In memory of ESNR Honorary Member Professor Zoltan Patay

25/07/2022 : In memory of ESNR Honorary Member Professor Zoltan Patay

In memory of ESNR Honorary Member Professor Zoltan Patay


by Prof Paul M. Parizel, MD, PhD, FRANZCR  &  Prof Danielle Balériaux, MD, PhD


Dear Members of the ESNR,
Dear Friends,


It is with deep regret and profound sadness that we announce the passing away of Professor Zoltan Patay, renowned neuroradiologist in Memphis, TN, USA, and a distinguished Honorary Member of our society. 

Professor Patay was born and raised in in Hungary. From 1970-1975, he attended the renowned Fazekas Mihály Gimnázium in Budapest, an elite high school with a reputation for excellence in mathematics and exact sciences. He decided to study medicine at Semmelweis University, Medical School, Budapest, Hungary and graduated as Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1982. He received postgraduate training in Hungary, France (Colmar), and Belgium (Brussels), and became a board-certified neurologist and radiologist with subspecialty qualification in neuroradiology and special expertise in paediatric neuroradiology

I first met Zoltan almost exactly 30 years ago when he started work as a neuroradiologist with Professor Danielle Balériaux at Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Brussels Belgium (1992-1996). During these years, he successfully prepared a PhD dissertation on Applied MR-Neuroangiography, which he publicly defended on 3rd June 1996 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary (1996). Towards the end of this period in Belgium, it was a pleasure for me to have Zoltan stay as a guest in my house while he was finishing work on a CD-ROM Tutorial project for Lasion Europe. We had many conversations, and it became very clear that Zoltan’s scientific and academic horizons went far beyond Belgium.

In 1997, he was appointed Chief of the Section of Neuroradiology at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (1997 – 2006). He continued his professional development in paediatric neuroradiology, with research interests focused on normal and abnormal myelination patterns, inborn errors of metabolism, multimodality tumour characterization, diffusion-weighted and diffusion tensor imaging, and epilepsy. 

Following almost 10 years in Saudi Arabia, Zoltan was ready for his next challenge, and in January 2007, he moved to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in Memphis, TN, USA. He was initially appointed as Chief of the Section of Neuroimaging, and in 2017 he was promoted to become Chair of the Diagnostic Imaging Department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He also served as a Professor of Radiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine. At the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Zoltan’s research focused on imaging genomics in embryonal tumours of the central nervous system (medulloblastoma and ATRT), conventional and quantitative MR-based analysis of paediatric high-grade gliomas (particularly diffuse midline gliomas), and side effects of cancer treatment. He was one of the co-founders of a successful multidisciplinary course in paediatric neuro-oncology, the St Jude Global Academy Neuro-Oncology Training Seminar (NOTS), a hybrid course in paediatric neuro-oncology specifically designed for physicians from low-income and middle-income countries.

Professor Patay has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and wrote or contributed to 20 book chapters in major paediatric (neuro)radiology textbooks. His h-index is 23. Prof Patay was a true citizen of the world, having lived and worked in Hungary, France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia and the USA.  He was equally fluent in Hungarian, French and English. In 2020, he became an Honorary Member of the European Society of Neuroradiology (ESNR).  For many years, he served as a Board member of the Posterior Fossa Society. He was a much-appreciated lecturer in the European Course of Neuroradiology (ECNR) and in the Erasmus Course on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (EMRI).

Our thoughts go to his wife Livia, his son Farkas and his daughter Eszter, to whom we offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences. Professor Patay will be sorely missed as a doctor, a teacher, a researcher, but he will live on in our hearts as a dear friend.