19 November 2019

Sapere Aude Grants for Research in the Arctic, Bacteria and DNA Damage

Sapere Aude Grant awarded to group leader Julien Duxin from CPR

Three researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, the University of Copenhagen, are receiving a Sapere Aude Research Leader grant. This prize is awarded by Independent Research Fund Denmark to younger researchers on an annual basis.

DNAThis year, the three researchers – Associate Professor Eline Lorenzen, Postdoc Sandra Breum Andersen and Associate Professor Julien Duxin from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen – will receive a Sapere Aude Research Leader grant.

The researchers come from the Globe Institute, the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, respectively.

It is the Independent Research Fund Denmark which annually awards the grant to younger researchers with leadership skills and original ideas, who have performed top research within their field. A total of nine researchers from the University of Copenhagen will receive a Sapere Aude grant.

The three researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences will receive grants ranging from almost DKK five million to just over DKK six million. Their research projects focus on the consequences of climate change for the Arctic ecosystem, the interaction of bacteria in the body and the mechanisms that repair DNA damage.

The Arctic Fauna

Eline Deirdre Lorenzen, an Associate Professor at the Globe Institute, will receive a DKK 6.18 million grant for research in the Arctic. In the project, she will study how the Arctic fauna is expected to be affected by climate change.

Her research team will, amongst other things, study a unique collection of hundreds of prehistoric bones and teeth from three Arctic marine mammals, namely the polar bear, the narwhal and the white whale. The samples are collected across the Arctic and are up to 50,000 years old. This will give the researchers insight into the species' population dynamics over an extended period of time.

Find and read more about the project ‘Arctic marine mammals in a post-Arctic world’.

Bacterial Interaction in the Body

Sandra Breum Andersen, a Postdoc at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, will receive a grant of DKK 6.19 million. In the project, she will study the importance of the bacterial interaction in the human body.

The project takes Helicobacter pylori, a type of the stomach bacteria, as its point of departure. Using mouse models Sandra Breum Andersen will investigate how microbial interactions with the bacteria in the stomach and intestines can affect the health of the host. Among other things, she will be studying whether the bacteria can protect against overweight and malaria through interactions with the immune system and other microbes.

Find and read more about the project ‘Understanding the Effects of Microbial Interactions on Host Health’.

Repairing DNA damages

Julien Duxin, Associate Professor and Group Leader at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, is receiving a grant of 4.48 million Danish kroner to research in the repair mechanisms of DNA damages. His project will investigate a severe type of DNA damage called DNA-protein crosslinks.

If these lesions are not repaired they will expedite cancer and accelerated aging. Some chemotherapeutic agents used for treating cancer deliberately induce these kind of damages. Julien Duxin’s research group will therefore investigate the repair mechanisms of these lesions using a cell free system derived from frog eggs that are really efficient in repairing this type of damage.

Find and read more about the project ‘Novel repair mechanisms of chemotherapeutic induced DNA-protein crosslinks’.

This year, Independent Research Fund Denmark has awarded grants to 35 researchers amounting to a total of DKK 208 million. The Fund has been handing out grants to younger researchers every year since 2010. Read more about this year's Sapere Aude Research Leader projects.

Contact

Associate Professor Eline Lorenzen, (+45) 35321225, elinelorenzen@snm.ku.dk / elinelorenzen@palaeome.org

Postdoc Sandra Breum Andersen, sba@sund.ku.dk

Associate Professor and Head of Group Julien Duxin, (+45) 93565571, julien.duxin@cpr.ku.dk

Communications Consultant Cecilie Krabbe, (+45) 93565911, cecilie.krabbe@sund.ku.dk