The LEO Foundation Award 2023 – Region Asia-Pacific

Grantee: Dr. Laura Mackay, Professor, The University of Melbourne

Amount: USD 100,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2023

Geography: Australia

Dr. Laura Mackay is a Professor at The University of Melbourne in Australia.

She receives the award for her momentous work within the field of immunological memory, as she continues to build upon her own research shedding light on how tissue-resident T cells provide first-line defense against infection.

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The LEO Foundation Award 2023 – Region EMEA

Grantee: Dr. Lavinia Paternoster, Associate Professor, University of Bristol

Amount: USD 100,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2023

Geography: United Kingdom

Dr. Lavinia Paternoster is Associate Professor at the University of Bristol in the UK.

She receives the award for her research pushing the boundaries of our knowledge on the genetic landscape of skin diseases. Lavinia Paternoster’s work has led to significant breakthroughs in the understanding of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other complex human disorders.

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The LEO Foundation Award 2023 – Region Americas

Grantee: Dr. William Damsky, Assistant Professor, Yale University

Amount: USD 100,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2023

Geography: USA

Dr. William Damsky is Assistant Professor at Yale School of Medicine in the US.

He receives the award for his noteworthy contributions to the understanding of inflammatory skin diseases, as he particularly looks to expand our presently incomplete understanding of the cutaneous diseases Sarcoidosis and Granuloma Annulare (GA).

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2023 ISID Travel Award Grants

Grantee: International Society for Investigative Dermatology

Amount: USD 200,000

Grant category: Research Networking

Year: 2023

Geography: USA

In connection with the inaugural ISID meeting in Japan 2023, approximately 2000 skin researchers and clinicians from around the world will be in attendance. Travel Award Grants allow young investigators to apply for a Travel Award from their region, with the potential to receive USD 2000 to cover a significant proportion of airfare, hotel and food expenses connected with attendance of ISID 2023.

About the ISID

‘The ambitious mission of the ISID is to unite all organizations of scientists dedicated to investigative dermatology and cutaneous biology with the purpose of encouraging and facilitating collaboration and to jointly sponsor and support an international, abstract driven, peer reviewed scientific meeting every 5 years.’

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Confocal laser scanning microscope

Grantee: Thomas Bjarnsholt, University of Copenhagen

Amount: DKK 5,894,893

Grant category: Standalone grants

Year: 2023

Geography: Denmark

The Costerton Biofilm Center (CBC) at Department of Immunology and Microbiology (ISIM), University of Copenhagen, is a world-leading interdisciplinary research center dedicated to exploring chronic infections caused by bacteria, including skin infections. The center runs two infrastructure facilities which are open to external users from basic, clinical, and industrial research. 

There is an urgent need in the center’s Biofilm Test Facility to replace an outdated confocal laser scanning microscope which can no longer be serviced. The grant from the LEO Foundation therefore hopes to provide this upgrade, the microscope a critical tool in the CBC’s pioneering work on understanding how the ability of bacteria to form biofilm is key to addressing antimicrobial resistance and developing novel antibacterial treatments.  

6th JSID Summer School (Aoba Juku)

Grantee: Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology

Amount: EUR 15,000

Grant category: Research Networking

Year: 2023

Geography: Japan

Since 2017, the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID) has held a two-day event named Aoba Juku focused on attracting young medical doctors to science. Aoba is the Japanese word for fresh green leaves, representative of the young attendees who absorb energy and who grow rapidly. 

The Summer School aims to train talented and enthusiastic young doctors as dermatological researchers. To further strengthen dermatological research activity in a clinical setting, it is an indispensable event for recruiting talented doctors to the field.

About JSID

The mission of the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID) is to advance the position of dermatology in the interdisciplinary world and to enhance the quality of science and research presentations in dermatology for the purposes of maintaining healthy skin and further advancing the treatment of skin diseases.

