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Novo Nordisk Foundation Awards for professors at two Nordic EMBL partnership nodes

Two leading scientists from two Nordic EMBL Partnership sites, DANDRITE (Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience) and MIMS (The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden), have been awarded prestigious prizes from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Professor Poul Nissen. Photo: Novo Nordisk Foundation, Denmark
Professor Poul Nissen. Photo: AU Foto, Denmark
Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier. Photo: Hallbauer & Fioretti

Novo Nordisk Prize: Professor Poul Nissen

Professor Poul Nissen, of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre, Aarhus University and Director of the Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE), the Danish partner of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, has been awarded the Novo Nordisk Prize for his pioneering studies into the structure and function of ion pumps.

These studies also included key contributions of NCMM Group Leader, Jens Preben Morth, from his postdoctoral research.

The Novo Nordisk Prize recognizes unique medical research, or other research contributions, that benefit medical science. The Prize is accompanied by DKK 3 million, awarded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Professor Nissen’s research has primarily harnessed protein crystallography to determine the three-dimensional structure of ion pumps down to the atomic level thereby also explaining the effects of e.g. disease mutations and regulatory interactions. His research has also led to the setting up of companies and industry collaborations.

Read more about the award and Professor Nissen’s research on the following websites:

Novozymes Prize: Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier

Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, Director of the Department of Regulation in Infection Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany and

Visiting Professor and Group Leader at The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), the Swedish partner of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine at Umeå University, has been awarded the 2017 Novozymes Prize for her pioneering research on the CRISPR-Cas9 technology. She receives the prize together with Professor Virginijus Siksnys of Vilnius University in Lithuania. 

Professor Charpentier performed research that led to the development of the CRISPR-Cas9 technology, during her time as a group leader at the MIMS and Umeå University. This ground-breaking gene-editing tool has enabled researchers to precisely and efficiently edit genes in various organisms and cell types, including bacteria, plants and human cells.

The Novozymes Prize recognizes pioneering research, or a technological contribution, that benefits the development and advancement of biotechnology science. This is the first time that two researchers have shared the Prize, which is accompanied by DKK 3 million.

Professor Charpentier will give her 2017 Novozymes Prize Institutional Lecture at MIMS, Umeå University, Sweden, on March 27.

Read more about the award and Emmanuelle Charpentier’s research on the following websites:

The two Novo Nordisk Foundation Prizes will be presented in a special ceremony on Friday 17 March. Find out more about the Novo Nordisk Foundation

Research collaborations and the Nordic EMBL

These Novo Nordisk Foundation awards are awarded to two representatives from the Nordic EMBL Partnership nodes, who have been able to draw on the support, expertise and resources of a wide and collaborative research network.

The awards are also a warm recognition by the Novo Nordisk Foundation of the Nordic EMBL Partnership and its importance for original, ground-breaking research across the Nordic region.

About the Nordic EMBL Partnership

The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine facilitates scientific collaboration across the Nordic region. The Partnership helps to capitalise on both intellectual and material resources within the Nordic region and to exploit emerging technologies and develop molecular and translational medicine.

The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine was established in 2007 as a joint venture between the EMBL and the universities of Helsinki (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland - FIMM), Umeå (Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden- MIMS) and Oslo (Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway - NCMM). A Danish node, based at Aarhus University (Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience- DANDRITE) joined the Partnership in 2013.

By Annabel Darby, Communications Officer NCMM & Nordic EMBL