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
At the moment no prizes, scholarships or grants are available for application.
Prize and Grant Decisions
MEDIA RELEASE 14.9.2020
MEDDELANDE PÅ SVENSKA
The Minerva Foundation’s Medix Prize awarded to a research group from the University of Helsinki
STEM CELLS CAN BE REJUVENATED BY INHIBITING SIGNALS FROM NEIGHBOURING CELLS
The Minerva Foundation’s Medix Prize, worth €20,000, has been awarded to a team researching the rejuvenation of the functioning of aged tissue by inhibiting signals between stem cells and their niche cells. The prize was awarded for an article published in the science journal Nature by a research group from the University of Helsinki. The research group is headed by Associate Professor and Director of the Academy of Finland’s Centre of Excellence in Stem Cell Metabolism Pekka Katajisto.
The mechanism discovered by the research group may represent a safer way to treat gastrointestinal complications in elderly people, reduce the harmful side-effects of chemotherapeutic agents and support the recovery of older patients.
According to the head researcher of the project, PhD student Nalle Pentinmikko, compromised tissue function in elderly people has been known for a good while. In addition, reduced function of stem cells is known to have a role in poor regeneration of old tissues.
“Research has so far focused on the intrinsic mechanisms in the functional decline of stem cell. Our research is amongst the first to examine the role of the neighbourhood, the niche, of ageing stem cells. To our surprise, we discovered that incorrect signals are sent from the niche to stem cells which deteriorates the functional capacity of stem cells and therefore negatively affects their ability to regenerate damaged gut tissue,” Head Researcher Pentinmikko says.
Stem cells require Wnt molecules, which regulate their ability to proliferate. In old tissue, Paneth cells, surrounding the stem cells, produce an enzyme called Notum, which is an extracellular Wnt inhibitor. This results in the decreased regeneration capacity of stem cells which, in turn, negatively affects the recovery of damaged gut tissue. Whereas Notum was already known to researchers, its connection to stem cell biology has now been established for the first time.
The discovery of the mechanism allows for correcting miscommunication between cells by means of pharmacological inhibition or genetic targeting of Notum.
“At the end of the research, we found a pharmacological molecule that may create a basis for future medical treatment. The US-based research group that has developed the molecule had discovered its Notum inhibiting function, but they didn’t know when and where this kind of molecule could be used,” Head Researcher Pentinmikko says.
According to Katajisto’s vision, there could in ten years’ time be treatments and medicines to rejuvenate the stem cells function of elderly patients in such a way that their ability to repair damaged tissue would be closer to that of young tissue.
“This will be of great importance in cancer treatment, for example, where the most commonly used treatments often result in serious damage to healthy tissue, in particular in older individuals. Currently, the risks associated with such harmful side-effects can influence treatment decisions for elderly patients even in cases where the treatment could be beneficial” says Katajisto.
The newly discovered mechanism cannot be used for preventing or curing illnesses, but it can be used for facilitating recovery from certain conditions and the severe side-effects of treatments in the future. The research group has already launched research into the role of Notum in the onset of colorectal cancer.
Caption: The research group used mice and human source materials. Director Pekka Katajisto (rear) observes Head Researcher Nalle Pentinmikko preparing a small intestine dissected from an aged mouse. Photographer: Martti Ahlstén.
The Medix Prize by the Minerva Foundation is an important annual award for internationally high-level Finnish medical research. The Medix Prize is, in a manner of speaking, the Finnish championship for biomedicine. This year the Medix Prize will be awarded for the 33rd time.
The Medix Prize is awarded by the University of Helsinki, and is donated to the university by the Minerva Foundation, which funds the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research at Biomedicum Helsinki.
The prize is awarded annually for excellent Finnish scientific research published as one article during the previous year. The research is to be in the fields of biomedicine or clinical medicine and performed fully or in its essential parts in Finland.
The awardee is selected by a committee consisting of representatives from the universities of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Eastern Finland and Oulu, who are appointed for three years.
The research group will receive the Medix Prize and give a lecture during a virtual event on 14 September 2020 at 12.00 noon. We kindly invite you to follow the event online.
Zoom link to Medix webinar on 14 September at 12.00 noon:
ID number: 645 9388 3041
If you have not used Zoom before, the link will automatically suggest downloading the software. Then the software has been downloaded, you have to log in to the seminar using the ID number above. Joining the seminar is free of charge and does not require creating separate login.
Further information and materials:
Photographs of the award-winning research group:
Photographer: Martti Ahlstén.
The images are free for media use.
Caption: The research group used mice and human source materials. Director Pekka Katajisto (rear) observes Head Researcher Nalle Pentinmikko preparing a small intestine dissected from an aged mouse.
Article published in Nature (login or fee required. Please contact Director Pekka Katajisto if you do not have login data):
Notum produced by Paneth cells attenuates regeneration of aged intestinal epithelium
Further information on the award-winning study:
Head Researcher Nalle Pentinmikko, +358 (0)40 719 8254, nalle.pentinmikko(at)helsinki.fi
Director Pekka Katajisto, +358 (0)40 708 5349. pekka.katajisto(at)elsinki.fi
Research group website: katajisto-lab.com
Further information on the Medix Prize and the Minerva Foundation:
Professor Vesa Olkkonen, +358 (0)50 411 2297, vesa.olkkonen(at)helsinki.fi
This media release is distributed by PR Officer Martti Ahlstén
+358 (0)500 582 588
09/2020 - Ralph Gräsbeck Scholarship for Research in Laboratory Medicine
THE RALPH GRÄSBECK SCHOLARSHIP 2020 GRANTED TO PANU LUUKKONEN
The 2020 Ralph Gräsbeck Scholarship for Research in Laboratory Medicine is awarded to M.D., Ph.D., Panu Luukkonen at Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA. The Ralph Gräsbeck Scholarship is granted to Luukkonen for his research “A mendelian randomization study of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in humans”.
The Ralph Gräsbeck scholarship 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 innovative and high-quality research in the same field. The amount of the scholarship is 10.000 EUR and this is the second time the scholarship is awarded.
6/2020 - Funding decisions
SELMA AND MAJA-LISA SELANDER'S FUND FOR RESEARCH IN ODONTOLOGY 2020
From Selma and Maja-Lisa Selander’s fund 16 grants were awarded 2020, in all 119 500 EUR.
MINERVA FOUNDATION’S BROR-AXEL LAMBERG PRIZE IN ENDOCRINOLOGY 2019
The 2019 Bror-Axel Lamberg Prize in Endocrinology was awarded to Professor of Medical Endocrinology Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. The prize is 10.000€ and this was the second time the prize was awarded.The award ceremony took place on Wednesday, 31 October 2019, on the 71th Annual Meeting of the Finnish Endocrine Society. The director of the of the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, Professor Vesa Olkkonen, delivered the prize.
Professor Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen
The Prize Jurys reasons for the award: “Feldt-Rasmussen has made numerous contributions to endocrinology and thyroidology. Impressively, she is the author or co-author of 429 articles, 373 of them original studies, her main field being thyroidology. Her work relates to virtually every aspect of thyroid disorders and their management. In particular, she has made crucial contributions addressing the measurement of thyroglobulin and the interactions of thyroglobulin antibodies with thyroglobulin measurements. She is one of the most distinguished experts in this field.”The 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. It is awarded to a Scandinavian scientist for innovative, high-quality research in the field of endocrinology. The Finnish Endocrine Society nominates three candidates for the prize from whom the Minerva Foundation selects the winner. The first prize, year 2017, was honored to a Professor of Physiology Jorma Toppari at the University of Turku.
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.
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 10 - 20 grants are awarded yearly.