15 February 2010

Young CPR Scientist Awarded

Assoc. Prof. Simon Bekker-Jensen, Ubiquitin Signaling Group was awarded the Danish Independent Research Council's Young Researcher's Award for his work on identification and characterisation of novel ubiquitylation processes in the DNA damage response.

About the project: Our chromosomes are under constant attack from radiation and harmful substances that cause DNA damage. These DNA damages can lead to mutations that cause a wide range of genetic diseases including cancer. However, the DNA damage response is an effective alarm system that is triggered inside the cell in the event of DNA damage to control harmful effects.

Ubiquitin is a small evolutionary conserved protein that is produced in large amounts in virtually all cells. Attachment of ubiquitin to cellular proteins represents an important signaling mechanism that can alter both stability and function of many proteins. Protein ubiquitylation plays an important role in most biological processes, including the DNA damage response. The aim of the project is to further understand how ubiquitylation can protect against disease by investigating which proteins are ubiquitylated in response to DNA damage and how this protects the integrity of our DNA.

About Simon Bekker-Jensen: Simon Bekker-Jensen, MSc, PhD (University of Copenhagen, 2006). From 2006-2009 Simon Bekker-Jensen worked as a postdoc at The Danish Cancer Society, and from 2009 as associated professor at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen, Ubiquitin Signaling Group, led by Prof. Niels Mailand. Despite his young age (29 years old), Simon Bekker-Jensen's work has been published in some of the finest journals: Nature Cell Biology, Cell, Molecular Cell and others.

About the award: Also this year, the Board of the Danish Independent Research Councils has given the Research Councils the opportunity to recommend 24 candidates for the Young Researcher's Award. The awards are given to very talented young researchers who have not attained the age of 35 at the time of application. The award is given on the basis of a grant of at least one million DKK from one of the five scientific research councils, and the selected award winners each get DKK 200,000 as 'special operating costs' in addition to their project grant.