Signe Sørensen Torekov awarded prestigious Norwegian Career Prize – University of Copenhagen

15 June 2017

Signe Sørensen Torekov awarded prestigious Norwegian Career Prize


It has been 25 years since a researcher at the University of Copenhagen has won the Anders Jahre Prize for young researchers. This year one of the recipients of this prestigious prize is Associate Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov, who has been recognised for her great progress within obesity and diabetes.

Each year the University of Oslo awards the Anders Jahre prizes for excellent research within basic and clinical medicine to a group of Nordic researchers. One of the prizes is reserved for young researchers with a personal prize of NOK 500,000.

This year the prize has been split between two young researchers at SUND. One is Associate Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov from the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Metabolism Center at SUND. The other is Professor Simon Bekker-Jensen from the Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

Continued Weight Loss
Signe Sørensen Torekov is awarded the prize for her research into obesity and diabetes. One of her main results is the understanding that even though the human body is geared to fight weight loss there is hope. Because after losing weight the body produces excessive amounts of the hunger hormone ghrelin in proportion to the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1, meaning that the body easy regains weight.

Yet Signe Sørensen Torekov and her colleagues’ research shows that if a person is able to maintain the same weight for a year after weight loss, the body will reach a stage where it begins to produce a lot of the appetite-suppressing hormone, while production of the hunger hormone is normalised. This offers new hope of maintaining weight loss.

She has also studied the disease long QT syndrome, which has long been considered a heart disease. Here she learned that some patients, in addition to the heart disease, were also genetically predisposed to a metabolic disease. This resulted in excess production of insulin and GLP-1 in the body, generating too low blood sugar levels, which could potentially affect the cardiac rhythm and thus be dangerous to the patients.

"Receiving this prize is a huge honour. It enables me to do even more research into obesity and metabolic diseases, among other things, and the underlying mechanisms and issues concerned. Ultimately, into how we can treat and prevent it," says Signe Sørensen Torekov.