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Danish-Swedish microscope alliance to strengthen Nordic life sciences

Nobel Prize-winning microscope for protein research in Copenhagen will strengthen research into new medicine and an already well-establish life sciences cluster in the Nordics. Look to Denmark and become a part of this unique environment for protein research.

With support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, four universities in Denmark and Sweden – the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Stockholm University and Umeå University – have formed a research alliance. The alliance will use a so-called cryo-electron microscope, which will be looking for new molecules and protein structures that may form the basis of new drugs for treating e.g. dementia, obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Research field with great potential

Protein research is a promising field within the development of drugs and here the cryo-electron microscope plays a main role. Within structural biology the microscope is considered revolutionary and the technology behind it received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2017.

Denmark holds an internationally acknowledge position within the field of protein research, which makes up great opportunities for foreign businesses and researchers to tap into.

Among leading protein research centres is for example the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research established at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

The centre aims to be world leading in integrative protein technologies and their application to accelerate understanding of the biological processes underlying health and disease.

Nordic collaboration with global impact

In CryoNet the researchers from the four universities will now share knowledge about their research with the microscope, which is located at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in Copenhagen.

In addition to knowledge sharing, CryoNet will hold regular seminars and provide instruction in the findings and functions of the microscope in order to introduce researchers from all over the world to the new technology.

I am very enthusiastic about the foundations’ large donations for the collaboration. By establishing a strong Nordic alliance centred around the microscope we strengthen our already acknowledged position within protein research. I am sure CryoNet will help us reach new milestones in the field.

Guillermo Montoya, Professor Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Protein Research

Great support for Nordic life sciences research

The project has received a total of 2 million EUR in funding for the next four years from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

“These are truly exciting times for protein science. Cryo-electron microscopy has opened up completely new possibilities for understanding the architecture and function of proteins. We are pleased and excited to partner with the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation to launch CryoNet and add further momentum to pushing cryo-electron microscopy to the forefront of Nordic life science research,” says CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Birgitte Nauntofte.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has previously provided DKK 60 million in funding for setting up the cryo-electron microscope.

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