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Dennis Kjølhede Jeppesen receives Young Investigator grant from VILLUM FONDEN

Every year, the VILLUM FONDEN supports research talent with the ambition to create their own independent research profiles, and this will now be possible for Dennis K. Jeppesen who – with a five-year grant of DKK 10 million – can return from the US to set up his own research group at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University.

2020.01.24 | Lisbeth Heilesen

The recipients of the Young Investigator grant 2020 from VILLUM FONDEN. Dennis Kjølhede Jeppesen is number seven from the right. Photo: VILLUM FONDEN/Thomas Frandsen

Dennis Kjølhede Jeppesen (photo: private)

With the project title “New Frontiers in Intercellular Communication”, Dennis K. Jeppesen will study exosomes and other extracellular vesicles, which are membrane-enclosed vesicles that contain proteins, RNA and lipids. They allow cells to communicate, not only with neighbouring cells, but also with distant cells and tissues. And the newly discovered secretory amphisomes represents unexplored territory in the cell biology of secretion.

With his project, Dennis K. Jeppesen will explore these intercellular communication pathways. He hopes that in the longer term, his research can lead to an improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms and principles of long-distance communication in the body. This has perspectives for both normal developmental biology but also in the understanding of disease states such as cancer development and metastasis.

Dennis Kjølhede Jeppesen graduated as a molecular biologist from the department in 2010, after which he obtained a PhD at the Faculty of Health at Aarhus University. Since 2014 and until now, he has been a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, USA.

Dennis Kjølhede Jeppesen: “With this large grant, I get the chance to return to Denmark to set up my own research group, as I in addition to my own salary get money to hire a postdoc and two PhD students and buy new equipment".

A total of 15 young researchers from Denmark received a Young Investigator grant from the VILLUM FONDEN in 2020 - three from the University of Aarhus. See the list of all recipients.

For the second year this year, the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University is holding a Young Investigator Symposium, aiming at attracting early career researchers who will be eligible for one or more of the Danish investigator grants and offer them a base to establish themselves as an independent group leader for a limited period of time. And indeed, Dennis K. Jeppesen attended last year's "MBG Young Investigator Symposium".

About the VILLUM Young Investigator programme

The VILLUM Young Investigator Programme funds particularly talented young researchers in the technical and natural sciences. The applicants must have a clearly defined goal for their research for a period of five years and the project must be of a scale that requires the establishment of a research team. For Danish universities and research institutions, this is also a recruitment tool to attract talented researchers outside Denmark.

All VILLUM Young Investigators are given the opportunity to join a network of like-minded people and are invited every year to 1-2 seminars with topics that researchers at the same career stage can benefit from, such as recruitment and research management.

This article is based on a media release from VILLUM FONDEN.