Associate Professor Simon Bekker-Jensen awarded the Jahre Prize for Young Researchers – University of Copenhagen

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15 June 2017

Associate Professor Simon Bekker-Jensen awarded the Jahre Prize for Young Researchers

AWARD

In the course of his career Professor Simon Bekker-Jensen of Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has made great progress within DNA research. He is now awarded the Anders Jahre Prize for young researchers.

Each year the University of Oslo awards the Anders Jahre prizes for excellent research within basic and clinical medicine to a group of Nordic researchers. One of the prizes is reserved for young researchers and is a personal prize of NOK 500,000.

Mapped the Alarm System of Cancer Cells
Professor Simon Bekker-Jensen from Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine is awarded the prize because he, through his basic research, has increased our understanding of how cells react to DNA damage. Cells become very ill or die if damage to their DNA is not repaired by specific proteins.

Simon Bekker-Jensen has helped discover how the cells’ ‘alarm system’ works – how the cells learn that their DNA has been damaged, and how they repair these damages.

Basic research with great clinical potential
This knowledge can be used to target and streamline cancer treatment through, for example, chemotherapy, which damages the cells’ DNA. Because if we are able to weaken the alarm system of cancer cells specifically, the normal cells are able to repair themselves. The cancer cells are not and therefore die. This way basic research like the one conducted by Simon Bekker-Jensen may hold great clinical potential.

"Receiving this prize is great; it is a great acknowledge of me as a researcher. It encourages me to do even more research into the reaction of cells to various forms of stress such as high temperatures or chemicals, which is what I am researching now", says Simon Bekker-Jensen.

First Danish recipients in 25 years
It has been 25 years since a researcher at the University of Copenhagen won the Anders Jahre Prize for young researchers.

Simon Bekker-Jensen shares this year’s award with Associate Professor Signe Sørensen Torekov from the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Metabolism Center at SUND who is awarded the prize for her research into obesity and diabetes.