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Ábel Lajtha, Founding Member of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, Passes Away

Hungary Today 2024.05.28.

Ábel Lajtha, world-renowned neurochemist, brain research professor, academic, and founding member of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, has died in New York at the age of 102.

Born in 1922 in Budapest, his father László Lajtha was a Kossuth Prize-winning composer and folk music researcher. In 1945, he received his doctorate from Pázmány Péter Catholic University. In 1946-47, he was a teaching assistant to Albert Szent-Györgyi (Nobel Prize-winning biochemist), with whom he later worked for a time in the United States. He was one of the founders and later became president of the American Society for Neurochemistry, and from 1976, he was editor and later editor-in-chief of the  Neurochemical Research journal. In 1971, he was appointed research professor of psychiatry at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

Professor Lajtha. Photo via Facebook/Abel Lajtha

In 2002, he was awarded the Pro Scientia Hungarica Medal of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; in 2005, he received the Bernard Haber Award, and in 2016, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit. He is the author of more than 700 scientific articles and had about 40 Hungarian fellows working in his laboratory.

“As a disciple of Albert Szent-Györgyi, I value scientific achievements above all else, wealth is not a real value,”

asserted Ábel Lajtha.

Dr. Henry Sershen, a decades-long colleague of Professor Lajtha, gave an interview about the scientist to Hungary Today on the occasion of his 100th birthday. As he emphasized, he worked on many research and scientific publications together with Professor Lajtha over the years. “Dr. Lajtha’s guidance in research has extended not only to him but to many other young researchers from around the world who came to work at his institute.” In addition, “under the directorship of Professor E. Sylvester Vizi (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hungary Foundation), he helped the career development of many Hungarian researchers, many of whom I continue to have contact with and try to visit on my trips to Hungary,” he added.

As Dr. Sershen noted,

those who have worked with Professor Lajtha not only thanked him for his scientific guidance, but more importantly for his personal friendship.”

"Always One to Help Support Others” – Interview with Neuroscientist Dr. Henry Sershen about Professor Ábel Lajtha

Professor Ábel Lajtha, founding member of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, celebrates his 100th birthday.Continue reading

Featured photo via Semmelweis.hu

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