Dr. Viktor Lukacs

Dr. Viktor Lukacs

Profile

My main research interests lie in cellular physiology, neuroscience, molecular biology and ion channel biophysics. I studied medicine at Semmelweis University (Hungary) and obtained a PhD in Physiology at Rutgers (New Jersey), where I studied the role and regulation of sensory TRP ion channels by membrane phospholipids in Dorsal Root Ganglion neurones (laboratory of Tibor Rohacs). After post-doctoral work studying various roles of mechanosensitive Piezo ion channels in mammalian physiology (laboratory of Ardem Patapoutian), I joined the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds as Lecturer in Neuroscience. Throughout my career I have been fascinated by the molecular diversity and complex functions of the sensory nervous system, the first and most promising point of target for analgesic therapy. My research is focused on uncovering and studying molecular receptors of noxious physical and chemical stimuli. I am also interested in developing new technology in the field of genomics, using combinations of new molecular tools for gene editing and cellular labelling to improve high-throughput screening tecnhiques.

  • 2000 – 2007; Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) at Semmelweis University Budapest, Hungary
  • 2007 – 2013; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences University, USA
  • 2013 – 2018; Post-doctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute and Sanford Burnham Medical Discovery Institute, San Diego, USA
  • 2019 – present; Lecturer in Neuroscience, University of Leeds 

Research interests

All cells decode information from their surroundings via receptor molecules, which are proteins that detect these cues and initiate signaling to alter cellular function. Sensory nerves are specialists of this process; they detect the properties of both external and internal environments, translating and relaying this information to alter the behaviour of an entire organism. Sensory input in these nerves is translated into a frequency-coded train of action potentials, which is then relayed to the central nervous system. There are many different flavours of sensory nerves, expressing different combinations of genes that determine their sensitivity and response profile. The identity of the genes encoding many of these receptors is still unknown, their potential as targets for therapeutic intervention as yet untapped. We conduct experiments to identify and characterise these receptors, their downstream targets and their involvement in sensory function. These efforts will contribute to our understanding of how these neurons function, as well as how these processes are derailed to result in chronic pain conditions. Our experiments that harness the logic of evolution to find such new receptors. We induce random changes in the genome, combined with an unbiased selection process, to give rise to rare emergent phenotypes which can be used to identify novel genes and signaling pathways.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Qualifications

  • M.D. (2007)
  • Ph.D. (2013)

Research groups and institutes

  • Neuroscience
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
Projects
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1448-molecular-targets-of-analgesic-natural-compounds-in-the-sensory-system">Molecular targets of analgesic natural compounds in the sensory system</a></li> <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1416-structural-basis-of-local-ca2+-ion-mediated-signalling-in-the-mammalian-brain">Structural basis of local Ca2+ ion-mediated signalling in the mammalian brain</a></li>