Saez-Rodriguez Group

Systems Biomedicine

Bence Szalai

I received my MD and PhD degree from Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. During my PhD I used experimental techniques (mostly resonance energy transfer methods) to analyse the dimerisation of G-protein coupled receptors. In the last years of my PhD my interest shifted towards computational biology. I participated in several DREAM Challenges, and reached top performance on the AstraZeneca-Sanger Drug Combination Prediction DREAM Challenge.

In 2017 I joined the Saez-Rodriguez group in Aachen, to work on the EU founded PrECISE project. This project aimed to improve patient risk-stratification and treatment in prostate cancer by developing new computational approaches to exploit next generation molecular data. In 2018 I returned to Hungary and I am currently working as assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University. In the last 2 years I continued my close collaborations with the Saez-Rodriguez group.

Research Interests

The main focus of my research is to  develop methods to gain mechanistic (pathway level) insight from high-throughput omics data (especially transcriptomics). I apply these methods to understand drug mode of action, intercellular communication (from single cell data) and the mechanisms of drug sensitivity / synergy in cancer. I am also interested in the application of machine learning methods in drug sensitivity prediction, and in computational biology crowd-sourcing methods.

Professional Career

2020-current: assistant professor, Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary (part time)
2018-current: premium postdoctoral research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
2017-2018: postdoctoral researcher, Saez-Rodriguez group, JRC-COMBINE, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
2013-2019: assistant lecturer, Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
2011-2013: assistant research fellow, Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary


2016: PhD, molecular medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
2008: MD, medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary