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HCEMM-SU Neurobiology and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group

Group Leader

Karolina Pircs PhD

Group Leader


Family name, First name: Karolina , Pircs
Google Scholar:
ORCID: 0000-0001-8281-4785



2004-2009  M.Sc. in Biological Sciences, Area of specialization: Molecular Biology, Genetics

2009-2013   Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest: Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Area of specialization: Molecular Cell Biology

Positions and Employment:

HCEMM (Hungarian Centre of Excellence for Molecular Medicine) – SU (Semmelweis University), Institute of Translational Medicine, Budapest, Hungary

2020.10.01.-2024 Assistant Professor at HCEMM-SU Neurobiology and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group

Lund University, Molecular Neurogenetics, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund, Sweden

2019 – 2024 Assistant Professor, Associate Senior Lecturer

2016 – 2019 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Temporary Position

2014 – 2016 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Hjärnfonden fellowship

Eötvös Lóránd University, Department of Anatomy, Cell and Developmental Biology, Budapest, Hungary

2013-2014 Research Assistant, Project employment

Scientific Productivity & Bibliometric Measures:

Total number of published/accepted original peer-reviewed articles and reviews: 22

First authorship: 5

Last authorship: 1 (Autophagy, Q1, IF: 11.1)

Total number of citations: 8254 (Google scholar)

H-index: 16

BioRxiv papers: 2


Teaching Experience:

2014- present Scientific Lecturer at Lund University, Faculty of Medicine:
Scientific writing, Neurodegenerative diseases, Molecular genetics of eukaryotic organisms, Research Preparatory Course in Neuroscience

2019 Invited Speaker at What’s next? Meeting forum for Postdocs- Supervision of junior staff.
How to be a role model? organized by Lund Stem Cell Center (SCC)

2015 – present Unistem Cell Day (workshop organizer), Europe-wide Public stem cell engagement:
outreach event on stem cells dedicated to high school students (>500 students each year)

Formal Pedagogic Training: Perspectives on Learning, Project Based Learning, Research Supervision, DUCO Management Training

EMBO Laboratory Management Course: The art of leadership- fewer conflicts, more results
Academic productivity and stress management – the road to effectiveness

2020 – present Ongoing Supervision as a PI at HCEMM-Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Lea Danics, Postdoc, Mateusz Skawski, PhD, Dorina Jamniczky, MSc
2014 – 2020 Supervision as main supervisor at Lund University, Lund, Sweden

2 summer students (Caroline Sevcik, Kristina Thumfart), 1 BSc student (Stina Lagerström), 5 MSc students (Jessica Lagerwall, Kritika Sharma, Bob Hersbach, Sofia Madsen, Monika Matusiak-Brückner currently all enrolled in prestigious PhD programs)

Reviewing Experience:

2020 – present Guest Editor, GeroScience
2018 – Grant Reviewer, Neurological Foundation of New-Zealand Grant Reviewer
2018 – DFG (German Research Foundation)


Regular reviewer for Brain, Autophagy, Plos One, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, Experimental Neurology, Jove


Awards and Honors:

2020 Kutatók éjszakája a virtuális térben, Bőrsejtből agysejt: sejtprogramozás alapfokon, Oral presentation at the European Researcher’s Night

2020 Press release about Vetenskapsrådet awards Lund Stem Cell Center researchers over 23 million SEK – – – 2017-2020 NAS (Nordic Autophagy Society) member and sponsorship team member

2020 The AIM Center’s Early Career Investigator Series, selected ePoster

2020 Virtual Stem Cell Center Lectures- New frontiers and implications of new species models and Frontiers in the Development of New Gene Therapy Delivery (organizer, chair)

2019 Press release at the EMV News about faculty-funded Associate Seniour Lecturer (BUL) position

2019 Speaker at CRISPR seminar series

2019 Speaker at 2nd Nordic Huntington Disease Research Meeting

2019 Speaker at What’s next? Meeting forum for Postdocs- Supervision of junior staff. How to be a role model?

2019 Speaker at The Multipark Retreat

2019 Speaker at Lund Stem Cell Center Retreat

2019 Lund Stem Cell Center Article of the Year Award for Huntingtin Aggregation Impairs Autophagy, Leading to Argonaute-2 Accumulation and Global MicroRNA Dysregulation” published in Cell Reports, 2018

2019 Speaker at The Segerfalk Symposium- Neural reprogramming and disease modeling

2014 & 2015 &2018 Speaker at NECTAR Conference (Oral presentation and Datablitz Session Chair)

2018 Speaker at Nordic Huntington Disease Research Meeting

2018 AcouSort, AcouWash User (#6 place in The Scientist 2018 Top 10 Innovations)

2018 Scientific lecture, MTA-TTK Institute of Enzymology, Hungary (Activation of autophagy as a treatment strategy in Huntington’s disease)

2018 Expert Voices – Video on the importance of user safety

2016 – ongoing Representative of Sweden in Transautophagy (CA COST Action CA15138 European Network of Multidisciplinary Research and Translation of Autophagy knowledge)

2015 – 2020 Unistem Cell Day (workshop organiser, helper in a Europe-wide Public stem cell engagement: outreach event on stem cells dedicated to high school students)

2017 Best Poster Award, The FEBS Journal (NAS: Autophagy Across Kingdoms, 2017, Sigtuna)

2017 Speaker at Multipark Retreat of Highlighting the use of Multipark Infrastructure in Lund

2017 Speaker at EMBO Autophagy Conference (Selected abstract in Dubrovnik at the EMBO Autophagy: From Molecular principles to human diseases)

2016 Speaker at Bagadilico Retreat of granted project in Ystad

2016 Speaker at Transautophagy Conference (Selected abstract) in Warsaw at the Annual Transautophagy Conference


HCEMM-Semmelweis University

HCEMM- Junior Starting GrantSTIA-KFI
STIA-Proof of Concept
SE-Establishment Grant

Lund University

Vetenskapsrådet/Swedish Research Council- Starting Grant
Jeanssons Stiftelser
Petrus och Augusta Hedlunds Stiftelse
Åke Wibergs stiftelse
Stiftelsen Sigurd och Elsa Goljes Minne
The Thelma Zoéga Fund for Medical Research
Greta och Johan Kocks stiftelser
NAS Travel Grant
Stiftelsen Anna-Lisa Rosenbergs fond för neurologisk forskning
Stiftelsen Lars Hiertas Minne
Tore Nilsons Stiftelse För Medicinsk Forskning
The Crafoord Foundation
Torsten och Elsa Segerfalks stiftelse
Wenner Gren Travel Grant
Multipark Travel Grant
Royal Physiographic Society of Lund Research Grant
Parkinsonfonden Travel Grant
Åhlén Research Grant
Maggie Stephens Stiftelse


