From Hungary to Harvard: How Dr. Denese Got Her Start

by on ‎03-21-2012 04:21 PM

I was born in Hungary at a time when life was bleak, with not much for a child to do except study. So, that’s what I did. I studied physics, chemistry, biology, Latin, English, and German. Studying made me feel like I had a connection to the world. 


My first experience with skin care occurred when I was nine years old and my aunt began to make her famous bee pollen face cream for the ladies in the neighborhood. Of course I was right there “helping” her. This was when my early passion for developing skin care began. During the time of Communist oppression, any kind of private enterprise was strictly forbidden, so we had to work behind closed doors. Soon, her creams became well known and hundreds of women came to buy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before her business was forced to close.  


I received my Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the very early age of 22. I came to the United States by myself at age 22 not knowing a single soul here. I was able to land a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. It did not pay anything at first, but they had a medical library that was beyond compare. Because I spent so much time there, I began conducting research and published many papers and journals on science and nature, which I did not even realize at the time was a very big deal. 


One day, I was invited to give a lecture at the Neurology Department at Harvard Medical School. Although I was nervous, the lecture went really well and they offered me a fellowship. My time at Harvard was inspiring and it inspired me to go to medical school.


When the time came, I applied to one medical school only: Cornell, in Manhattan. I was accepted and received a full scholarship to study medicine. I was the oldest in the class (age 32) and felt totally out of place among my bright young Ivy league classmates. I was a really good student, but it did not come so easy to me as compared to my younger classmates. For the first time, I began to develop an uneasy feeling that maybe I was getting older. So, I developed an overwhelming interest in all research intended to control the aging process, in an effort to keep young and healthy for as long as possible. You can see my motivation...


So this is how I got started.


Dr. Denese