Sándor Belák qualified as a veterinary surgeon from the University of Veterinary Sciences in Budapest (Hungary) in 1969. He worked at the headquarters of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Rome and at the Foot-and-Mouth-Disease Vaccine and Diagnostic Institute in Ankara (Turkey) before returning to the University of Veterinary Sciences in Budapest, where he obtained his PhD in 1978. In 1979, he worked for a year at the National Animal Disease Centre in Ames (Iowa, USA).
In 1985, he moved to Sweden where he is currently employed as Professor, research leader, and project coordinator; he is the founder of the Joint Research and Development Division of the Departments of Virology (National Veterinary Institute, SVA) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), acting also as academic lecturer and examiner in virology. He has been the supervisor of 18 PhD students and of a large number of MSc students.
In 1994 he defended his Doctor of Science (DSc) thesis at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was elected as external member of this academy in 2007.
He has published over 235 papers in peer-reviewed journals, of which around 65 deal with feline infectious diseases. He has authored nine books and is on the Editorial Board of four international journals.
He acts as a reviewer in numerous research foundations and has earned the Centenary Award of the British Veterinary Association (1989), the George Fleming Literary Prize (2002), the Thuréus prize of the Royal Society of Sciences, Sweden (2004) and the Köves prize of the Hungarian Veterinary Association/Ceva (2011). In 2012 he was decorated with the Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, KSLA "for outstanding research work in veterinary virology". Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden delivered the award at the occasion of the 199th anniversary meeting of the Royal Academy in Stockholm on 28 January 2012 (see http://esvv.eu/?page=news&id=23).
Dr. Belák has coordinated three EU research consortia and has been partner group leader in additional 20 EU research projects as well as national projects on herpesviruses, coronaviruses, arteriviruses, influenza viruses, pestiviruses, molecular diagnostics, food safety and biosafety.
From 2006 to 2012 he was President of the European Society for Veterinary Virology (ESVV). He is the member of the Board of the EC European Platform for Global Animal Health.
He heads the Animal World Health Organization's (OIE) "Collaborating Centre for the Application of Biotechnology-based Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases in Veterinary Medicine ", with the tasks of international standardization, validation and training. He acts as expert of other international organizations, like the EC, FAO and IAEA.
- Kiss, I., Kecskeméti, S., Tanyi, J., Klingeborn, B. and Belák, S.: Prevalence and genetic pattern of feline coronaviruses in urban cat populations. The Veterinary Journal, 2000. 159. 64-70.
- Kiss, I., Kecskeméti, S., Tanyi, J., Klingeborn, B., Belák, S.: Preliminary studies on feline coronavirus distribution in naturally and experimentally infected cats. Research in Veterinary Science, 2000. 68. 237-242.
- Belák, S.: Molecular diagnosis of viral diseases, present trends and future aspects. A view from the OIE Collaborating Centre for the Application of Polymerase Chain Reaction Methods for Diagnosis of Viral Diseases in Veterinary Medicine. Vaccine, 2007. 25. 5444-5452.
- Gyarmati, P., Conce, T., Zohari, S., LeBlanc, N., Nilsson, M., Landegren, U., Johan Banér, J., and Belák, S.: Simultaneous genotyping of all hemagglutinin and neuraminidase subtypes of avian influenza viruses using padlock probes. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2008. 46. 1747-1751.
- Belák, S., Thorén, P., LeBlanc, N., Viljoen, G.: Advances in viral disease diagnostic and molecular epidemiological techniques. Expert Reviews for Molecular Diagnostics, 2009. 9. 367-381.
- Addie, D., Belák, S., Boucraut-Baralon, C., Egberink, H., Frymus, T., Gruffydd-Jones, T., Hartmann, K., Hosie, M.J., Lutz, H., Lloret, A., Marsilio, F., Pennisi, M.G., Thiry, E., Truyen, U., Horzinek, M.C.: Feline infectious peritonitis; ABCD Guidelines on prevention and management. J Feline Med Surg., 2009. 11. 594-604.
- Addie D.D, Radford A, Yam P, Taylor D.J. 2003 Cessation of feline calicivirus shedding coincided with resolution of clinical signs in a case of chronic lymphocytic plasmacytic gingivostomatitis. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 44 (4) 172-176.
- Schlingemann, J., Leijon, M., Yacoub, A., Schlingemann, H., Zohari, S., Matyi-Tóth, A., Kiss, I., Holmquist, G., Nordengrahn, A., Landegren, U., Ekström, B., Belák, S.: Novel means of viral antigen identification: Improved detection of avian influenza viruses by proximity ligation. Journal of Virological Methods, 2010. 163. 116-22Bálint, A., Farsang, A., Zádori, Z., Hornyák, A., Dencsö. L., Almazán, F., Enjuanes, L., Belák, S.: Molecular characterization of feline infectious peritonitis virus strain DF-2 and studies on the role of ORF3abc in viral cell tropism. Journal of Virology, 2012. 86. 6258-67.
- Leijon, M., Ullman, K., Thyselius, S., Zohari, S., Pedersen,.J.C., Hanna, A., Mahmood, S., Banks, J., Slomka, M.J., Belák, S.: Rapid PCR-based molecular pathotyping of H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2011. 49. 3860-73.
- Blomström, A-L., Widén, F., Belák, S., and Berg M. 2010: Detection of a novel astrovirus in brain tissues of minks suffering from shaking mink syndrome by applying methods of viral metagenomics. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2010. 48. 4392-4396.
Corine Boucraut- Baralon
Marian C. Horzinek
Maria Grazia Pennisi