DKK 120 million for Aarhus University from the Novo Nordisk Foundation
Two researchers from Science and Technology have each received DKK 60 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme to establish two new interdisciplinary research centres: one for biomolecular medicine and the other for environment and health.
Professor Kurt V. Gothelf has received DKK 60 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme for the Center for Multifunctional Biomolecular Drug Design (CEMBID) at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), and Professor Clive Sabel has received DKK 60 million for the Big Data Centre for Environment and Health at the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University.
Dean Niels Christian Nielsen, Science and Technology, is extremely pleased with the grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation:
"Some of the most important challenges facing society are being addressed here: developing new drugs and generating more knowledge about the relationship between health and environmental impacts will have a great influence on many people in our society. Therefore, I’m extremely pleased that the Novo Nordisk Foundation has chosen to support our highly skilled experts in their work," said Niels Christian Nielsen.
The grants are awarded under the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme within the themes Big Data in Biomedicine and Design and Engineering of Biological Molecules and Systems.
The aim of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme is to help develop and enhance Danish research environments within important areas for society. The grants are for up to DKK 10 million per year for up to 6 years. A total of six grants were awarded on this occasion.
Center for Multifunctional Biomolecular Drug Design
The Center for Multifunctional Biomolecular Drug Design (CEMBID) will be set up at iNANO and work will concentrate on developing new multi-functional drugs. Most drugs used today have only one therapeutic effect, or mechanism of action as it is called, and it is both difficult and expensive to manufacture drugs with several functions. The aim of the Center for Multifunctional Biomolecular Drug Design (CEMBID) is to research into new drugs with multiple mechanisms of action. The centre will develop methods to build modules of different proteins and small molecules that can simply and effectively be joined to make multifunctional drugs. This will pave the way for new types of drugs that are more effective, have fewer side effects, and can be adapted to the individual patient.
Professor Kurt V. Gothelf will head the new centre, in cooperation with his colleagues from iNANO: Professor Jørgen Kjems and Associate Professor Ken Howard. He will also be assisted by Professor Tony LaHoutte from Vrije Universiteit in Brussels.
Big Data Centre for Environment and Health
The overall objective of the Big Data Centre for Environment and Health is to achieve a better understanding of the relationship between the environment and health. A number of environmental impacts are harmful to our health, but is disease the result of isolated cases of high-risk exposure to harmful conditions, or is it the result of slow accumulation over a lifetime? And is the effect exacerbated by combined environmental impacts? These are some of the questions that the Big Data Centre for Environment and Health will strive to answer. The Big Data revolution of recent years in registers of medical, environmental and demographic conditions, as well as the possibility to collect data from personal sensors and social media, provide unique potential to understand the complex interactions between environmental pollutants and public health.
The centre is being coordinated by Professor Clive Sabel from the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University. Professor Sabel is an environmental geographer specialising in analysis of spatial data at individual level. The management team at the centre also includes Professor Torben Sigsgaard from the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University, an environmental and occupational physician specialising in the health effects of environmental impacts, Professor Carsten Bøcker Pedersen from the Department of Economics and Business Economics, a statistician specialising in register-based research, and finally Professor Ole Hertel from the Department of Environmental Science, an environmental scientist specialising in population exposure to air pollution.