Marton Megyeri

Name

Name: Marton Megyeri
Nationality: Hungarian

Weizmann Institue of Science / Faculty of Biochemistry / Department of Molecular Genetics &
Department of Biological Chemistry

Contact details:

e-mail: marton.megyeri@weizmann.ac.il
Tel:      +972-8934-2418 (office)
            +972-586771869 (cell)  
            +972-8643-7140 (home)
Fax:     +972-8-9344112
skype: marton_megyeri

Biosketch

Marton Megyeri was born in Hungary and studied bioengineering at the Budapest University of Technology (Hungary). During his studies he spent one year at Lund University (Sweden) where he completed his master thesis in directed evolution of industrial enzymes, a project supported by the industrial partner Greenchem.

Later on, he was accepted to the Structural Biochemistry Doctoral Program at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and carried out research at the Institute of Enzymology in the research group of Peter Gal and Peter Zavodszky. His main research interest was focused on the molecular immunology of the lectin pathway of complement. He spent three months in Aarhus (Denmark) in the laboratory of Steffen Thiel as a holder of an EMBO short-term fellowship to purify protein complexes from blood samples.

He completed his PhD in 2012 after he accepted his current position in the Sphingonet ITN network. During his studies, Marton has worked on different industrial projects within different spin-off companies and contract research organizations (CRO). Marton has also gained an MBA degree for which he has studied on a part time basis.

Marton has a strong training in molecular biology and basic biochemistry, including analytical assay systems, upstream (fermentation) and downstream processes. His expertise covers all aspects of protein science including protein purification and crystallization, as well as classical enzymology and primary cell cultures.

For his Sphingonet project, Marton is based in the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), working together with Maya Schuldiner and Tony Futerman in order to combine the genetic power of the yeast expertise available in the Schuldiner lab and the sphingolipids expertise in the Futerman laboratory.

Marton is a lover of outdoor activities such as off-piste skiing, sailing, backpacking and – of course - going to the beach which is just a couple of minutes drive from his Institute.

Project title: Uncovering new regulators of sphingolipid homeostasis by high throughput screens

Project summary:

Sphingolipids and their metabolites play key cellular roles, both as membrane structural elements and as signaling molecules that mediate responses to physiological cues and stresses. Indeed, in mammals, any mutation in key enzymes of the sphingolipid metabolic pathway causes severe metabolic disorders. The onset of these diseases and the severity of the phenotype is modulated by secondary unknown genomic loci, most likely representing regulators of the pathway. The current frontier is, therefore, to uncover the modulators of the sphingolipid pathway in order to be able to understand and control disease progression.

To date, investigations into the proteins that tune sphingolipid homeostasis has proven challenging due to tight functional cross talk between sphingolipids and other cellular lipids such as sterols. Straightforward genetic approaches, such as deletion of key enzymes in sphingolipid-related pathways result in drastic alterations of the membrane and intracellular properties of the cell, therefore hindering meaningful interpretation of the results.

Marton is using a new strategy for uncovering regulatory proteins of sphingolipid metabolism: first he uses the budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) as a model organism to introduce small perturbations and search for negative regulators of the sphingolipid metabolic pathway. Next he is following up on regulators that are conserved from yeast to humans and studying the effect of these negative regulators on cells in various disease models.

Supervisors

Maya Schuldiner and Antony H. Futerman (Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel)
Howard Riezman (Université de Geneve, Switzerland)

Biosketch 1st scientific supervisor:

Dr. Maya Schuldiner was born in Israel. She completed two years of military service in 1996, and graduated magna cum laude with a BSc in Biology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1998. She went on to complete both her MSc and a PhD in genetics, also at the Hebrew University, in 1999 and 2003. She conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California in San Francisco from 2003 until 2008, when she joined the faculty of the Weizmann Institute of Science. Maya is the mother of three children and loves to spend time with her family, read, dance, hike, run and cook. She is the member of the American society of cell biology (ASCB) and a contributor to the Faculty of 1000.

Tony Futerman is a full professor of the Weizmann Institue of Science and a group leader in the Department of Biological Chemistry. His research interest focuses around the role of sphingolipids in health and disease. Currently, he is focusing on understanding the regulation of sphingolipid biosynthesis via the ceramide synthase family, and the mechanism of neurodegeneration in the sphingolipid storage disease, Gaucher disease. He heads a lab of ~20 people. He has three sons (the eldest was recently married) and lives on the campus of the Weizmann Institute, and can walk to his lab in 7 minutes!