18 December 2019

Grant secures new research equipment


With nearly DKK 10 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, a new machine is on its way to the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. From next year, the Foundation will double its funding within the area to a total of DKK 150 million.

The new SAXS machine

New research opportunities are on their way to the pharmaceutical field. These will be possible with the purchase of a machine for so-called Small Angle X-ray Scattering – also known as SAXS.

The facility allows for new multidisciplinary projects between structural biologists, pharmacists, biophysicists, biochemists and industrial partners.

The new equipment is worth almost DKK 10 million and includes five years of operation. It will enable researches to study molecules in solution, something that would otherwise only have been possible to a limited extent at a few large, foreign facilities.

‘The new facility provide us with a platform where we can quickly gather information on the composition of new drugs and how they are best given as medicine’, says grant recipient and Professor Michael Gajhede from the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology (ILF).

Collage with different parts of the new SAXS equipment.
Different parts of the new SAXS equipment.

He explains that the technology is particularly well suited for investigating the interaction between proteins and how protein-based drugs interact with their environment.

For example, researchers will potentially gain a better understanding of how to stop the development of so-called amyloids - one of the main components of diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, among others.

Doubling of Foundation Grants

The new research apparatus has been developed in collaboration between ILF and the company SAXSLAB. With the new grant, which comes from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the University of Copenhagen now has the full right over the device- It will operate as the open facility CPHSAXS.

Associate Professor Bente Vestergaard from ILF and Ph.D. and Managing Director Søren Skou of SAXSLAB initiated the project. Behind the application for the new grant is also Associate Professor and leader of the BioSAXS group at ILF Annette Eva Langkilde, Professor Martin Malmsten and Associate Professor Vito Foderá from the Department of Pharmacy and Professor Lise Arleth from the Niels Bohr Institute at the Faculty of Science.

The funds from the Novo Nordisk Foundation are part of a larger pool of DKK 75 million for advanced research equipment. In addition to the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, Odense University Hospital and Aarhus University have received funding from this year's grant pool.

According to the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the goal is to strengthen the research infrastructure in a number of fields that will benefit universities, hospitals as well as the industry. From next year, the Foundation’s grants in this area will double to DKK 150 million. Applications for the funds can be submitted until 4 February 2020.


Professor Michael Gajhede
(+45) 35336407

Communications Officer Anders Buch-Larsen
(+45) 93509424