due to the structural changes in 1964, the teaching of botany and plant physiology came under the supervision of a separate department under the leadership of Zoltán Siroki, associate professor. He has researched in the fields of plant coenology, floristics, entomology, and ornithology. Under the short leadership of Dr. Sándor Polgár, he strengthened the department primarily with his floristic and phytogeographical research.


From 1970, the teaching and research tasks of the department were further expanded under the leadership of Dr. György Mándy, a university professor. György Mándy was a highly qualified follower of the botanical-genetic school, named after Professor Zoltán Szabó (1882-1944), a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with a Corvin wreath. György Mándy was twice unjustifiably discriminated against by political power during the 1948-1956 Lisbon period. Professor Mándy has been involved in school-building work in the interrelated fields of agrobotany, experimental ecology, and plant breeding. In Hungary, he was the founder and managing cultivator of research on cultivars and cultivars. His notes and textbooks, written as a young educator, are still valuable aids to vocational education. Contributed by Sóor Rezső-Jávorka Soó: Handbook of Hungarian Plants I – II. in the description of crops. After the change of regime, in 1990 he was awarded the posthumous Széchenyi Prize for his outstanding textbook work in the field of botany and for his new approach to botanical taxonomy, with which he greatly contributed to the foundation of successful domestic plant breeding.


After the death of Professor György Mándy (1976), Dr. Menyhért Pethő took over the management of the department, who placed great emphasis on the development of education. Insisted on teaching selected basic and applied knowledge for the training of agricultural engineers, from the 1975-76 school year, the names of the subjects included the prefix “agricultural”, emphasizing the applied nature of the subjects, the specialized foundation. Professor Menyhért Pethő's main field of education and research was plant physiology, his work is marked by the textbook entitled Physiology of Agricultural Plants and the textbook published by Akadémiai Kiadó with the same title and extended content. From the 1984–85 academic year to 2013, the staff of the department carried out teaching and research in two groups: the Botany Working Group and the Plant Physiology Working Group.


Dr. Baloghné Dr. Nyakas Antónia, associate professor, has led the department since 1998, contributing to the development of education with her university note entitled Basics of Agricultural Botany, published in 2005. The educational activity of the department has significantly expanded with the introduction of “A”, “B” and “C” type subjects. The botanical and plant physiological research work was divided into two groups under the supervision of Dr. Antónia Nyakas and Dr. Menyhért Pethő. With the redesign of the Botanical Garden (2001) and the reorganization of the use of the greenhouse (2005), the valuable departmental practice area, which for decades provided a systematic background for teaching the botanical discipline, raising the living material of the exercises and carrying out some summer internships, was abolished.


In 2005, Dr. László Lévai, associate professor, was appointed head of the Department of Plant Physiology of Agricultural Botany. Following his appointment, the department was placed in the new Life Science Center of the University of Debrecen. During the relocation, the department's collection of nearly 40,000 pages of museum value Herbarium (along with Dégen's legacy) was housed in the Life Sciences Center, in a common room with the Soó Rezső Herbarium. In addition to preparing a university note on Plant Physiology Practices (1997), Dr. László Lévai again placed great emphasis on strengthening professional relations both in Hungarian agricultural enterprises and in international research institutes through primarily applied physiological research. The results of the department headed by Dr. László Lévai are still widely used in practice. Thanks to its active talent management work, the number of students doing scientific work in the department in various forms (diploma thesis, TDK, PhD) has greatly increased. In 2012, the research and teaching staff moved back to the modernly renovated laboratories and comfortable offices on the Agricultural Science Campus. After the retirement of Dr. László Lévai, further significant changes took place in the life of the department. In 2013, the department was merged with the Department of Plant Biotechnology, and its name was changed to the Department of Agricultural Botany, Plant Physiology and Biotechnology.

Dr. Miklós Gábor Fári, a university researcher and biotechnologist who previously researched in France, Finland and Brazil, was assigned to lead the new unit. Following the merger, the two previous departmental working groups, supplemented with plant biotechnology, were modified to three. In 2016, the department was enriched with two internationally equipped biotechnology laboratories. The new line-up created a good opportunity to strengthen innovation, to further internationalize and harmonize education and research. Professor Fári - following the intellectual heritage of György Mándy and the namesake of biotechnology Károly Ereky - paid great attention to the formation of the applied plant biology approach. In addition to molecular biology knowledge, biotechnology has also played a key role in education and research. The staff of the department has made great efforts to establish an R&D cooperation network between faculty institutes, departments, as well as external researchers, scientific groups, and large agricultural companies with strong capital. Since 2013, several foreign visiting research lecturers and PhD students have joined the department. These collaborations have resulted in more than two dozen high-quality international publications. Under the guidance of Professor Fári, the Hungarian Protein Mill Program was launched in 2017, the scientific foundation of which is largely provided by four research groups organized from the staff of the department (Proteomill GINOP program). In 2018, the acquisition of new state-of-the-art research equipment and the construction of a 240 m2 21st-century research greenhouse began. The filing of a new biotechnology patent in 2018 is also linked to the name of the department.

The term of office of Professor Miklós Fári as the head of the department was terminated at the age of 65, so from August 2018 Dr. Szilvia Veres, associate professor, has been performing the duties of the head of the department.


Last update: 2023. 09. 05. 14:42