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Six UCPH health scientists get DKK 60 million

Grant — Six ambitious research managers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at UCPH and their important research projects have each received DKK 10 million to support them in their work.

Six research managers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences work on projects that are considered to be so ambitious and significant that the Novo Nordisk Foundation has allocated approximately DKK 10 million to each of them. The grants are the first in the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s new ‘Research Leader Programme’, which was set up last year. The programme focuses on basic research within the biomedical and bioscientific field and consists of three different types of grants: Hallas-Møller Emerging investigator, Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator and Distinguished Investigator.

The Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator scholarship is a grant to support the development of young and promising research managers, The Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator scholarships are aimed at excellent associate professors and support younger and middle-aged associate professors in their career and in their effort to achieve their full research potential. The last of the grants, the Distinguished Investigator grant, is targeted professors of the highest international level.

The researchers

And on this, the highest international level, is Anders H. Lund who is professor at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Copenhagen.

His project is called ‘ in vivo investigations of the ribosome code’ and looks into how ribosomes are regulated – something that we know very little about today.

He hopes that his results can benefit both basic research and applied research.

Niels Mailand is the second recipient of a Distinguished Investigator grant. Niels Mailand is professor and group leader at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen, and he is studying how human cells’ defence against DNA-protein crosslinks are organised and regulated at the molecular level and how targeted inhibition of these processes can be exploited to improve strategies for cancer treatment. The project is called ‘Regulation of DNA-protein crosslink repair in health and disease’ and if all goes well, the knowledge from the project will have an impact on the development of a more targeted and careful cancer therapy.

He hopes that his results can benefit both basic research and applied research.

David Gloriam, associate professor at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at UCPH, is one of the Faculty of Health recipients of the Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator scholarship. His project is called ‘GPCR biased signalling: Illuminating the pathways to function and disease’ and is to help us understand how a single cell surface receptor can induce very different biological, therapeutic and side effects, depending on whether it is activated by natural, medical or abused substances. His colleagues at the department will integrate pharmacology, crystallography and chemistry in the project, just as international research groups will contribute.

This time, three of the Faculty of Health’s researchers have been awarded a Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator scholarship to support and strengthen the development of these young and promising research managers.

The first is an associate professor, Agnete Kirkeby who spends her working day at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell biology at UCPH. Her project has been given the not-so-catchy title of ‘Mapping human neural lineages in a novel in vitro model of the developing neural tube built with morphogenetic gradients’. It examines the detailed cellular processes that control the brain’s complexity during foetal development in an effort to understand how each of our hundreds of different specialized nerve cells in the brain are formed and how they mature.

 

... the knowledge that comes out of this project could have an impact on the development of a more targeted and careful cancer therapy.
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Morten Salling Olesen is associate professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at UCPH and laboratory manager at the Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet. He is also the second recipient of the Hallas Møller Emerging Investigator scholarship that is to support his research in to the biological mechanisms behind atrial fibrillation – the most common type of arrhythmia and an important risk factor for strokes and heart failure.

Nicholas Taylor, who is an associate professor and group leader at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at UCPH, is the last of the scholarship recipients from the Faculty of Health. His research examines how a large family of ‘molecular syringes’ works. They play an important biological role, but have not been very well studied. If you are better able to understand how these types of systems work, you might one day be able to adapt them to, for example, inject toxins specifically into cancer cells, which will open up the option of more targeted treatments.

The grants have been distributed to a total of 12 research managers in different stages of their career, including the six health researchers from the University of Copenhagen.

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