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Ditlev E. Brodersen is among the first to be appointed Novo Nordisk Foundation Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator

As one of the first researchers in the country, Associate Professor Ditlev E. Brodersen receives the Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator grant as part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Leader Programme. The 10 mio DKK (ca. Euro 1,342,320) grant will provide Ditlev Brodersen's research lab with opportunities to explore the survival mechanisms of microbes for the next five years. The project will be carried out at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Ditlev E. Brodersen receives DKK 10 mio. from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to study how microorganisms defend themselves. The research will be of great importance for the treatment of infectious diseases in the future. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU-foto.

Microorganisms have a profound influence on human health and well-being. Gut bacteria are essential for our digestive system and nutrition while microbes in our environment constantly attempt to compromise our immune system in order to survive. To win this fight, many microorganisms have developed sophisticated defence mechanisms that are vital for their survival, including endo-toxins and several highly specialised enzymes that allow them to overcome periods of nutritional starvation and exposure to heat or antibiotics. With the project granted by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Ditlev E. Brodersen will address fundamental questions related to microbial self defence and survival by studying both function, molecular details and higher order structure of enzymes from several key pathways.

The research programme addresses three key mechanisms by which microorganisms improve their survival: 1) How do bacteria extract phosphorus from alternate sources during starvation? 2) How is production of the cellular alarmone (p)ppGpp controlled at the molecular level? and 3) What is the diversity of the bacterial toxin-antitoxin systems, how are they activated and what is their function once activated? By combining biochemistry with state- of-the-art methods in cell and structural biology, the research programme will significantly advance our knowledge about the underlying principles of microbial survival mechanisms and provide a foundation for the development of future anti-microbial drugs and treatment regimens.     

For more information, see www.bioxray.au.dk/~deb

About Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator

With the present call ’Hallas-Møller Ascending Investigator’ the Novo Nordisk Foundation seeks to support and strengthen the consolidation of the excellent, younger to middle-aged associate professors in Denmark within the fields of bioscience and basic biomedicine primarily focusing on health and disease, but also natural science of general importance for understanding the human organism. The applicants should have their own research groups and individual research profiles, and have the ambition and potential to rise to the highest international level within their research fields.

Four grants of up to DKK 10 mio are given each year. 

For further information, please contact

Lektor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
deb@mbg.au.dk - +45 21669001