Please note: Dr. Szaszi is not taking any summer students.

Dr. Katalin Szaszi is a Staff Scientist in the Keenan Research Center for Biomedical Science (KRCBS) at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto (Department of Surgery). She obtained her Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at the Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. She completed post-doctoral training in the Cell Biology Department at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and at Toronto General Hospital. In 2005, she was appointed as a Scientist at the KRCBS. She is also a member of the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) at the University of Toronto and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology (iBest), a partnership between Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital. She currently serves as the Co-Director of the Research Training Centre (RTC) at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Szaszi is a cell biologist whose research focuses on epithelial biology and pathophysiology. Her main area of interest is the role and regulation of Rho family proteins and tight junctions by inflammatory stimuli. Her lab has shown that the Rho exchange factor GEF-H1 is a key mediator of Tumor Necrosis factor (TNF)-induced Rac and RhoA activation and demonstrated the role of phosphorylation in the differential regulation of this protein towards Rac and RhoA. Recently, they have found that TNF treatment induces a biphasic effect on the tight junction protein claudin-2 with and initial increase and a late decrease, and described the underlying mechanisms. Her lab explores the role of these proteins in animal models of kidney diseases. Dr. Szaszi has more than 50 peer-reviewed well cited publications.

Dr. Szaszi’s lab is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Kidney Foundation of Canada (KFoC). She was a recipient of a Krescent New Investigator award from KFoC and CIHR (2007-2010) and an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Innovation. Dr. Szaszi has contributed to the training of numerous undergraduate and graduate students. She has served on several grant panels including those of the Kidney Foundation and CIHR.


Recent Publications

  1. Venugopal, S, Dan, Q, Sri Theivakadadcham, VS, Wu, BR, Kofler, M, Layne, MD et al.. Regulation of the RhoA exchange factor GEF-H1 by pro-fibrotic stimuli through a positive feedback loop involving RhoA, MRTF and Sp1. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2024; :. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00088.2024. PubMed PMID:38912734 .
  2. Lichner, Z, Ding, M, Khare, T, Dan, Q, Benitez, R, Praszner, M et al.. Myocardin-Related Transcription Factor Mediates Epithelial Fibrogenesis in Polycystic Kidney Disease. Cells. 2024;13 (11):. doi: 10.3390/cells13110984. PubMed PMID:38891116 PubMed Central PMC11172104.
  3. Mukkala, AN, Jerkic, M, Khan, Z, Szaszi, K, Kapus, A, Rotstein, O et al.. Therapeutic Effects of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Require Mitochondrial Transfer and Quality Control. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24 (21):. doi: 10.3390/ijms242115788. PubMed PMID:37958771 PubMed Central PMC10647450.
  4. Jerkic, M, Szaszi, K, Laffey, JG, Rotstein, O, Zhang, H. Key Role of Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Interaction with Macrophages in Promoting Repair of Lung Injury. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24 (4):. doi: 10.3390/ijms24043376. PubMed PMID:36834784 PubMed Central PMC9965074.
  5. Burger, D, Abdelrasoul, A, Alexander, RT, Ballermann, B, Bridgewater, D, Chan, JSD et al.. Advancing Discovery Research in Nephrology in Canada: A Conference Report From the 2021 Molecules and Mechanisms Mediating Kidney Health and Disease (M3K) Scientific Meeting and Investigator Summit. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2022;9 :20543581221144824. doi: 10.1177/20543581221144824. PubMed PMID:36545249 PubMed Central PMC9761209.
  6. Ailenberg, M, Kapus, A, Leung, CH, Szaszi, K, Williams, P, diCiano-Oliveira, C et al.. ACTIVATION OF THE MITOCHONDRIAL ANTIVIRAL SIGNALING PROTEIN (MAVS) FOLLOWING LIVER ISCHEMIA/REPERFUSION AND ITS EFFECT ON INFLAMMATION AND INJURY. Shock. 2022;58 (1):78-89. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001949. PubMed PMID:35670454 PubMed Central PMC9415233.
  7. Speight, P, Rozycki, M, Venugopal, S, Szászi, K, Kofler, M, Kapus, A et al.. Myocardin-related transcription factor and serum response factor regulate cilium turnover by both transcriptional and local mechanisms. iScience. 2021;24 (7):102739. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102739. PubMed PMID:34278253 PubMed Central PMC8261663.
  8. Miranda, MZ, Lichner, Z, Szászi, K, Kapus, A. MRTF: Basic Biology and Role in Kidney Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22 (11):. doi: 10.3390/ijms22116040. PubMed PMID:34204945 PubMed Central PMC8199744.
  9. Dos Santos, CC, Amatullah, H, Vaswani, CM, Maron-Gutierrez, T, Kim, M, Mei, SHJ et al.. Mesenchymal stromal (stem) cell therapy modulates miR-193b-5p expression to attenuate sepsis-induced acute lung injury. Eur Respir J. 2022;59 (1):. doi: 10.1183/13993003.04216-2020. PubMed PMID:34112731 .
  10. Anwer, S, Szaszi, K. Measuring Cell Growth and Junction Development in Epithelial Cells Using Electric Cell-Substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS). Bio Protoc. 2020;10 (16):e3729. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.3729. PubMed PMID:33659390 PubMed Central PMC7842377.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Co-Director, Research Training Centre (RTC), Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science & Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member, Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Science Technology (iBest), Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Full Member, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto