History of the Department
The department was established in 1929 by the world-famous parasitologist, Sándor Kotlán, who led education and research until 1966. From 1966 Tibor Kobulej, and from 1981 Tibor Kassai became the head of the department. They were followed by István Varga (1995–2001), then by Róbert Farkas (from 2001).
The teaching of parasitology and zoology was initiated at the time of Sándor Kotlán. In the two semesters of parasitology lectures and practicals students get acquainted with the general morphology, development and ecology of parasites, as well as with the clinicopathological aspects, diagnosis, treatment and control of infections. The level of education is indicated by the fact that two books, Parasitologia by Sándor Kotlán (1944), and Veterinary helminthology by Tibor Kassai (1999) were translated into several languages and are still internationally acknowledged.
Zoology summarizes the basic principles of taxonomy, ecology and ethology necessary for students to accomplish their later studies. Diseases of fish, bees and game animals were also taught by the department earlier, nowadays only honey bee diseases belong here. Among undergraduate courses for biologists (MSc) lectures and practicals in parasitology and parasite ecology are held, as well as four optional courses on special aspects of parasitology intended for students of veterinary science or biology. The department has contributed to the preparation of diploma works and students’ research reports for decades. It also participates in the postgraduate training of veterinarians and microbiologists (Faculty of Science, Eötvös Loránd University) as well as in the work of the Doctoral (PhD) School in Veterinary Sciences of the Szent István University. PhD theses were successfully defended by the staff of the department. The first ones in the new PhD system, and the first by a Hungarian veterinarian at the Utrecht University were also among these. Research of international standard is also carried out at the department. Conditions for this considerably improved when the laboratories of serology and molecular biology could be well equipped by means of project funds and other resources.
Research in the Helminthology Laboratory (1960–1995) focused on the gastrointestinal nematodes of ruminants and breeding for resistance in connection with this. In the last decade – besides traditional topics – research into vectors and vector-borne agents has started. The department has been participating in European and bilateral foreign and domestic projects for many years. Staff members give account of their results in high standard scientific journals and at international and Hungarian conferences.
Besides education and research tasks, high level diagnostic services are also offered for other departments of the faculty, as well as practicing veterinarians and animal owners.