*: These authors have contributed equally to this work. Published original articles in peer-reviewed international journals
  1. Davegårdh C, Säll J, Benrick A, Broholm C, Volkov P, Perfilyev A, Henriksen TI, Wu Y, Hjort L, Brøns C, Hansson O, Pedersen M, Würthner JU, Pfeffer K, Nilsson E, Vaag A, Stener-Victorin E, Pircs K, Scheele C, Ling C. Reduced VPS39 observed in type 2 diabetes impairs human muscle stem cell differentiation via altered autophagy and epigenetics. Nature Communications 2021; In press
  2. Jönsson ME, Garza R, Sharma Y, Petri R, Södersten E, Johansson JG,  Johansson PA, Atacho DAM, Pircs K, Madsen S, Yudovich D, Ramakrishnan R, Holmberg J, Larsson J, Jern P, Jakobsson J. Activation of endogenous retroviruses during brain development causes an inflammatory response. EMBO Journal. 2021; 10.15252/embj.2020106423 In press
  3. Brattås PL, Hersbach BA, Madsen S, Petri R, Jakobsson J, Pircs K. Impact of differential and time-dependent autophagy activation on therapeutic efficacy in a model of Huntington’s disease. Autophagy 2020. 1-14
  4. Jönsson ME, Brattås PL, Gustafsson C, Petri R, Yudovich D, Pircs K, Verschuere S, Madsen S, Hansson J, Larsson J, Månsson R, Meissner A, Jakobsson J. Activation of neuronal genes via LINE-1 elements upon global DNA demethylation in human neural progenitors Nature Communications 2019; 10, 3182
  5. Petri R, Brattås PL, Sharma Y, Jönsson ME, Pircs K, Bengzon J, Jakobsson J. LINE-2 transposable elements are a source of functional human microRNAs and target sites. Plos Genetics 2019;
  6. Pircs K, Petri R, Madsen S, Brattås PL, Vuono R, Ottosson RD, St-Amour I, Hersbach AB, Matusiak-Brückner M, Hult Lundh S, Petersén Å, Déglon N, Hébert SS, Parmar M, Barker AR, Jakobsson J. Huntingtin aggregation impairs autophagy leading to Argonaute-2 accumulation and global microRNA dysregulation Cell Reports 2018; 24(6):1397-406.
  7. Kutsche L*, Gysi D*, Lenk K, Fallmann J, Petri R, Klapper S, Pircs K, Stadler P, Jakobsson J, Nowick K, Busskamp V. Combined Experimental and System-Level Analyses Reveal the Complex Regulatory Network of miR-124 during Human Neurogenesis Cell Systems 2018; doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2018.08.011
  8. Shrigley S, Pircs K, Barker AR, Parmar M, Drouin-Ouellet J. Simple Generation of a High Yield Culture of Induced Neurons from Human Adult Skin Fibroblasts. JoVE Video Journal 2017; (132), e56904, doi:10.3791/56904
  9. Drouin-Ouellet J*, Lau S*, Brattås PL, Rylander Ottosson D, Pircs K, Grassi D, Collins ML, Vuono R, Sjöland AA, Westergren-Thorsson G, Graff C, Minthon L, Toresson H, Barker AR, Jakobsson J, Parmar M. REST suppression mediates neural conversion of adult human fibroblasts via microRNA dependent and independent pathways EMBO Molecular Medicine. 2017; pii: 14276992. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201607471
  10. Petri R, Pircs K, Jönsson ME, Akerblom M, Brattås PL, Klussendorf T, Jakobsson J. let-7 regulates radial migration of new-born neurons through positive regulation of autophagy. EMBO Journal. 2017; 36(10):1379-91.
  11. Takáts Sz, Varga Á, Pircs K, Juhász G. Loss of Drosophila Vps16A enhances autophagosome formation through reduced TOR activity Autophagy. 2015; 11(8):1209-15
  12. Takats Sz*, Pircs K*, Nagy P, Varga A, Karpati M, Hegedus K, Kramer H, Kovacs A, Sass M, Juhasz G. Interaction of the HOPS complex with Syntaxin 17 mediates autophagosome clearance in Drosophila Molecular Biololgy of Cell. 2015; 25(8):1338-54.
  13. Nagy P, Hegedus K, Pircs K, Varga A, Juhasz G. Different effects of Atg2 and Atg18 mutations on Atg8a and Atg9 trafficking during starvation in Drosophila FEBS Letters. 2014; 588, 408-413.
  14. Nagy P, Karpati M, Varga A, Pircs K, Venkei Zs, Takats Sz, Varga K, Erdi B, Hegedus K, Juhasz G. FIP200 promotes phagophore assembly at perilysosomal p62/Ref(2)P aggregates by activation of Atg1 in Drosophila Autophagy. 2014; 10:3, 1-15.
  15. Nagy P, Pircs K, Varga A, Hegedus K, Juhász G. Myc-driven overgrowth requires unfolded protein response-mediated induction of autophagy and antioxidant responses in Drosophila melanogaster. PloS Genetics. 2013; 9(8): e1003664.
  16. Low P*, Varga A*, Pircs K, Nagy P, Szatmari Zs, Sass M, Juhasz G. Impaired proteasomal degradation enhances autophagy via hypoxia signaling in Drosophila. BMC Cell Biology. 2013; 14(1):29.
  17. Takats Sz, Nagy P, Varga A, Pircs K, Karpati M, Varga K, Kovacs A, Hegedus K, Juhasz G. Autophagosomal Syntaxin17-dependent lysosomal degradation maintains neuronal function in Drosophila. Journal of Cell Biology 2013; 201(4): 531-9.
  18. Pircs K, Nagy P, Varga A, Venkei Z, Erdi B, Hegedus K, Juhasz G. Advantages and limitations of different p62-based assays for estimating autophagic activity in Drosophila. PloS One. 2012; 7: e44214.
  19. Erdi B, Nagy P, Zvara A, Varga A, Pircs K, Menesi D, Puskas LG, Juhasz G. Loss of the starvation-induced gene Rack1 leads to glycogen deficiency and impaired autophagic responses in Drosophila. Autophagy. 2012; 8: 1124-1135.
  Review articles and book chapter
  1. DJ Klionsky, AK Abdel-Aziz, S Abdelfatah, M Abdellatif, A Abdoli, S Abel, et al. (2021) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition) Autophagy
  2. Mallinson J, Linander O, Magnusson C, Pircs K, Augustsson P. ACouWash: A standalone instrument for the washing, separation and enrichment of cells. 22nd International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences, MicroTAS 2018. Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society 2018 p. 279-281 3 p.
  3. Pircs K*, Petri R*, Jakobsson J. Crosstalk between microRNAs and autophagy in adult neurogenesis: implications for neurodegenerative disorders Brain Plasticity 2018; vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 195-203, doi: 10.3233/BPL-180066
  4. Drouin-Ouellet J*, Pircs K*, Barker AR, Jakobsson J, Parmar M. Direct neuronal reprogramming for disease modeling studies using patient-derived neurons: What have we learned? Frontiers in Neuroscience 2017; doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00530
Popular science articles/presentations
  1. 2020 Press release about Vetenskapsrådet awards Lund Stem Cell Center researchers over 23 million SEK
  3. 2020 Press release at the Lund Stem Cell Center News for the Brattas et al Autophagy paper: Autophagy and the treatment of Huntington disease: timing is key
  5. 2019 Press release at the EMV News about faculty-funded Associate Senior Lecturer (BUL) position Say hi to our 4 new BULs: Anders x 2, Sonja and Karolina!
  6. 2018 AcouSort, AcouWash User #6 place in The Scientist 2018 Top 10 Innovations:
  8. 2018 Expert Voices – Video on the importance of user safety
  10. 2018 Press release for the Pircs et al Cell Reports paper: Powerful molecules provide new findings about Huntington’s disease
  15. 2018 Press release for the Pircs et al Cell Reports paper: Kraftfulla molekyler ger nya rön om Huntingtons sjukdom
  17. 2018 Press release for the Pircs et al Cell Reports paper: New research findings about Huntington’s disease
  19. 2018 Press release for the Pircs et al Cell Reports paper: New Look at Gene Expression in the Brain May Offer Clue to Treating Huntington’s Disease


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