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Prizes, Scholarships and Grants


Prizes, scholarships and grant available for application form Minerva Foundation

- MEDIX PRIZE OF THE MINERVA FOUNDATION
- MINERVA FOUNDATION’S BROR-AXEL LAMBERG PRIZE IN ENDOCRINOLOGY
- RALPH GRÄSBECK GRANT FOR RESEARCH IN LABORATORY MEDICINE
- SELMA AND MAJA-LISA SELANDER'S FUND FOR RESEARCH IN ODONTOLOGY


Now Available for Application


No open calls at the moment.

Prize and Grant Decisions


9/2018 - Medix Prize of the Minerva Foundation 2018
MEDIX PRIZE AWARDED FOR CANCER RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TURKU

Medix prize, 20,000 €, is this year awarded to the research group of Academy professor Johanna Ivaska at the University of Turku, for a study elucidating the mechanisms of cell adhesion and cancer. The group works at Turku Center for Biotechnology maintained by the University of Turku and the Åbo Akademi University.

Medix prize of the Minerva Foundation is a major annual award for the internationally recognized biomedical research in Finland. This prize represents in a way the ’Finnish championship’ in biomedicine.

This year the prize was awarded for research which elucidates the capacity of cells to attach to the surrounding tissues. In this study the authors found a protein that reduces the ability of cancerous cell to spread in their tissue environment. The SHANK protein under study renders cancer cells less active and prevents their adhesion to tissues. Correspondingly, mutations in this protein impair its anti-adhesive effects.

In addition to the importance in the context of cancer, the present observations are relevant for understanding the nerve cell disturbances occurring in autism.

”SHANK was previously known to be connected with autism. Mutation in SHANK or the absence of this protein predispose to severe autism, but the underlying mechanism has thus far remained unknown. Out study also provided information on this mechanism”, comments Johanna Ivaska.

”This is a good example for basic research at its best. We set out to solve a certain problem, and suddenly found fully unexpected biological connections. The SHANK protein had never before studied in the context of cancer. When we as cancer researchers began to study these new connections, we unexpectedly also became researchers of autism”. However, there is no such connection between cancer and autism that, if one suffers from autism one would have an increased risk of cancer, or vice versa.

The group continues its work on the mechanisms underlying cancer and autism. Ivaska does not want to estimate, at which stage the research could possibly be translated to develop new therapies or medications. However, she believes that this will eventually take place. The history is full of examples of how medicine has developed based on basic research observations.

The multidisciplinary research group of Johanna Ivaska has collaborated with two reseach groups abroad: The group of Dr. Igor Barsukov at the University of Liverpool has elucidated the 3D structure of the SHANK protein, while the group of Dr. Hans-Juergen Kreienkamp at the Institute of Human Genetics, Hamburg, has studied the function of SHANK in neurons and cancer cells.

The Medix prize is now awarded for the 31. time. The prize sum is donated to Helsinki University by Medix Ltd., a major owner of which is the Minerva Foundation. The Foundation maintains a medical research institute at Biomedicum-Helsinki.

The prize is awarded annually for excellent Finnish scientific research published as one article during the previous year. The research shall be from the fields of  biomedicine or clinical medicine and performed fully or in its essential parts in Finland. The awardee is selected by a panel consisting of representatives of the universities of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Eastern Finland, and Oulu. The panel is nominated for three years at a time.

The study now awarded has ben published in the journal Nature Cell Biology under the title ”SHANK proteins limit integrin activation by directly interacting with Rap1 and R-Ras”. Of researchers at the University of Turku, Johanna Lilja, Maria Georgiadou, Guillaume Jacquemet, Nicola De Franceschi, Emilia Peuhu, Hellyeh Hamidi, Jeroen Pouwels ja Johanna Ivaska belong to the awarded group.


Additional information and material
:

Photos of the awarded research group https://minervafoundation.fi/medix_kuvat.html
Photographer: Martti Ahlstén. The pictures are open for use by media.

The awarded article published in Nature Cell Biology can be accessed at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5386136/

More information on the awarded research: Academy prof. Johanna Ivaska, Turku Center for Biotechnology; 040 5020812, johanna.ivaska(at)utu.fi

More information on the Medix prize and the Minerva Foundation:  Prof. Vesa Olkkonen, 050 411 2297, vesa.olkkonen(at)helsinki.fi, http://minervafoundation.fi 


6/2018 - Funding decisions

Selma and Maja-Lisa Selander's Fund for Research in Odontology

From Selma and Maja-Lisa Selander’s fund 8 grants were awarded 2018, in all 51.500 euros.

GRANTS 2018


5/2018 - Funding decision

Ralph Gräsbeck Grant for Research in Laboratory Medicine

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

MEDDELANDE PÅ SVENSKA

TIEDOTE SUOMEKSI


11/2017 - Prize awarded

Minerva Foundation's Bror-Axel Lamberg Prize in Endocrinology

THE FIRST MINERVA FOUNDATION’S BROR-AXEL LAMBERG PRIZE IN ENDOCRINOLOGY WAS AWARDED

Bror-Axel Lamberg Prize in Endocrinology was awarded to Professor Jorma Toppari from the University of Turku. The prize is 10.000€ and it was awarded 2017 the first time.

The award ceremony took place on Thursday, 2 November 2017, in Biomedicum Helsinki on the 70th Annual Meeting of the Finnish Endocrine Society. The chair of the Minerva Foundation, Prof. Caj Haglund, delivered the prize.

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Background Information


Medix prize of the Minerva Foundation

A prize donated to University of Helsinki for awarding excellent research in biosciences.

Medix Prize is awarded yearly for excellent Finnish scientific research, which has been published the previous year in an internationally reviewed  scientific journal. The prize winning article has to be from the field of biomedicine or clinical medicine and carried out as a whole or for most parts in Finland. The amount of Medix Prize is 20 000 €. The first Medix Prize was honoured to Jorma O. Kokkonen and Petri T. Kovanen year 1988.


Minerva Foundation's Bror-Axel Lamberg Prize in Endocrinology

Minerva Foundation’s Bror-Axel Lamberg Prize in Endocrinology is a 10.000€ prize awarded every other year in the Annual Meeting of the Finnish Endocrine Society to a distinguished Finnish or Nordic scientist in the field of endocrinology. The first prize, year 2017, is honored to a Finnish scientist. The Finnish Endocrine Society nominates three candidates for the prize from whom the Minerva Foundation selects the winner.

THE FINNISH ENDOCRINE SOCIETY


Ralph Gräsbeck Grant for Research in Laboratory Medicine

The Ralph Gräsbeck grant is awarded every other year for a scientist who has defended his/her doctoral thesis during the past seven years in the field of laboratory medicine and continued doing innovative and high quality research in the same field. The sum awarded  is 10.000 €.


Selma and Maja-Lisa Selander's Fund for Research in Odontology

From Selma and Maja-Lisa Selander’s fund 4 - 8 grants are awarded yearly.

GRANTS 2018
GRANTS 2017
GRANTS 2016
GRANTS 2015
GRANTS 2014


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