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History of Institute of Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry at Medical Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava

The Institute has its origins in the years 1922-1924. As a part of development of theoretical institutes of Medical Faculty of Comenius University (MF CU) The Institute of Medical Chemistry was founded. MUDr. Jan Buchtala became the first head (1922 - 1938). He graduated from Medical Faculty at the University of the city which is nowadays called Graz. After graduation he worked as an assistant for prof. G. Hofmann at the Institute of Medical Chemistry, Medical Faculty of this university, where he was a colleague of the later Nobel Prize laureate for chemistry F. Pregl. Utilizing new micromethods he produced original results when researching and analyzing human bile and amino acid composition of several proteins. He later became as an associate professor the head of Department of Forensic Chemistry of the Institute. During his work at the MF CU in Bratislava he focused on forensic chemistry and toxicology and on analysis of mineral water springs in Slovakia. Among his achievements is the explanation of periodic eruptions of Herľany geyser. In 1933-1934 he served as a dean of MF and in 1935-1938 he served as a head of the branch of Czechoslovak Society of Chemistry in Bratislava.

In years 1939-1947 the head of the Institute was Dr. techn. František Valentin who graduated from ČVUT in Prague. He co-worked with prof. E. Votočka at this college and he received international reputation for his work on saccharide constitution. He came to Bratislava after he returned from a study trip which took place at the Istitut de Biologie Physico-chimique of Sorbona University (SU) in Paris. During his work at the MF SU, Faculty of Natural Sciences SU and Slovak Technic College in Bratislava he continued with his saccharide research and vitamin C. He founded Slovak Academy of Sciences and Art and became one of the lead figures of natural and technical sciences in Slovakia. In 1943-1944 he served as the head of University of Slovakia.

In years 1948-1976 the head of the Institute was prof. RNDr. Ján Kubis, who graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Charles University in Prague. After his short work at the Institute of general and inorganic chemistry with prof. J. Křepelka he lead analytical laboratory of the Baťa company in Zlín, later he was a director of Research Institute of Agrochemical Technologies of Dynamit Nobel In Bratislava. During his work at MF CU he focused on polarography and on analysis of toxic substances in biological material samples.

In years 1977-1982 the head of the Institute was prof. Ing. Ľudovít Bergendi, DrSc. The research effort at that time concentrated on free radicals and their patobiochemical significance and also on non-enzymatic glycation of proteins and their relationship to diabetes mellitus. The Institute started its cooperation with multiple clinical and scientific institutions home and abroad.

In 1949 Department of Biochemistry came into existence within the Institute of Medical Chemistry with MUDr. Rudolf Korec as its head and in 1952 it became independent Institute of General and Clinical Biochemistry MF CU. The founder and the first head of this newly formed Institute was prof. T. R. Niederland, DrSc. In the research and teaching activities of the new Institute he used his knowledge and experience from his stay at Washington University in St. Louis, where he worked at the laboratory of C. F. Cori and G. Cori that were later awarded with Nobel Prize. Institute under his lead started teaching biochemistry and clinical biochemistry at the first in the former Czechoslovakia. Prof. Niederland created significant scientific school of biochemistry in Slovakia. Since 1996 a prize is awarded in his honor - The Niederland Prize - as the highest scientific award of Slovak Medical Society.

In 1957 prof. Niederland with some of his colleagues started working at III. Clinic of Internal Medicine of Faculty Hospital, where he created a few wards connected with laboratories that contributed to the connection of clinical and experimental work and used up-to-date clinical and biochemical approaches important in development of internal medicine. The head of the theoretical part of the Institute of Biochemistry MF CU became prof. MUDr. T. Turský, CSc. (an assistant of prof. Niederland), who had returned from his graduate studies in Prague at the Institute of Organic Chemistry ČSAV. The focus of the Institute was on neurochemistry and thanks to this the Institute contributed to creation of Neurobiochemical Section of Slovak Society of Biochemistry. Prof. Turský co-founded Biochemical Institute of MF as a base for development of biochemistry in Slovakia. He also chaired the branch of Czechoslovak Society of Biochemistry in Slovakia, which later became Slovak Society of Biochemistry at Slovak Academy of Sciences (since 1993 renamed to Slovak Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Slovak Academy of Sciences).

In 1983 both Institutes of Chemistry and Institute of Biochemistry merged into Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry MF CU (the head was prof. MUDr. Ján Križko, CSc., later prof. Ing. Ľudovít Bergendi, DrSc.) In 1991 the name was changed on more time to Institute of Medical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry MF CU. The heads of the Institute were: prof. RNDr. Jozef Čársky, CSc.; assoc. prof. MUDr. Branislav Líška, CSc.; prof. Ing. Zdeňka Ďuračková, PhD. The current head of the institute is prof. MUDr. Ladislav Turecký, CSc.