Awards for pioneering scientists in skin research

Ballerup, Denmark, 2 July 2014 – The LEO Pharma Research Foundation reveals this year’s award winners: two, talented scientists from Denmark and Germany making pioneering advances in dermatology research.

The DKK 1 million Gold Award goes to Ph.D. Kim B. Jensen, associate professor at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Copenhagen. The DKK 500,000 Silver Award goes to Dr. med. Christina Zielinski, research group leader and dermatological fellow, Department of Dermatology and Allergology and Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Charité University Medicine, Berlin.

“The award winners’ outstanding work has challenged scientific understanding of skin diseases such as skin cancer and psoriasis. The LEO Pharma Research Foundation acknowledges the significance of this research - not only for the scientific community, but also for the millions of people worldwide living with skin diseases. For these patients, scientific advances offers hope for better dermatology care in the future,” says Thorsten Thormann, chairman of the LEO Pharma Research Foundation’s (LPRF) Award Committee.

Each year, the LPRF awards two scientists from the global science community with the aim of supporting significant advances in scientific research. The European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR) selects candidates while the LPRF selects the award winners.

Gold Award

Dr. Jensen’s research focuses on how the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, is constantly renewed throughout life in an organised manner by epidermal stem cells. Epidermal stem cells need to be carefully controlled as any imbalance is likely to have devastating consequences. Too little contribution from the stem cells can lead to bleeding ulcers, whereas too much contribution can lead to skin cancer. By examining how stem cells are regulated in the epidermis, Jensen hopes to gain insights into mechanisms responsible for disease development and identify new drugable pathways.

Silver Award

Dr. Zielinski’s research focuses on how the body’s immune system protects itself from microbial assault by distinguishing between the body’s own cells and foreign organisms. It examines what happens when the body does not regulate itself in this way and how this affects the development of autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. Insights gained from these studies are expected to identify molecular cues that can be exploited in order to develop immune modulation therapies.

The award ceremony will take place on 11 September, 2014 at the Tivoli Congress Center during the 44th annual ESDR meeting. The ceremony will feature scientific talks by the award winners and a keynote lecture by Michel Gilliet, MD, Professor and Chairman, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Lausanne CHUV, Switzerland.

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