GRANT. When the Swedish Research Council recently distributed its annual grant awards in medicine and health, researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy received SEK 155 million – the second largest amount in Sweden. The largest grant went to Kaj Blennow, Chandrasekhar Kanduri, Claes Gustafsson, Gunnar C Hansson and Mattias Lorentzon, who each received SEK 9 million over 5 years.
Eric Hanse, deputy dean of Sahlgrenska Academy, is happy about the year’s financial bounty awarded by the Swedish Research Council:
“Many people are happy about this decision by the SRC, and I would like to congratulate everyone who received a grant. I also know that there are many who were not successful in being awarded any money this time, and who are frustrated right now. I hope you don’t give up – keep trying!”
The amount given to Sahlgrenska Academy amounted to SEK 155,100,000, which is 15.25 per cent of the SRC’s award total. The University of Gothenburg is second on the list, after the Karolinska Institute. Lund University received almost as much as the University of Gothenburg. At Sahlgrenska Academy, 35 researchers received a share of the award, and of the total this year, it was equal numbers of men and women.
At the next general academic meeting (Wednesday 29 November, 12:00 in Birgit Thilander) we will learn more about what is ongoing from the SRC. Sahlgrenska Academy will then receive a visit from Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, who is Secretary General of Medicine and Health.
The decision by the SRC strengthens the image from the Shanghai rankings and also the major contributions from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation as donated earlier in autumn: nationally, the University of Gothenburg is standing strong in Life Sciences.
Claes Gustafsson, professor of Medical Biochemistry, is one of the five who received nine million kronor over five years. To be given such a large grant from the SRC primarily provides work peace of mind and the opportunity to focus on the bigger issues, he states, and explains that he and his colleagues found a new mechanism behind mitochondrial disease, that they can now study in detail:
“This is a new field, that has not previously been researched, and we think there are good chances for new, unexpected finds. A first scientific piece that describes our findings will be published in a few months.”
What will be your greatest challenge during the project?
“To keep our sense of humor! The most fantastic ideas eventually prove themselves to be totally wrong, and then it’s easy to become discouraged.”
Hope for cancer that is difficult to treat
Chandrasekhar Kanduri, professor of Medical Genetics, specifically RNA epigenetics, also received nine million kronor in an SRC grant. This gives the group the courage to continue with their work on long non-coding RNA molecules, a group of molecules in our DNA that are key to development for mammals, but do not code any proteins.
“In my lab we have identified long non-coding RNA that has the potential to be used in the treatment of cancer, and particularly as therapy for drug-resistant types of cancer. With the SRC grant, we can now explore our findings further,” says Chandra.
New knowledge of bone marrow fat
Mattias Lorentzon, professor in Geriatrics, is also someone who received a major grant from the SRC. He is researching osteoporosis, and the project is about the significance of bone marrow fat, the physiological significance of which on the skeleton and metabolic processes is still largely unknown.
“The most exciting thing is to work out whether it would be possible to improve the skeleton’s material properties and strength by inhibiting the growth of bone marrow fat or influence its composition. In various ways we will study how bone marrow fat is regulated. In addition, it will be incredibly interesting to study whether it is possible to improve fracture prediction, i.e. the ability to predict which patients will have a fracture, in older patients by quantifying the bone marrow fat,” says Mattias, who is also planning to carry out intervention studies.
A total of 35 researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy are sharing the just over SEK 155 million from the Swedish Research Council. See the whole list here: https://www.vr.se/download/18.557786f115f1aee2670e920e/1508997971779/Beviljade_bidrag_MH_2017.xlsx