Chancellor Collins formalizes ties with Hungarian university

Recent visit establishes partnership with Semmelweis University

By Malorye Branca

UMass Medical School Communications

October 18, 2011

Chancellor Michael F. Collins signs an official partnership agreement with Vice-Rector for General Affairs Ágoston Szél of Semmelweis University during a recent trip to Hungary.

UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael F. Collins travelled to Budapest last week to visit Semmelweis University and officially establish a partnership between the two institutions. Chancellor Collins was accompanied by Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, associate dean for clinical and translational sciences and director of the MD/PhD program.


“This was an excellent opportunity to expand our international partnerships by working with a highly renowned institution,” Collins said. “This agreement also increases our global impact, which supports one of the school’s strategic priorities.”


Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, shakes hands with Vice-Rector for General Affairs Ágoston Szél of Semmelweis University during a recent trip to Hungary.

The two-day visit was at the invitation of Tivadar Tulassay, MD, rector of Semmelweis University, which includes schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy. The highlight of the trip was the signing of a formal partnership agreement establishing a framework for the academic and clinical interchange of faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students, as well as other educational and research collaborations between UMMS and Semmelweis.

On the first day of the visit, several talks were given about Semmelweis’s history, current and prospective initiatives and various special programs. In turn, Collins provided an overview of UMMS and Dr. Szabo presented a scientific lecture on innate immunity in liver diseases. Collins and Szabo met students, faculty and key members of Semmelweis’s leadership, including Dr. Ágoston Szél, vice-rector for General Affairs; Dr. László Hunyady, vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine; Dr. Béla Noszál, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Dr. Károly Rácz, president of the School of PhD Studies.

On the second day, Collins and Szabo toured the university, visiting the Basic Medical Science Center, the Nanobiotechnology and In Vivo Imaging Centre, and the departments of internal medicine and pathology and cancer research. They also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Miklos Szocska, Hungary’s secretary of health and discuss potential collaborative research efforts in health outcomes and clinical and population health.

Thanks to Szabo’s efforts, UMMS and Semmelweis have collaborated informally for several years. To support a strategic goal to have a significant impact in the world, UMMS has sought to establish a number of targeted international partnerships to facilitate faculty and student exchange, as well as research collaborations. Under the guidance of the Office of Global Health, UMMS has established dozens of memoranda of understanding with institutions in China, Germany, Dominican Republic, India, Liberia, Ireland and other countries. The agreement with Semmelweis, however, is the first such arrangement with a university in Eastern Europe.