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Novo Nordisk Foundation highlights immunity at mucosal surfaces for the 2022 Challenge Programme

Mucosal surfaces act as a main pathway for many pathogenic microorganisms and substances, but determining how mucosal surfaces manage unwelcome guests requires new knowledge and understanding.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has chosen Immunity at Mucosal Surfaces as a theme of its 2022 Challenge Programme to advance knowledge on this subject.

The Programme challenges ambitious researchers to find solutions for the most pressing global challenges within health, biotechnology or sustainability. The Foundation awards grants of up to DKK 60 million over 6 years for the best project applications.

Applicants in this theme are challenged to develop procedures that safely protect against pathogens through nonspecific immune responses on mucosal surfaces or that can maintain tolerance to harmless substances to prevent disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies.

“Vaccines have traditionally been used to boost the immune system against pathogens, but developing a vaccine against specific pathogens unfortunately takes a long time. Better understanding of the more general mechanisms by which the mucosal immune system keeps pathogens at bay may lead to more rapid response to new pathogens and treatment of the people who have them,” says Niels-Henrik von Holstein-Rathlou, Senior Vice President, Biomedicine & Health Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation, adding:

“In addition, the body’s immune system must remain tolerant of harmless bacteria and substances. The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergy, in which the body loses tolerance, has increased steadily in recent decades, so improving knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms that ensure immune tolerance is important for preventing and treating these disorders.”

The 2022 Challenge Programme themes are:

Theme 1: Recycling for a Sustainable Society

Theme 2: Energy Materials with Biological Applications

Theme 3: Immunity at Mucosal Surfaces

About the Challenge Programme
The Novo Nordisk Foundation established the Challenge Programme in 2014. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than DKK 100 million every year for ambitious research projects based on a thematic approach addressing some of the major societal challenges.

In 2022, the Foundation’s Challenge Programme will award up to DKK 360 million for grants of up to DKK 60 million per project based on the themes for 2022. Read more about the Challenge Programme here.

How to apply

Read more about the application process here.

Further information

Marie-Louise Jersin, Senior Communications Partner, +45 3049 4957, [email protected]