Szilvia Brunner was born in Szentes on 21 June 1985 from the marriage of Katalin Palásti and Ferenc Brunner. She studied at the University of Szeged (SZTE) and graduated as a biologist in 2009. In 2009 and 2010 she worked as a researcher in the Institute of Molecular Biology at SZTE. In 2011, she applied to the Doctoral School of the Institute of Plant Biology of SZTE. Her field of interest was proteomics: she studied the role of glutathione biosynthesis in plant responses on abiotic stress. The first paper she co-authored was published in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry in 2014. In the same year, she participated in a short research project organized by Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel), but decided to continue her scientific career in Hungary. Between 2014 and 2015, she worked as a quality assurance coordinator in the microbiology laboratory of Unilever Hungary Ltd. From 2015 to 2017 she worked at the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of the National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, where she was engaged in micro- and molecular biology research.
In January 2017, she joined the Biomedical Applications Group of ELI-ALPS. She expanded her scientific knowledge by attending several international study trips and conferences. In the meantime, she also contributed to efforts aimed at outfitting the biology laboratories: she helped with the procurement of reagents and materials the drafting of the operating rules of the laboratories, and was involved in the commissioning of the in vitro laboratory. In 2018, she enrolled in the PhD programme of the Clinical Medicine Doctoral School of the University of Szeged upon successfully completing the admission and comprehensive exams.
She authored and co-authored several Hungarian and foreign language publications, and presented the results of her research activities at several international conferences. Thanks to her excellent interpersonal skills, she actively contributed to the establishment and maintenance of large-scale scientific collaborations, including a joint project with the Terahertz Sources Group, pre-clinical experiments for the boron neutron/boron proton capture therapy, as well as the preparations of the photoacoustic project. Research efforts were then focused on cell radiobiological experiments, and Szilvia amassed promising scientific results with several teams at SZTE (Cell Laboratory of the Department of Dermatology; Superresolution Microscopy Team at the Department of Optics and Quantum Electronics). She spent the last weeks intensely working towards the publication of these results. She was close to earning her doctoral degree. She had received her pre-degree certificate required for launching the relevant process. She was the first author of a paper (accepted for publication in Anticancer Research Journal) in which she presented the results of a comparative study of dose-dependent changes induced by proton and photon irradiation in a zebrafish model. She was close to finishing a second paper in which she wanted to present the results of the latest experiments researching the molecular cell processes induced by ionizing irradiation, and various protective materials against radiation. She was planning to defend her dissertation next spring.
Szilvia was a real fighter and a team player. She was a role model for all of us with her untiring perseverance and perfectionism. Her positive and assertive personality, enthusiasm for everything she did, and her attitude to life inspired all of us. There is no doubt that her character was also shaped by her parents, whom she adored and respected above all. They instilled in her the love of sports, perseverance, discipline, and probably the ‘do it right or don’t do at all’ attitude. She had an interest in sports since she was a child, and was actively engaged in sports up to her very last day. She did gymnastics, horse-riding, yoga and kayaking. She loved nature, fresh air, the water, the sun and life. And most importantly, she was always ready to face challenges. She participated in several national and international dragon boating championships, and she was planning to return to gymnastics at amateur level. Sports and competing were her life and passion! Her death is an irreplaceable loss to all of us.
Dear Szilvia, we will all miss you. You will remain in our hearts forever. May you rest in peace.