2020. October 22., Thursday
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Zsolt Datki: My hobby is realistic romanticism

During their working hours they teach university students, seek out remedies for incurable diseases, think up innovative inventions or explore the secrets of the universe. What do they change into after taking off the white coat at the end of their shift? How do the professors and researchers of the University of Szeged spend their free time? In our “Scientific hobbies” section we have asked Zsolt Datki, a neurobiologist at the Psychiatric Clinic of the Medical Faculty of the University of Szeged.


“How long have you been pursuing your hobby?”

“I’ve been drawn to the adventurous, romantic and yet dog-eat-dog world of the Wild West ever since I can remember. From the age of two my father took me to the cinema to see old, classic western films. Back then there was no window to the world in Transylvania other than the one movie on the screen every month. By now, the dream has become reality: I am a member of the Shooting Club in Tótkomlós, and my fellows and I revive the Wild West atmosphere at a festival every year.”

Zsolt Datki

“Why do you like it, what kind of reward does it add to your life?”
“In my opinion – perhaps due to my székely (eastern Transylvanian ethnic Hungarian people) origins – it is battle and fighting, that embodies honour. Of course, I mean it in a good sense: I appreciate fellow humans and I never run away from challenges. To me, the history, symbols and mystic of the Wild West expresses exactly this.”


“What is your most memorable experience related to your hobby?”
“It was an indelible moment when my dad announced that my favourite western actor had not died in reality, and that the movie is just a game. It has remained a game for a lifetime.”


Zsolt Datki“What is your research area?”
“My research area is exploring, understanding and modelling the biochemical background of Alzheimer's disease. Every day I am surrounded by colleagues, cells, microscopes, the hustle and bustle of the lab, sometimes contemplation. All in all, I would call it a kind of romantic realism. At present, I am measuring gastrointestinal motility in neuropsychiatric disorders, with particular interest in anxiety symptoms. We look for causal relationships and/or parallels between mental illnesses and the electrical activity of the digestive system. We are convinced that somatic abnormalities can affect the emotional and mental mood of individuals, and the measurement of these parameters can become of diagnostic significance.”


“Is there a relationship between your work and your hobby?”
“There is no direct relationship between them, but it is better this way, as they are two separate worlds and I can wander between them to my liking. Unlike research, my hobby is realistic romanticism.”


Text: Anna Bobkó
Photo: Anna Bobkó

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