Center Researchers receive two major NNF Challenge Programme grants – University of Copenhagen

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Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research > News > 2017 > Center Researchers rec...

14 January 2016

Center Researchers receive two major NNF Challenge Programme grants

Recipients of the awards are Professors Fredrik Bäckhed and Torben Hansen who each has received a project grant of DKK 60 million spread over six years.

Both researchers applied for research funding within the theme of the human microbiome. Their projects focus on gut bacteria relation to disease.

Professor Fredrik Bäckhed“I was really thrilled and excited about the news. In particular, since we are a very strong team of collaborators that together will explore how different microbial derived metabolites affect insulin resistance,” Fredrik Bäckhed says.

Bäckhed will lead the project called “Gut microbiome effects on cardiometabolic disease through metabolism-modifying metabolites (Gut-MMM)” with the following project description:

Evidence indicates that the bacterial flora in the human gastrointestinal tract substantially influences metabolism and development of cardiometabolic diseases. Nevertheless, the extent to which these factors are linked, and whether pharmaceuticals can be developed on this basis are currently unclear.

The underlying hypothesis of the project is that microbially synthesized molecules do not just play a role as the body’s energy metabolizers and building blocks; they also play an important role as signal molecules that interact with receptors in endocrine organs.

The grant enables Bäckhed to strengthen his research at KU.:“It will open up a new avenue for our research and allow me to establish and develop a strong research group at KU. I am really excited that we are given this possibility.

Professor Torben Hansen”Torben Hansen will lead the project “MicrobLiver” with the following project description:

The portal vein transports metabolites produced by the human gut microbiota directly to the liver, and these may play a role in developing several liver diseases. The project will have access to many patients and will comprehensively screen their microbiota, liver, and blood.

The goal is to build models that describe the gut microbiome–portal vein–liver axis and to identify biomarkers for predicting, preventing, and treating metabolic liver diseases.

Read more about the challenge grants here.