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New insights into how we age secure young professor a Lundbeck Foundation Young Investigator Prize

Cytologist and Professor with Special Responsibilities at the University of Copenhagen Simon Bekker-Jensen is awarded the Lundbeck Foundation Young Investigator Prize.

He was appointed professor at the young age of 36, has published his results in the world’s leading scientific journals and has dedicated his career to discovering how cells respond to stress and how, in certain situations, they repair themselves. In time, his research may be able to explain why some people age more rapidly than others.

Simon, who has been a Lundbeck Foundation Fellow since 2012, has contributed to numerous scientific breakthroughs. He has, for instance, identified a number of new proteins that are involved in cellular response to DNA damage. Cells are broken down by daily stress, and this is why we age. However, some people age faster than others, and if we can understand why, we may find a way to age more slowly and remain healthier into old age.

On that basis, the 39-year-old cytologist and Professor with Special Responsibilities, Simon Bekker-Jensen, is receiving the 2019 Lundbeck Foundation Young Investigator Prize.

‘If we zoom right in, I’m interested in cells and the basic mechanisms that come into play when cells are exposed to stress. This is a recurring theme in most diseases and in the ageing process. If we zoom out a little, I find it exciting to explore a subject such as ageing because it has fascinated mankind for ever and raises this question: Can we delay the ageing process and live longer?’ says Simon Bekker-Jensen.

Changed direction along the way
At the beginning of his career, Simon was interested in how cells deal with damage to DNA. His studies led to identification of a number of new molecular mechanisms. When he started up his own, independent research group, he shifted his focus to cellular stress and ageing.

‘Simon is one of the international elite when it comes to research into cellular defence mechanisms against stress and ageing. His research has given us unique insight into some of the basic mechanisms in cells when they age and experience stress. And, in time, it may enable us to curb the ageing processes,” says Jan Egebjerg, Director of Research at the Lundbeck Foundation.

In addition to being an internationally renowned researcher, Simon is an experienced teacher and an outstanding research communicator, and he has won numerous prizes.

The Lundbeck Foundation Young Investigator Prize comes with a monetary award of DKK 1 million. DKK 300,000 of this amount is a personal honorary award, while DKK 700,000 is earmarked for the prizewinner’s research.

Watch a video about Simon Bekker-Jensen’s research here. 

About the Lundbeck Foundation Young Investigator Prize
The Lundbeck Foundation Young Investigator Prize is awarded each year to a researcher under the age of 40 who has produced outstanding research in the field of biomedical science.

The Lundbeck Foundation wishes to support researchers at all stages of their career, and the aim of the Young Investigator Prize is to recognise the new generation’s most talented researchers who have established their own, independent research groups.

At the same time, as one of the largest research-funding foundations in Denmark, we wish to draw attention to the great social value of research.

For further details please contact:

Jan Egebjerg, Director of Research at the Lundbeck Foundation, tel. +45 3912 8009 or je@lundbeckfonden.com

Pernille Thorborg Jasper, Media Relations Manager at the Lundbeck Foundation, tel. +45 2118 9132 or ptj@lundbeckfonden.com

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