Apply for grants

Novo Nordisk Foundation supports 18 young, talented and recently emerging research leaders

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded long-term grants totalling DKK 172 million to 18 talented young researchers as part of its Research Leader Programme.

Autoimmune diseases are a major cause of disability among people in Europe. These diseases arise when the immune system attacks the body’s own cells.

Bergithe Eikeland Oftedal, Researcher at the University of Bergen, Norway, will focus on a new project on Addison’s disease, which means that the immune system attacks the hormone-producing cells in the adrenal glands. This disease cannot yet be cured, and the people who have it need daily administration of the hormone cortisol. The disease is fatal if untreated. The aim of the project is to create targeted treatment for people with the disease by determining how genetic traits and specific cells in the immune system lead to the disease.

Bergithe Eikeland Oftedal is one of 18 talented young research leaders who have recently received grants through the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Leader Programme, in which the Foundation awards grants of up to DKK 10 million over 5 years to researchers at different career stages.

The Foundation has also awarded a grant to Alexander Siegfried Busch from the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen to investigate minipuberty during the first months of life in boys. Disturbances at this stage are associated with impaired reproduction.

The project will examine how minipuberty is regulated and how this forms the basis for fertility potential. In the long term, the project can strengthen the advising and possibly treatment of children with disturbed minipuberty caused by such events as premature birth or boys having undescended testicles. These children are more likely to have reduced fertility as adults than other children.

“We are very impressed by the quality of the applications for projects, which can contribute to discovering new knowledge and new treatment options for several diseases. By supporting these promising, young research leaders, we also want to contribute to the continued development of top researchers,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Senior Vice President, Biomedicine & Health Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Part of the Foundation’s Research Leader Programme
The grants for the 18 projects are part of the Foundation’s Research Leader Programme. Since 2018, the Foundation has awarded grants totalling DKK 1.3 billion to 143 researchers. The grants are awarded to research leaders at three different career stages.

  • Emerging Investigator. Upcoming and promising researchers who want to establish or are in the process of establishing their own research group and research profile.
  • Ascending Investigator. Talented research leaders at the associate professor level in the process of consolidating their research group and profile.
  • Distinguished Investigator. Professors of high international standing and calibre.

Read about the Programme and see all the grant recipients here.

The 18 grant recipients:

Name: Benjamin Jensen, Postdoctoral Fellow
Institution: Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen; moving to Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen as Assistant Professor
Project title: Host–microbe Mutualism in Diet-induced Liver Disease: When Friends Become Foes
Grant amount: DKK 9,999,636

Name: Bergithe Eikeland Oftedal, Researcher
Institution: Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, Norway
Project title: 21-Hydroxylase Reactive B Cells and Their Immunotherapeutic Potential in Autoimmune Addison’s Disease
Grant amount: DKK 10,000,000

Name: Linda Engström Ruud, Researcher
Institution: Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Project title: GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and Their Brain-mediated Effects: New Light on Food Intake Regulation, Glycaemic Control and Nausea
Grant amount: DKK 9,677,382

Name: Phillip Newton, Researcher
Institution: Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Project title: Are Extracellular Vesicles a New Communication Network Directing Skeletal Growth?
Grant amount: DKK 8,160,172

Name: Eva Kummer, Group Leader
Institution: Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen
Project title: MiNOME – Mitochondrial Genome Maintenance from Molecules to Cells
Grant amount: DKK 9,999,941

Name: Luca Laraia, Assistant Professor
Institution: Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby
Project title: Determining Mechanisms of Intracellular Sterol Transport with Selective Chemical Probes
Grant amount: DKK 9,998,843

Name: Oleksiy Kovtun, Group Leader
Institution: Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University
Project title: Structural Dissection of Key Molecular Machines Mediating Membrane Trafficking in Endosomes
Grant amount: DKK 9,988,579

Name: Trisha Grevengoed, Group Leader
Institution: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Project title: Fat Forward in the Fight against Heart Disease: Novel Omega-3 Lipid Metabolites to Lower Triglycerides and Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Grant amount: DKK 10,000,000

Name: Henrik Land, Researcher
Institution: Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden
Project title: Biocatalytic Fixation of Carbon Dioxide – Biodiversity and Evolvability of Present-day Carbon Monoxide Dehydrogenase and its Ancestors
Grant amount: DKK 8,139,512

Name: Linda Bergaust, Researcher
Institution: Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway
Project title: Single-cell Protein Production by Anaerobic Respiration (AnaPro)
Grant amount: DKK 9,981,000

Name: Suvi Santala, Postdoctoral Fellow
Institution: Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Tampere University, Finland
Project title: Improving Metabolic Diversity and Efficiency of Bacteria for Lignin Valorization
Grant amount: DKK 9,942,617

Name: Tor Biering-Sørensen, Associate Professor
Institution: Department of Cardiology, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Capital Region of Denmark
Project title: The Cardiovascular Multimodality Imaging Trials
Grant amount: DKK 9,990,000

Name: Beatrice Dyring-Andersen, Associate Professor
Institution: Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Capital Region of Denmark
Project title: Towards Precision Dermatology – the Proteomic Characterization of Inflammatory Skin Diseases and Fungal Skin Infections using MS-based Proteomics
Grant amount: DKK 9,949,232

Name: Alexander Siegfried Busch
Institution: Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen
Project title: The Postnatal Activation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis in Males and its Impact on Reproductive Function and Health
Grant amount: DKK 9,087,003

Name: Simon Winther, Associate Professor
Institution: Department of Cardiology, Herning Regional Hospital, Denmark
Project title: Improving the Diagnosis of Chronic Coronary Syndrome: Development of a New Diagnostic Strategy using Personalized and Digital Medicine
Grant amount: DKK 9,998,220

Name: Stéphane Verger, Affiliated Group Leader
Institution: Umeå Plant Science Centre, Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Project title: GoodFib: Establishment of trees with high-yield and high-quality wood fibers for more sustainable improved feedstock
Grant amount: DKK 9,927,110

Name: Klaus Herburger, Group Leader
Institution: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen
Project title: Understanding Plant Cell Wall Remodelling to Enhance Cell Wall Biomechanics
Grant amount: DKK 9,998,188

Name: Guillaume Ramstein, Group Leader
Institution: Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Aarhus University
Project title: Selection of Mutations by In Silico and Experimental Variant Effects (SIEVE): a New Strategy to Improve Fitness in Cool-season Grasses
Grant amount: DKK 7,993,851

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]

This article was updated on 14 February 2022 due to a change in the recipient list (Stéphane Verger is new on the list as another recipient has withdrawn their application).