The Minerva Foundation supports and promotes Finnish research in the field of natural sciences, especially medicine. The major activity is maintenance of the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research at the Biomedicum Helsinki research center.
Read more about MINERVA FOUNDATION INSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH
News and Forthcoming Events
THE INAUGURAL RALPH GRÄSBECK SCHOLARSHIP GRANTED TO PIRKKA-PEKKA LAURILA
The Minerva Foundation has decided to commemorate Professor Ralph Gräsbeck, the founder of the foundation and the associated medical research institute, by establishing a new scholarship in his name. The first scholarship was granted this year, and the chosen recipient was Doctor Pirkka-Pekka Laurila on the recommendation of an independent panel of experts.
The Ralph Gräsbeck Scholarship totals EUR 10,000 and will be granted every second year starting from this year to a deserving researcher in laboratory medicine who has completed their doctorate within the last seven years. The candidates are assessed on the basis of their application, research plan and merits.
Pirkka-Pekka Laurila works at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. He is researching metabolic routes related to ageing and their roles in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases using systems biology approach. The Ralph Gräsbeck Scholarship was granted to him for this very research which aims to identify biomarkers and new treatment targets related to these diseases.
Laurila presents regularly at international conferences. He has previously received the International Atherosclerosis Society Young Investigator Award (2009), the American Heart Association Early Career Award (2014), the Finnish Atherosclerosis Society Young Investigator Award (2014), and the European Atherosclerosis Society Young Investigator Award (2017) for the best European publication on basic research in the cardiovascular area during 2016.
Ralph Gräsbeck (6/7/1930 – 22/1/2016) was a Finnish physician and clinical biochemist. He was one of the founders of the Minerva Foundation and the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research. The institute’s research focuses on medically important maladies, such as diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Gräsbeck was the director of the institute from 1971 to 1993. On his initiative, the Medix private clinical laboratory (currently United Medix Laboratories Ltd) was established, and the shares of the company were endowed to the Minerva Foundation.
In the 1950s, Gräsbeck worked as a biochemistry researcher at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, and the Medical Nobel Institute (part of the Karolinska Institute) in Stockholm. From 1960 to 1990 he worked as head laboratory physician at the City of Helsinki Maria Hospital.
As a researcher, Ralph Gräsbeck is probably most famous for the discovery and analysis of Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome, which is part of the Finnish disease heritage. He made various observations with his colleagues about the metabolism of vitamin B12 – also called cobalamin – and its disorders. He also took part in the investigation of tapeworm-induced anaemia. Moreover, he introduced the concept of reference value, which replaced the illogical concept of normal value.
For more information about Pirkka-Pekka Laurila’s research, Ralph Gräsbeck’s career, the Minerva Foundation, and the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, please contact:
Pirkka-Pekka Laurila: pirkka-pekka.laurila(at)epfl.ch
Vesa Olkkonen, Professor, Director of the Research Institute
+358 050 4112 297, vesa.olkkonen(at)helsinki.fi
MINERVA AND WIHURI RESEARCH INSTITUTES SYMPOSIUM
Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine
August 28 - 29, 2018, Biomedicum Helsinki, Lecture hall 1
The symposium is free of charge for the participants.
Registration will be open starting on June 1 (https://elomake.helsinki.fi/lomakkeet/89638/lomake.html).
Students can receive ECTS credits for attendance and poster presentation or pre-assignment.
More information will be available in the DPBM (Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine) website upon registration.