Excellence grant for two Center researchers – University of Copenhagen

25 April 2016

Excellence grant for two Center researchers


The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded the ‘Excellence Grant’ worth DKK 5 million over five years to two of our center researchers. Associate Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov and Associate Professor Niels Grarup will be initiating very different projects but both could potentially lead to new treatments and prevention regarding metabolic diseases.

Associate Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov and her research group from the Section for Translational Metabolic Physiology will investigate whether the combination of treatment with both GLP-1 and exercise causes an even greater and healthier sustained weight loss with no inflammation. “We will investigate whether this treatment can improve the healthy bacteria that are living in your gut. We will also investigate whether this treatment can improve not only your own health but also substantially improve the health profile that you pass on to your future children in the sperm cells,” says Torekov.

“Personally this grant is extremely important to me, as it is highly prestigious, and it is an honour for me to receive it among so many other highly talented applicants. I will use this grant to firmly establish myself as a research group leader and it will allow me to build up a solid research group in a new and very exiting field, namely immunometabolism, in order to shift the paradigms of obesity treatment,” she adds.

Associate Professor Niels Grarup from the Section for Metabolic Genetics will evolve existing studies of the Greenlandic population and the grant will help his research team produce new and more detailed genetic data, which will benefit many other studies of this population.

“This will help gain experience in genetic studies, which will have a big influence on my research in Danish and European populations,” says Grarup. “I believe that this study will be an important part of a paradigm shift in disease mapping strategies with the focus shifting from large, open populations to heterogeneous multi-ethnic or small populations where medical and biological knowledge is more easily gained. This is done through identification of genetic associations with metabolic traits in the Greenlandic population and re-examination of individuals who carry two copies of pathogenic variants,” he adds.

The grants were given as part of The Novo Nordisk Foundation Fellowship Award Celebration that took place on the 21st April 2016.