Three multi-million grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has granted three researchers from Science and Technology DKK 10 million each for research projects in the life sciences and biomedical field.

2018.04.05 | Christina Troelsen

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a total of twelve investigator grants in the life sciences and biomedical field.

Mikkel Heide Schierup, Professor, Centre for Bioinformatics, Aarhus University (Photo: AU)

Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University (Photo: AU)

Peter Refsing Andersen, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University (Photo: AU)

The mysterious world of our sex chromosomes, microbial self-defence and genetic parasites are the topics of the three research projects that Mikkel Heide Schierup, Bioinformatics Research Centre, Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Peter Refsing Andersen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, have received funding for from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

They have each been awarded an investigator grant of DKK 10 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation at the recent presentation, where a total of twelve grants in the life sciences and biomedical field were awarded.

Mikkel Heide Schierup, Professor, Bioinformatics Research Centre

Mikkel Heide Schierup has been awarded a Distinguished Investigator Grant of DKK 10 million.  for the research project “The Extraordinary Evolution of Human Sex Chromosomes.

Project description: Our sex chromosomes, the X and the Y, are mysterious. They influence male fertility and have a disproportional role in creating new species, including our own. I hypothesize that this is due to a tug-of-war between the X and Y for entering sperm cells in male meiosis. To test this, I will investigate all stages of human male meiosis using advanced cell sorting and sequencing and relate this to male fertility and the sex of children. I will include other great apes and archaic humans such as Neanderthals to understand the general evolutionary rules and the specific speciation processes as well as genetic causes for male infertility.

Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen has been awarded a Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator Grant of DKK 10 million for the research project ”Understanding Microbial Defence Mechanisms.

Project description: Microorganisms profoundly influence human health and well-being and have developed sophisticated defence mechanisms vital for their survival, including highly specialised enzymes that allow them to overcome periods of starvation and exposure to heat or antibiotics. This project seeks to uncover the fundamental principles governing microbial self defence and survival by studying both the function and molecular architecture of key cellular components. The ultimate aim of the project is to provide a foundation for the development of future antimicrobial drugs and treatment regimens.

Peter Refsing Andersen, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Peter Refsing Andersen has been awarded a Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator Grant of DKK 10 million for the research project ”Molecular Mechanisms of Heterochromatic Gene Expression.

Project description: Genetic parasites, such as viruses and transposons, have colonized the genomes of virtually all life forms. The battle between host genomes and genetic parasites creates an evolutionary arms race – a state of rapid innovation of gene regulation mechanisms. We will study this arms race innovation to identify mechanisms that bend and bypass the standard rules of gene regulation to better understand how our genomes fight back against genetic parasites.

 

 

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