Prizes from Bagger-Sørensen Foundation for two of our health researchers – University of Copenhagen

22 September 2016

Prizes from Bagger-Sørensen Foundation for two of our health researchers


Professor Torben Hansen has been awarded the Bagger-Sørensen prize of DK 500,000 - one of the largest biomedical awards in Denmark. Hansen is a world player in the exploration of the genetic causes of obesity and Type 2-Diabetes.

Professor Hansen is an original, competent and visionary researcher on molecular and translational diabetology as well as diabetic genetic epidemiology. His thorough studies have formed the basis of numerous discoveries of molecular causes of metabolic diseases. In 2014, he and his collaborators published in Nature the finding of a gene, which accounts for 15-20 % of all Type 2-Diabetes in Greenland. More than 80 % of Greenlanders aged 60 or above with 2 copies of this gene get Type 2-diabetes.Torben Hansen was also the main driving force behind the identification and collection of Danish families with the so-called Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY).

His research has shown that monogenic diabetes is a relatively common type of diabetes in Denmark and that correct diagnostics is very important to the continued counselling, treatment and prevention of complications in patients with monogenic diabetes.

Professor Hansen thus searches for more specific diagnostics for diabetics. Today you get the diagnosis at your doctors, if blood glucose levels are elevated. The test is cheap and easy, but the diagnosis is often inaccurate.

"Most of the 300,000 people with the Type 2-diagnosis are treated the same way. You can compare this to treating all cancer forms the same way. Like cancer Type 2-Diabetes has several forms and these forms must be treated differently," Torben Hansen explains

Gerhart-Hines was this year’s recipient of the Bagger-Sørensen Talent Prize of DKK 50,000, which is awarded annually to young researchers, less than 40 years old. According to the Bagger-Sørensen Foundation, Gehart-Hines is awarded the prize for his extensive and excellent scientific production within his research field.

Zach Gerhart-Hines’ career springs from his research into the prevention of diabetes and obesity. Today, he heads a research group here at the Center where they conduct research on fatty tissue, a subject which has interested the young researcher ever since he embarked on his career in the US.

“My entire research career has revolved around research on the prevention of lifestyle diseases. Today, my overall goal is identifying key factors we can attack pharmacologically in order to speed-up calorie burning and glucose-reducing activities in fatty tissue,” he says.

To find out more about the prizes