12 November 2019

Young University of Copenhagen researcher wins diabetes prize


Associate Professor Tune H. Pers, from the University of Copenhagen has received the Young Investigator Award 2019 from the Danish Diabetes Academy (DDA). He has set himself apart from the field through his use of genetic data in diabetes research, says the DDA.

With the Young Investigator Award, The Danish Diabetes Academy (DDA) recognizes the accomplishments of a young researcher, under the age of 40, who is engaged in diabetes research in Denmark. Award winners must have shown promising research and made an important contribution to the understanding and treatment of diabetes.

The winner of the Young Investigator Award 2019 goes to Associate Professor Tune H. Pers, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen. The award recognizes his work developing new research methodologies and his original research that spans the intersection of obesity, diabetes and genetics.

“I am honored to receive the prize as it recognizes the work of my research group into obesity and diabetes from a genetic perspective. Many researchers choose to investigate single genes or hormones, but our approach is to use big data to better understand what bodily processes to focus on,” says Tune H. Pers.

Data set with 300,000 people

A defining element of Tune H. Pers’ research career is his ability to work with enormous data sets. Among his accomplishments is his work in the international research collaboration the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium, whose findings have been published in the journal Nature.

The consortium’s researchers compared genetic data from more than 300,000 people against their BMI and discovered many new areas of the genome that play an important role in developing obesity.

“Some people think that people who live with obesity just need more self-control. Our research showed that is not the case. If we can figure out how the brain regulates metabolism, obesity will become a curable disease like many others,” says Tune H. Pers.

Prestigious grants

Tune H. Pers published his first scientific article on diabetes in 2010 and currently works at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR). The focus of his research group is the central regulation of metabolism, and he also leads the CBMR research group Human Genomics and Metagenomics in Metabolism.

He has received a number of prestigious grants, including a Lundbeck Foundation Fellowship and Sapere Aude Starting Grant from the Danish Research Council for Independent Research. He is also a member of The Young Academy, an independent platform within The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters that functions as a forum for young and talented researchers.

He receives the Danish Diabetes Academy Young Investigator Award 2019 in a ceremony at the academy’s Annual Day on November 12.

Tune H. Pers
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