Professor Poul Nissen has won the prestigious Director Ib Henriksen Foundation’s Researcher Award 2016 for his outstanding efforts in structural biology. The foundation justifies the choice of Professor Nissen with his ability to promote interdisciplinary and international cooperation in his field of research.
This year’s research award will be presented on 24 November 2016 at a reception at 11.00 at the Museum of Ancient Art in Aarhus. The award is valued at DKK 250,000 and is being presented for the thirty-first time. It is being given in recognition of Professor Nissen’s outstanding efforts in structural biology.
Professor Nissen is director of PUMPkin (Centre for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease) funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. One of the centre’s most significant breakthroughs was the structure determination of the sodium-potassium pump, which has enormous physiological importance. During Professor Nissen’s management, PUMPkin has made a number of research breakthroughs of the highest quality.
Professor Nissen also has a special talent for motivating and encouraging new interdisciplinary directions in research, and PUMPkin has created a number of new activities in Denmark. These include studies of ion pumps in physiology and disease in plants and mice. He has also introduced advanced methods including electrophysiology, computer modelling, sequence analysis, and single-function molecules.
Professor Nissen’s research is also of major importance to neurobiology and neurology, and he is the director of DANDRITE (Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience), founded by the Lundbeck Foundation and Aarhus University in 2013. DANDRITE is the Danish hub for the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, and the institute carries out basic and translational research into the brain and the nervous system.
Professor Nissen is also involved in a new Danish initiative for the future use of structural biology at the advanced large-scale facilities under construction in Lund (MAX IV and ESS), as well as leading the creation of new electron microscopic methods in Denmark for studies of biological molecules and cellular structures.
About the Director Ib Henriksen Foundation
Ib Henriksen was the son of contractor Henrik Johan Henriksen and his wife Camilla, who were co-owners of one of the largest private enterprises in Denmark – Henriksen & Kähler. This company owned Rockwool, gas concrete plants in Denmark and the UK, the large pits in Hedehusene, the Hasle Quarry Tile and Fire Clay Factory on the island of Bornholm, and large tracts of land in various parts of Denmark. In 1962, the company was divided so that the Kähler family continued Rockwool, while the Henriksen family took over the other activities. Ib Henriksen subsequently became the sole owner of Hasle Quarry. The factory was sold in the late 1970s to a fund owned by the County of Bornholm. Ib Henriksen died in 1982 without heirs, but he had decided that his entire fortune would go to a fund to support research and science, as well as young people who want to continue learning, especially abroad.