Featured RNA Salon – Hungarian RNA Salons

Hungarian RNA Salons – from 2016 on…
The RNA Society ‘RNA Salon’ initiative turned out to be a lucky and successful coincidence with our
previous ambition to establish a strong local RNA community in Hungary, formed from scattered
laboratories focusing on various RNA research directions, located in different cities. The initiative ignited
the previous plan to create a common platform for these laboratories, in form of local conferences,
meetings, and other university based events. The successful application to start the ‘Hungarian RNA Salons’
united several laboratories and many scientists from 3 cities, organizing local activities hosted in rotation in
the Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (ABI) in Gödöllő, in the Research Centre for Natural Sciences
and the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest, as well as in the Biological Research Centre
in Szeged. We organized several seminars about ongoing researches on small RNAs by senior
scientists, also inviting an internationally recognized RNA biologist György Hutvágner (University of
Technology, Sydney, Australia), who started his scientific career in Hungary. We were glad to see many
young PhD students attending these seminars and we believe that these lectures were especially inspiring
and motivating for the young researchers.

In addition to these regular scientific seminars, we organized a one‐week‐long university lecture series
and practical on small RNAs, focusing on the detection of plant miRNAs. Several students participated in
this event which also gave credits for Master and PhD programs in several universities. With these
activities, we try to integrate some RNA related courses into the RNA Salons, hoping to present RNA based
researches as potential scientific carrier choices for young scientists. Nevertheless, the biggest achievement
organized under the supervision of the RNA Salons was a one‐day‐long minisymposium on RNA research,
named as the “Forum of Young RNA Scientists”. For this event, we invited the application of PhD students
and postdocs to present their ongoing RNA research. We had one ‘human/animal RNA’ and two ‘plant RNA’
sessions, with altogether 18 speakers; they were all evaluated by a committee of senior scientist to select
the two best lecturers who received prizes as recognitions of their excellence. The minisymposium was a
completely new event, entirely inspired by the RNA Salon activities with the aim of supporting “the young
RNA generation” to stay in this scientific discipline. We believe that the most important incentive for young
researchers is the recognition of their excellent presentation, so we decided to allocate most of the
financial support to cover the prizes for outstanding presentations.

As the main organizer of the Hungarian RNA Salons, I feel that this is a very fruitful initiative of the RNA
Society: under the ‘Hungarian RNA Salons’, altogether approximately 80 scientists were involved in the
various activities, many of them being young dedicated students for whom these events were truly
inspiring. The currently participating laboratories mainly focus on small RNA research areas, but our further
goal is to widen the repertoire of our RNA Salon and involve scientists from additional Hungarian
institutions, working on different topics such as long noncoding RNAs or RNA splicing. I believe that we
managed to establish a strong local RNA community (as shown by the accompanying picture) which has the
potential to be successfully maintained in the future, supporting “the next RNA generation”.

On behalf of the other co‐organizers:
Tamás Orbán,
Institute of Enzymology, RCNS, Budapest