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Stem cell research on aging, health, and disease gets a funding boost from the Swedish Research Council

Photo of a persons hand holding pipette samples.

Eight researchers from Lund Stem Cell Center at Lund University have been awarded 41.4 million SEK in the latest announcements from the Swedish Research Council. This funding will support biomedical research on aging, health, disease, and bioengineering over the next several years.

Stem cells are the building blocks of modern medicine and hold the key to tackling some of the most complex diseases of our time - from lung disease to neurological disorders to cancer. After decades of research, scientists are now reaching milestones that previously seemed impossible, with the rate of discoveries seemingly on the rise. 

Funding for biomedical research is an opportunity to keep this pace, providing the foundation for which new, innovative discoveries can be made and ensuring patients remain at the center of these research efforts.

In Sweden, the Swedish Research Council is a primary source of public funding for tomorrow's cures. In their latest grant announcements, eight researchers from Lund Stem Cell Center at Lund University were awarded 41.4 million SEK, giving significant funding support to ground-breaking research in the areas of medicine and health, and natural and engineering sciences.

Two young researchers set out to seek new insights into age-related diseases 

Two young researchers, with their sights set on better understanding the disease mechanisms behind age-related illnesses, were each awarded a 6 million SEK starting grant, allowing them to establish themselves as independent researchers in Sweden and advance their research forward.

Photo of Alessandro at a microscope.
Alessandro Fiorenzano

”I am delighted and honored to have received this award from the Swedish Research Council,” revealed Alessandro Fiorenzano, postdoctoral researcher within the Developmental and Regenerative Neurobiology research group, led by Professor Malin Parmar.

“This undoubtedly marks a turning point in my academic career and will bring me one step closer to realizing my goal of developing an innovative research line and leading an independent research group,” continued Alessandro.

The funding received from the Swedish Research Council will go towards his research, ‘mapping human dopamine neuron diversity at single-cell resolution for improved stem cell therapy in Parkinson's disease.’ 

“I am very much looking forward to getting the project underway. The use of human stem cell-based models, including human brain organoids and cell transplantation, will further the efforts of the scientific community to unravel the complexity of dopamine neurons, driving advancements in stem cell-based treatments in Parkinson´s disease,” revealed Alessandro.

Portrait of Els Mansell
Els Mansell

Another young researcher from Lund Stem Cell Center to be awarded a starting grant is Els Mansell, an assistant researcher and member of the Stem Cell Laboratory led by Tariq Enver, guest researcher at Lund University and Professor at University Colleague London’s Cancer Institute, and an associate member of the Stem Cell Regulators research group led by Professor Jonas Larsson.

“Receiving this starting grant is a huge honor. I am especially excited to learn that an expert panel thinks that my research line is worth pursuing further and would like to thank everyone that has helped me along the way,” expressed Els.

With the aid of this funding, Els will be able to further investigate and explore ‘mitochondrial metabolism as a druggable driver of stem cell fate in aging and disease.’ Research that could one day lead to the development of a therapeutic target for the treatment of age-associated diseases.

Funding for basic science research with potential for clinical applications

An additional six research initiatives led by established researchers at Lund Stem Cell Center will also move forward thanks to funding from the Swedish Research Council.

These initiatives seek to advance our understanding of the human brain and immune system and explore various facets of aging, health, and disease. Each with the promise of innovative potential that can inform and guide the development of novel cell-based therapies — for everything from the treatment of specific diseases to improving the functionality of donor lungs—or even the eventual 3D-printing of organs like the lung, in the future.

Starting Grant Recipients:

  • Alessandro Fiorenzano | Mapping human dopamine neuron diversity at single-cell resolution for improved stem cell therapy in Parkinson's disease (6 million SEK)
  • Els Mansell | Mitochondrial metabolism: a druggable driver of stem cell fate in aging and disease (6 million SEK)

Project Grant Recipients:

About the Swedish Research Council

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, VR) is a government agency within the Ministry of Education and Research. It is the largest public funding body for research at Swedish universities and higher education institutions and awards almost 8 billion SEK per year to fund Swedish research within all scientific disciplines by issuing calls for grant applications in open competition.

The Swedish Research Council also serves as an advisor to the Government on research policy issues and works to increase understanding of the long-term societal benefits of research.

To see the full list of awarded projects from the Swedish Research Council, click here.