Anna Martner has been awarded the Hasselblad Foundation’s continued research qualification grant for female researchers within the natural sciences. She is a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Cancer Center, where she is studying two different types of leukaemia.
“Obviously, it’s great that the foundation thinks my research is interesting enough to invest in,” says Anna, whose research is also funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Society for Medical Research and the Sahlgrenska Academy. “The grant will enable me to develop into an independent researcher. Now I’ll employ my first doctoral student.”
Anna is researching two forms of blood cancer: acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), which is the most common form of blood cancer among adults, and the less common chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML). Her research is carried out in close collaboration with the Haematology Clinic at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and aims to understand how the immune system can eliminate cancer cells in these diseases, as well has how leukaemia cells can mature into normal, non-malignant cells.
“Working with clinics gives me and my colleagues access to malignant cells from patients suffering from AML or CML. In the laboratory, we can study how these cancer cells mature and affect the immune system’s cells, and how these processes are regulated. This knowledge then guides our attempts to formulate principles for improved treatment.”
In spring 2010, her research team moved to the Sahlgrenska Academy’s new cancer centre at Medicinareberget. Anna explains that this has been a real advantage, both for her and for other young researchers:
“At the Sahlgrenska Cancer Center I have access to advanced equipment that has been specially adapted for cancer research, together with unique combined knowledge within the many fields of cancer research. I look forward to establishing myself as an independent researcher within this exciting, inspiring environment.”
The Erna & Victor Hasselblad Foundation promotes research and academic teaching in the natural sciences and photography, including through grants for scientific research and an international award in photography. This is the second year running that the foundation has awarded this grant, with two female researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg or Karlstad University each being awarded SEK 1 million. This year, the grant was also presented to Elin Esbjörner Winter from Chalmers University of Technology.