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Top Scientist Awarded DKK 60 Million for New Research Programme

Matthias Mann is to shed new light on diabetes and obesity at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is awarding DKK 60 million (€8 million) to Matthias Mann, one of the world’s foremost protein researchers, to establish and develop an innovative interdisciplinary research programme at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research of the University of Copenhagen.

The research programme aims to identify biological markers for type 2 diabetes, obesity and other metabolic diseases that can be used to improve the diagnosis of the diseases and develop more individual therapies.

“Our results will shed new light on these diseases, enabling better insight into prevention and treatment. We may be able to discover new functional proteins that can be used as drugs or as drug targets. We hope that our results will contribute to improving public health in Denmark and elsewhere”, says Matthias Mann.


Proteins are made according to instructions in our genes and control virtually all cellular functions and states. Cells therefore constantly control which proteins are made and their activities in accordance with the cell’s condition. Matthias Mann is a leading researcher in mass spectrometry, a highly sensitive technique that enables scientists to study the protein composition of cells and tissue. This allows, for example, thousands of proteins in healthy tissue to be compared with the proteins in diseased tissue. The goal is to try to find protein signatures – changes in the protein composition – that explain or indicate disease using blood samples. This could lead to diseases being more rapidly and more precisely diagnosed and enable treatment options that are tailor-made to each individual.

Matthias Mann currently works at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich, Germany. The new research programme begins on 1 October 2015, and from then on he will divide his working time between Munich and Copenhagen.


Jiri Lukas, Executive Director of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, says:

“Mathias Mann’s decision to establish clinical proteomics at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research provides our Center, and indeed Denmark, with a historically unprecedented opportunity to launch and lead one of the most promising fields within biomedical research. As the Executive Director of the Center, I am extremely positive about this ambitious initiative”, says Jiri Lukas.

Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, says:

“The Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to attract and retain leading scientists in Denmark so that Denmark can consolidate and expand its position as an international hub in biomedical and biotechnological research. Matthias Mann is a prominent international researcher who enriches Denmark’s research community and bolsters Danish research. His research programme can create the basis for improving the diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes, obesity and other metabolic diseases, and we are proud that he has decided to carry out this programme in Denmark.”

Read more about the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research here.


Christian Mostrup Scheel, Press Officer, +45 3067 4805, [email protected]