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Biomedical study among the Danish research results of the year

Videnskab.dk has just announced the Danish Research Result of the Year 2014. Researchers from the Department of Biomedicine secured a joint second place with their research findings in the field of immunology.

On 12 December the results were published, revealing which research findings the readers of Videnskab.dk had voted for in the Danish Research Result of the Year 2014. Researchers from the Department of Biomedicine received a joint second place for their study of the immune system and was awarded “highly commended”.

In the study, the researchers have for the first time demonstrated how the immune system is activated so that it breaks down bacteria.

"It’s great to get that recognition with a joint second place in the poll, particularly because it is based on what the readers think. Immunology is an incredibly complex subject and it can be difficult to communicate. So we fell so satisfied that we have here nonetheless succeeded in communicating our story beyond the walls of our ‘ivory tower’", says Postdoc Søren E. Degn.

Søren E. Degn and Professor with Special Responsibilities (MSO) Steffen Thiel are primary and last author of the article which was published in the scientific journal PNAS in September 2014. 

The research should ensure new drugs

The new knowledge about the immune system is basic research. The researchers have studied how a part of the immune system known as the complement system functions. The complement system plays an important role in the ability of patients with a weakened immune system to fight infections such as e.g. patients receiving chemotherapy. The complement system is also important in autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

"Erroneous activation or overly strong activation of the complement system is harmful to the body. In other words, the system is a kind of double-edged sword. That is why there are important clinical perspectives. Our research opens up the possibility of manipulating the immune system where it all starts – namely in the complement system. You could say that the complement system is one of the start buttons for the immune system, as it is here that the immune reaction is started,” says Søren E. Degn.

Søren E. Degn is currently Research Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the USA on a Marie Curie fellowship from the EU.

At Videnskab.dk you can read more about the award of the Danish Research Result of the Year (in Danish).

Further information

Postdoc Søren Egedal Degn
Aarhus University, Department of Biomedicine
Mobile: +1-617-505-8126