LEO Pharma Research Foundation awards two promising and talented scientists in skin research

The LEO Pharma Research Foundation reveals this year’s award winners: Amaya Virós Usandizaga and Thomas Wiesner. Both scientists have made exceptional advances within dermatology research. 

15 August 2016, Ballerup, Denmark - Every year, LEO Pharma Research Foundation pre-sents two awards to promising and talented scientists. This year, the DKK 1 million Gold award goes to Dr. Amaya Virós and the DKK 500,000 Silver award goes to Dr. Thomas Wiesner. The award ceremony will take place on 8 September 2016 in Munich at the European Society for Dermatological Research’s annual meeting.

“We are proud to present two talented scientists with this year’s LEO Pharma Research Foundation Awards. Both scientists have advanced our understanding of skin diseases and made valuable contributions to the scientific community. Their outstanding research has the potential to pave the way for new and improved treatment for the millions of people worldwide suffering from skin cancer,” says Thorsten Thormann, Chairman of the LEO Pharma Re-search Foundation Award Committee.

Gold winner: Dr. Amaya Virós
Dr. Virós has made important contributions to the area of skin research by describing mechanisms behind the development of squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. She has pub-lished in top-ranking scientific journals and received a number of prestigious awards, including a recent Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinician Scientist Fellowship to set up her laboratory at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute in the newly-built Manchester Cancer Research Centre, UK, which is based at The University of Manchester.

Dr. Virós will focus her future research on the under-researched area of skin cancer and ageing. Ageing skin appears to have unique properties and patterns of tumour development that may explain the surprising increase in aggressive primary melanoma and mortality from this disease. Her aim is to identify the factors in elderly people that make them more prone to developing melanoma and less likely to survive once they develop the disease.

Silver Winner: Dr. Thomas Wiesner
Dr. Thomas Wiesner is breaking new ground to find new mechanism-based cancer
therapies. Following medical school, Dr. Wiesner wrote his thesis on the genomic aberrations of cutaneous lymphoma and completed his residency in dermatology at the Medical University of Graz in Austria. Dr. Wiesner spent five years conducting basic and translational research using cutting-edge techniques within high-throughput sequencing techniques in particular. His work within skin cancer research resulted in key discoveries, in particular concerning the genomic landscape of skin tumours.

Based on his experience as a physician-scientist and his access to high-quality clinical sam-ples, Dr. Wiesner plans to combine high-throughput sequencing technologies, computational approaches and functional assays in order to define the relevant genomic and epigenomic aberrations in skin cancer and pave the way for new mechanism-based cancer therapies.

About LEO Pharma Research Foundation
The LEO Pharma Research Foundation was established in 1947 by LEO Pharma's owner at the time, manufacturer Knud Abildgaard, in memory of the founder of the company, pharmacist August Kongsted. To honour and promote significant achievements in healthcare research, LEO Pharma Research Foundation founded the Gold and Silver awards in 2008. These are awarded to young scientists whose work represents an extraordinary contribution to medical research. The European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR) selects candidates while the LEO Pharma Research Foundation selects the award winners.


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