2 December 2022

This year’s winner of the LEO Foundation Award in the Asia-Pacific Region, Assistant Professor Takashi Sakai, conducts research with the potential to change the lives of the many millions of people around the globe living with atopic dermatitis.  

Assistant Professor Takashi Sakai from Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University in Japan, is the winner of the LEO Foundation Award for the Asia-Pacific region for 2022  

He receives the award – worth USD 100,000 – in recognition of his visionary scientific approach to understanding the triggers and complications of atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a debilitating skin condition that causes inflammation of the skin and affects nearly 20 percent of all people at some point in their life. 

The LEO Foundation Award aims to advance the understanding and treatment of skin diseases through strengthening of the much-needed pipeline of excellent dermatology researchers. In doing so, it recognizes and encourages promising young talents, such as Takashi Sakai, and hopefully provides a boost to their future careers. 

Understanding the biology of atopic dermatitis 

The overarching goal of Takashi Sakai’s research is to understand the biology of atopic dermatitis. This includes finding the triggering factors of the condition and understanding its connection with other diseases such as osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become fragile and more likely to break.  

For Takashi, the LEO Foundation Award plays an important role in leveraging his research and the potential impact: 

”I hope my research will contribute to solutions improving the lives of the many people around the globe suffering from atopic dermatitis on an everyday basis,” he says and continues: “Receiving the LEO Foundation Award means a lot to me, both in terms of international recognition and the financial support it provides to strengthen my research.” 

Chief Scientific Officer at the LEO Foundation, Anne-Marie Engel, is pleased that the Foundation can support Takashi’s work: 

“We are honored to be able to hand over the LEO Foundation Award to such a distinguished, determined and visionary scientist as Takashi Sakai,” says Anne-Marie Engel and continues: 

“Takashi Sakai is exactly the kind of ambitious scientist we wish to support with the LEO Foundation Award. We have no doubt that he will continue to make rapid career progression and provide a significant contribution to biomedical research in the area of atopic dermatitis in the future.”  

Takashi Sakai was announced as the award winner on 2 December 2022 by the President of the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID), Kenji Kabashima, during the JSID 47th Annual Meeting in Nagasaki City, Japan.  

Takashi Sakai

Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University in Japan


Assistant Professor, Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University, Japan.


Guest Scientist, Department of Dermatology and Allergy; Christine Kühne-Center for
Allergy Research and Education (CK-CARE), University Hospital Bonn, Bonn,


Chief Doctor, Dermatology, Oita Prefectural Hospital, Japan.


Assistant Professor, Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Oita University, Japan.


Graduate student, Oita University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.


Medical staff, Oita University and Oita Prefectural Hospital, Japan.

About the LEO Foundation Award  

The LEO Foundation Award – worth USD 100,000 – recognizes outstanding young researchers and scientists from around the world whose work represents an extraordinary contribution to skin research and has the potential to pave the way for new and improved treatments for skin diseases.  

The award is given three times annually, one in each of the three regions: the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. It is granted in open competition with all award applications being evaluated by an independent and international Global Review Panel. The panel members are appointed annually by their respective dermatology societies in the three regions. 

In 2023, all three LEO Foundation Award winners will be presented at the International Societies for Investigative Dermatology (ISID) meeting 10-13 May 2023 in Tokyo, Japan.

DEADLINE for self-nomination: 25 January 2023 (midnight CET)

Apply here

About the LEO Foundation 

The LEO Foundation is one of Denmark’s largest commercial foundations and an engaged majority owner of the pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma. The Foundation’s main objective is to ensure the company’s long-term development and success.  

Besides the ownership, the LEO Foundation provides philanthropic grants with the aim to support the best international research in skin diseases and make Denmark a global beacon for skin research. The Foundation has given more than EUR 120 million in grants and awards – in Denmark and all over the world.