21 September 2017

Prestigious EU Grants for SUND Researchers


Three researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen have received prestigious grants from the EU Innovative Training Networks (ITN).

The European Commission has announced the names of the recipients of grants under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks programme. The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen has received as many as three grants.

One of the recipients is Professor Hanne Ingmer from the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, who has received a grant of EUR 3.4 million for her project, while Cord Herbert Brakebusch from the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre has received a grant of EUR 2.1 million for his project. The third recipient is Jesper Langgaard Kristensen from the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, whose project has received a grant of EUR 1.3 million.

Coordinators of International Consortia
The SUND researchers act as research directors and coordinators of their respective international research networks, which train and educate groups of PhD students. Some of the students conduct their research under the auspices of a university, while others cooperate with industrial partners. However, the training of all the PhD students must include international, disciplinary and sectoral exchange.

The EU grants cover wages for the PhD students who participate in the projects as well as network and travelling expenses, costs for courses as well as running and administrative costs. The network participants must simultaneously train and educate the students within their research areas both at SUND and at the international university and industry partners.

Hanne Ingmer
Professor Hanne Ingmer is Head of the Section for Food Safety and Zoonoses. She conducts research into bacteria that may transfer from animals to humans where they can cause disease and into how they become antibiotic resistant. A main focus is staphylococcus; here she is looking for new forms of treatment of e.g. MRSA infections. Her project aims to prepare PhD students for participating in future research into and treatment of bacteria resistance.

’The project will train the PhD students in finding alternatives to antibiotics and new ways of using known antibiotics against resistant bacteria. This grant makes it possible to pass on to the PhD students the great knowledge we have in this area and which has been compiled in various locations throughout Europe, enabling the students to fight resistant bacteria in the future’, says Hanne Ingmer.

Cord Herbert Brakebusch
Professor Cord Herbert Brakebusch focuses on CRISPR technology, which attempts to modify genes in tests with mice in order to better understand genetically predisposed diseases. The PhD students involved in his project will attempt to optimise various parts of the CRISPR technology.

’Our objective of educating PhD students within this area is to increase our knowledge and ability to treat specific genetically predisposed diseases. CRISPR is a great research tool, but there is still room for improvement. The PhD students will attempt to improve the CRISPR technology to make it more efficient’, says Cord Herbert Brakebusch.

Jesper Langgaard Kristensen
At the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology Jesper Langgaard Kristensen researches the function of G protein-coupled receptors in the brain. Greater insight into the nature of these receptors may affect future treatment of conditions like anxiety and depression. The PhD students involved in Jesper Langgaard Kristensen’s project will be examining the receptors in more detail to learn how we can affect them using various medicines and thus utilise their potential.

’The grant enables us to compile competences from across Europe. This may give us a better understanding of the effect of various substances on these receptors in the brain. Because mapping their nature may hold great clinical potential’, says Jesper Langgaard Kristensen.

The next step for the three SUND researchers and their international consortia is to advertise the PhD positions to find the right candidates for the projects.