r. Merkely is a medical doctor, cardiologist, professor, PhD of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, director of the Heart and Vascular Centre of Semmelweis University, and, from 2018, the university’s rector. He was born in Budapest in 1966. After the change of regime, he graduated summa cum laude in medicine and spent two years at the world-renowned University of Heidelberg. The professor is a leading figure in Hungarian catheter-based myocardial infarction care, and, as the founder of the Hungarian artificial heart programme, he turned Hungary into a world leader in adult heart transplantation. In 2020-21, his unparalleled contribution made him an iconic figure of the fight against the covid-19 epidemic in Hungary. In 2021, in addition to his many Hungarian and international honors, he was awarded the Széchényi-Prize for his internationally acclaimed cardiology research results achieved throughout his exceptionally valuable scientific career, his dedicated work as a professor and his outstanding institutional leadership and professional public activities.