László Bito was 22 years old when he escaped from his native Hungary after the crushed revolution of 1956 and was granted asylum in the US , where he obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University in Medical Cell Biology. His research led to the development of Xalatan, the drug that has saved the sight of millions of glaucoma sufferers.
He has published more than 150 scientific articles and received, among many others, the highest recognition in the field of eye research, the Proctor Medal. Upon retiring from Columbia University as Emeritus Professor of Ocular Physiology, he returned to Hungary and his first love of writing. Of his fourteen non-scientific books — novels, essays and three anthologies of some of his more then a hundred newspaper and magazine articles — some appeared in translations in half a dozen countries.
Born in Budapest, Hungary.
1951 – 1953
Deported from Budapest, together with his family,
by the Hungarian communist regime.
1954 – 1956
Works in a forced labor unit in the coalmines of Komlo, Hungary.
Begins to write, in secret, short stories and notes for novels.
1956 – 1957
Organizes the labor camp revolt and is elected president of the
Escapes to Austria and emigrates to the United States.
1957 – 1966
Finishes college, then obtains Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Biophysics
from Columbia University (New York).
Completes post-doctoral training in brain research, in London.
1966 – 1998
Returns to Columbia University where he rises in the academic ranks
to Professor of Ocular Physiology.
Publishes more than 150 scientific articles, as well as numerous reviews.
Writes and edits several scientific monographs.
His first novel, Istenjárás, published in Hungarian (Aura Press).
Russian translation under way.
Az Ötödik Lovas published in Hungarian (Aura Press).
The eye-pressure-lowering glaucoma drug – Xalatan – based on his patents is marketed by Pharmacia and Upjohn in the USA, and then worldwide.
Retires from Columbia University. Currently holding the titles of
Professor Emeritus in Ocular Physiology, and Special Lecturer.
Abraham and Isaac (“Ábrahám és Izsák”) published in Hungarian.
Abraham and Isaac published in Russian, translated by Tatjana Voronkina
(Phantom Press, Moscow).
Russian translation of Abraham and Isaac republished in Belorussia, in two subsequent issues (August, September) of the World Literature Magazine of Minsk.
After receiving several national and international honors, receives the Proctor Medal, which is the highest award in the field of ophthalmology research.
The second book of the Isaac trilogy The Teachings of Isaac (“Izsák tanítása”)
is published in Hungarian (Argumentum Kiado).
Russian translation by Tatjana Voronkina published in November
Second edition of Abraham and Isaac published in Hungary in November (Argumentum Kiado).
Second Russian edition published in November (Raduga Publishers).
German translation by Pal Karpati, published in November (T. Schafer Verlag)
Slovak translation by Maria Fazekas, published in November (Motyl).
Major front-page article in the New York Times (Sunday, 23 April 2000) features
his drug (Xalatan) and his life story.
Romanian translations of Abraham and Isaac and The Teachings of Isaac
translated by Annamaria Pop (Editura Paralela 45).
Receives the John and Samuel Bard Award for Science and Medicine, from
Bard College (New York).
The third biblical novel, Isaac of Nazareth (“A Názáreti Izsák”) published in Hungarian, in May (Argumentum Kiado).
Abraham and Isaac published in French, translated by Georges Kassai.
(Les Éditiones des Intouchables, Québec).
Isaac of Nazareth published in Russian, translated by Tatiana Voronkina
Receives the “Middle Cross of the Hungarian Republic with the Star” award.
(A Magyar Köztársasági Érdemrend Középkeresztje a Csillaggal – polgári tagozata)
Nekünk kell megváltanunk magunkat – Egy humanista hitvallása (We must be our own saviors — The cgrayo of a humanist) (Argumentum, Budapest).
A collection of newspaper and magazine articles, interviews with the author and television discussions.
Boldogabb élet – jó halál / Eutelia – Eutanázia [Blissful Life – Peaceful Death / Eutelia – Euthanasia] Published in Hungarian (Athenaeum, Budapest)