10 May 2023

Three deserving winners of the LEO Foundation Award for 2023, each conducting excellent research into the skin and its diseases, have been presented at the International Societies for Investigative Dermatology (ISID) meeting held in Tokyo, Japan.

The LEO Foundation Award celebrates exceptional contributions to skin research by recognizing three talented young skin researchers each year. The prestigious LEO Foundation Award is given three times annually, one in each of the three regions: the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. However, this year was a special occasion as we had the honor of celebrating all three winners together on stage at an award ceremony during the ISID 2023 meeting held in Tokyo, Japan. An event bringing together talented skin researchers from all corners of the world, making it the perfect platform to acknowledge the contributions of our award winners.

Associate Professor Lavinia Paternoster from the University of Bristol is this year’s Region EMEA winner, William Damsky, who is Assistant Professor at Yale School of Medicine, is the winner in Region Americas, and Laura Mackay, Professor at The University of Melbourne, is the winner in Region Asia-Pacific. These talented individuals have made remarkable strides in their respective areas of skin research, and we are proud to honor them for their outstanding work.

The LEO Foundation Award aims to strengthen the much-needed pipeline of excellent dermatology researchers. In doing so, it recognizes and encourages promising young talents, such as this year’s awardees, and hopefully provides a boost to their future careers. 

Anne-Marie Engel, Chief Scientific Officer at the LEO Foundation, who presented the awards in Tokyo, is very impressed with the level of research presented by this year’s awardees:

“Being a young research talent considered for an award like the LEO Foundation Award is something very special. When you are selected as an award winner, you know that your peers agree on your potential to take your talent and visions further – in this case to the ultimate benefit of patients living with skin diseases. The three awardees for this year have all done truly excellent and ambitious research in each of their respective fields.”

Anne-Marie Engel

The award winners for 2023 

Lavinia Paternoster, Associate Professor at Bristol Medical School in the UK, receives the LEO Foundation Award in Region EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) 2023. Lavinia receives the award – worth USD 100,000 – for her research pushing the boundaries of our knowledge on the important genetic components underlying a number of skin diseases. Lavinia’s work has led to significant breakthroughs in the understanding of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other complex human disorders.

Read more here

William Damsky, Assistant Professor at Yale School of Medicine, USA, receives the LEO Foundation Award in Region Americas. The award – worth USD 100,000 – is given to William for his noteworthy contributions to the understanding of inflammatory skin diseases, as he particularly looks to combat incomplete understanding of the cutaneous diseases Sarcoidosis and Granuloma Annulare (GA).

Read more here

Laura Mackay, Professor at the University of Melbourne, Laboratory Head at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and Theme Leader at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne Australia, receives the LEO Foundation Award in Region Asia-Pacific. Her momentous work within the field of immunological memory earns her this award worth USD 100,000, as she continues to build upon her own research shedding light on how tissue-resident T cells provide first-line defense against infection.

Read more here

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.

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 130 million in grants and awards – in Denmark and all over the world.