My name is Bence Marton Hegedus and I am currently a pharmaceutical engineer student at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.
My PI is Eric Skaar, who is a full professor in the Department of Pathology, Immunology and Microbiology. His projects are mainly focusing on the interactions between bacterial cells, metals and the host. My task is to study the heme paradox in Staphylococcus aureus, which means even though heme uptake from the host is essential for the bacteria during infection, it can cause toxicity in the cell in high concentration. In particular, we are investigating the importance of PLP in the response to heme stress. Understanding its role in heme toxicity can contribute to the development of new antibiotics in the long run, which is very important nowadays due to the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance.
For me VISRA is a wonderful opportunity to get acquainted with a new field of research. In spite of my chemistry background I can learn the basics of microbiology very fast because of the constant support of my mentor and lab members. Since our lab is quite big, there is always someone who can give me advice. The program is also very useful for the people, who are considering future graduate studies, because you get in touch with a lot of graduate students and PIs, participate in seminars and presentations, which give you a full taste of being the part of a top notch research institute.
Above all, Nashville is a perfect place to discover the American lifestyle, particularly the thrilling atmosphere of the nightlife in downtown and the various cuisine of the vast amount of restaurants.