6 November 2019

The Lundbeck Foundation Appoints Five New Fellows at the University of Copenhagen


Five researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences have been named Lundbeck Foundation Fellows. Each title is accompanied by a research grant of DKK 10 million over five years.

The five new fellows from SUND. From the left: Cordelia Imig, Elisabeth Rexen The Wolf, Marco Donia, Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps, Tor Biering-Sørensen.
The five new fellows from SUND. From the left: Cordelia Imig, Elisabeth Rexen The Wolf, Marco Donia, Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps, Tor Biering-Sørensen.

For the 13th time, the Lundbeck Foundation has awarded a number of fellowships to younger, well-established researchers within various fields.

The title is accompanied by DKK 10 million for research over a five-year period and with ten researchers, this year's field of fellows is the largest to date.

Half of the new fellows are affiliated with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. The remaining recipients come from other universities or hospitals in Denmark.

Read more about the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences’ five new Lundbeck Foundation Fellows and their research projects below:

Cordelia Imig
Cordelia Imig

Cordelia Imig, Assistant Professor at the Department of Neuroscience

Cordelia Imig will be researching how communication along the gut-brain-axis helps to maintain our health.

The goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that mediate the release of signalling substances in the gut and to understand how the cellular and neuronal circuits are organized to transmit this information to the brain.

In particular, Cordelia Imig will focus on a subset of cells that respond to sensory information in the gastrointestinal tract by releasing the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Altered or defective signalling between the gut and the brain may contribute to the development of a number of serious diseases, such as the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Elisabeth Rexen Ulven
Elisabeth Rexen Ulven

Elisabeth Rexen Ulven, Assistant Professor at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmachology

Through her research, Elisabeth Rexen Ulven will develop molecules which act on receptors that are significant in connection with, amongst others, inflammation and metabolic control. The goal is to find out if these receptors may be targets for new drugs.

The receptors that Elisabeth Rexen Ulven will study are part of the so-called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). They are found in about 800 different forms on cell surfaces throughout the human body, and about a third of all drugs in the market works by blocking or activating this particular group of receptors.

Elisabeth Rexen Ulven will especially focus on GPCRs that are activated by carboxylic acids and she will develop tools to facilitate the evaluation of these receptors as drug targets.

Marco Donia
Marco Donia

Marco Donia, Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine as well as Oncologist and Head of Research at Herlev og Gentofte Hospital

Marco Donia has been named a fellow for his work on immunotherapy and how the treatment may have a higher success rate in the fight against cancer.

Immunotherapy is about strengthening and activating the body's own immune system so that it may best recognise and attack cancer cells. However, it is very different how well the treatment works on the individual patient.

When immune cells attack cancer cells, it happens by releasing a variety of substances. Some of these are toxic to the cancer cells, while others may be stimulating.

In his research, Marco Donia will mainly identify and study the effect of the substances that stimulate cancer cells and, based on that knowledge, try to reduce their effect.

Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps
Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps

Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps, Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences

Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps will conduct research into what goes wrong when people develop hypertension, and how the treatment can be improved for those patients who do not respond to regular treatment.

In his research, Thomas Qvistgaard Jepps has already shown that the contraction of the blood vessels is regulated by proteins distributed on the surface of those muscle cells that control the diameter of the blood vessels.

The next step is to study how that mechanism contributes to hypertension, and whether a modified distribution of proteins on the muscle cells may improve the current treatments.

Tor Biering-Sørensen
Tor Biering-Sørensen

Tor Biering-Sørensen, Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Doctor and Research Director at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital

Tor Biering-Sørensen will investigate whether it is possible to avoid heart disease by offering preventative treatment to elderly people with a particular risk of developing heart disease.

As an expert in new cardiac measurement methods, he will investigate if some of the latest techniques might be used to predict heart disease, such as heart failure, blood clots and dangerous forms of arrhythmia.

In continuation, Tor Biering-Sørensen will look into whether it makes sense to offer an advanced ultrasound scan and eventual preventive treatment in every patient over the age of 65 who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes.


Press Information Officer Anders Buch-Larsen
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