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Professor Poul Nissen awarded the Anders Jahre medical prize 2021

One of Scandinavia’s most prestigious research honours, the Anders Jahre Medical Prize, has been conferred on Professor Poul Nissen of Aarhus University. The prize has been awarded in recognition of Professor Nissen’s groundbreaking research on the structure and function of membrane proteins. His work has advanced our understanding of a variety of diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and psychiatric disorders.

Professor Poul Nissen awarded Anders Jahre's major medical award in 2021 for his research in membrane proteins. Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen

Professor Poul Nissen has dedicated his research career to exploring and understanding the functions of the proteins found in the lipid membranes around cells. These proteins are centrally involved in nerve signalling and muscular contraction. In recognition of this groundbreaking work, Professor Nissen has just been awarded a major academic honour: the Anders Jahre Medical Prize, also known as ‘the Little Nobel’, which is conferred by the University of Oslo.

“I am utterly overwhelmed by receiving the 2021 Anders Jahre Medical Prize; it’s a major and distinguished recognition of our research on the structure and mechanisms of membrane transport in cells, and I’m deeply grateful,” Nissen said.

Professor Nissen is one of the leading structural biologists in Scandinavia who has published extensively on the structure and mechanisms of membrane proteins. This includes ion pumps like the sodium-potassium pump, which was discovered by Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou. Professor Nissen also spearheads an internationally recognised research group at Aarhus University that attracts researchers and students from all over the world.

Aarhus University’s rector Brian Bech Nielsen congratulates Professor Nissen on the award:

“The majors Ander Jahre Medical Prize is one of the most eminent honours a researcher within the fields of medicine and molecular biology can achieve. With his groundbreaking research, Poul Nissen has contributed to deepening our understanding of diseases and breakthroughs in their treatment. Over the years, he has made an exemplary contribution and is the kind of researcher who can elevate a whole team of researchers to new heights and generate knowledge that can be reaped for decades. In short, Poul Nissen is in a class of his own – the kind of researcher all universities dream of. We are very proud to have him here at Aarhus University, and we wish him the best of luck as he continues his research.”

Rector Svein Stølen of the University of Oslo also congratulates the recipients of this year’s Anders Jahre prizes.

“I am pleased that the University of Oslo has the honour of conferring this prestigious Scandinavian medical award. The last few years have shown us how crucial medical research is to society, and the prize goes to Poul Nielsen for his excellent basic research.”

The Anders Jahre prizes have been conferred by the University of Oslo since 1960. There are two prizes: the main award and an award conferred on an early career researcher. Professor Nissen received the latter award in 2006. The main award has not been conferred on a researcher from Aarhus University since 1982, when Professor Flemming Kissmeyer-Nielsen was honoured for his research on the immune response in connnection with transplantations.

The award is accompanied by a cash award of NOK 1 million.

See photos from the presentation of the prize in Oslo on 4 November 2021

Read coverage from the University of Oslo: www.uio.no/om/aktuelt/aktuelle-saker/2021/anders-jahres-medisinske-priser-for-2021.html

For further information, please contact

Professor Poul Nissen
DANDRITE/Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
pn@mbg.au.dk - + 45 28 99 22 95