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ISID Young Investigator Collegiality Event

Grantee: International Society for Investigative Dermatology

Amount: USD 40,000

Grant category: Research Networking

Year: 2023

Geography: USA

The Young Investigator Collegiality Event is held in connection with ISID 2023 in Tokyo – and seeks to support the meaningful connections that take place at this meeting. The Young Investigator Collegiality Event is held at a popular Tokyo venue, and aims to facilitate connections amongst individuals of diverse scientific and geographic backgrounds, in an effort to build the skin biology community and foster multidisciplinary collaboration.

About the ISID

‘The ambitious mission of the ISID is to unite all organizations of scientists dedicated to investigative dermatology and cutaneous biology with the purpose of encouraging and facilitating collaboration and to jointly sponsor and support an international, abstract driven, peer reviewed scientific meeting every 5 years.’

More information

Global Psoriasis Atlas Phase III (2023-2026)

Grantee: Professor Chris Griffiths, University of Manchester

Amount: DKK 11,160,157

Grant category: Standalone grants

Year: 2023

Geography: United Kingdom

Psoriasis is a life-long and currently incurable immune-mediated skin disease affecting more than 60 million people worldwide. In addition to its cutaneous, stigmatizing manifestations, the disease is associated with other major medical conditions including depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer and can be construed as life-ruining. As such it represents a significant public health challenge. Despite remarkable advances in treatment options in some parts of the world, psoriasis continues to affect the quality of life of patients and impact health economics negatively.

GPA Phase III (2023-2026)

The GPA Phase III is focused on continued improvement of the understanding of the epidemiology of psoriasis and its incidence and prevalence at the global level. This third phase aims to build upon the previous achievements of the GPA Phase II. Here ambitions include:

  • An extensive update to the GPA’s large international dataset to create and launch edition 3 of the GPA.
  • To strengthen collaboration with the dermatology work stream of the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD).
  • To conduct new epidemiological studies to enhance the GPA.
  • To conduct new studies to improve knowledge about the comorbid disease burden of psoriasis.

Background

With a mission to ‘ensure that people with psoriasis, wherever they live in the world, have access to the best available care’, Professor Griffiths and the University of Manchester initiated the development of a Global Psoriasis Atlas in 2016. The GPA is a long-term iterative project, which was initiated in close collaboration with the WHO and international dermatology and psoriasis organisations. 

The LEO Foundation has been main funder of the development of the 1st edition of the GPA through a 3-year grant of DKK 6,370,000 from 2017 – 2020. The GPA project has in its first period (GPA Phase I) focused on research into the global prevalence and incidence of psoriasis – with the 1st edition of the GPA website launched on World Psoriasis Day 29 October 2019.

The LEO Foundation was also the main sponsor of GPA phase II, with a three-year grant of DKK 8,000,000 from 2020-2022. In this phase, the atlas-initiative has had a special focus on increasing its global outreach, including studies of psoriasis in Latin America, Malaysia, and Taiwan as well as on increasing and validating data on the association of psoriasis and cancer. Another important element of Phase II was to design and test a clinical diagnostic tool for health-care professionals globally, taking into account the different expressions of the disease, depending on skin colour. 

Visit the GPA website.

The LEO Foundation Award 2022 – Region Asia-Pacific

Grantee: Dr. Takashi Sakai, Assistant Professor, Oita University

Amount: USD 100,000

Grant category: LEO Foundation Awards

Year: 2022

Geography: Japan

Dr. Takashi Sakai is Assistant Professor at the Department of Dermatology at Oita University, Japan.

He receives the award 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.

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Deciphering the mechanisms of sebaceous gland stem cell renewal and differentiation

Grantee: Catherin Niemann, Principal Investigator, University of Cologne

Amount: DKK 2,594,340

Grant category: Research grants in open competition

Year: 2022

Geography: Germany

The aim of Catherin Niemann’s project is to understand the biologic events during sebaceous gland differentiation, tissue remodeling, and regeneration.

Sebaceous glands (SGs) are critical for the physiological balance and barrier function of mammalian skin. SG dysfunction is associated with a variety of skin diseases, including acne. Despite recent advances using mutant mouse models with SG defects, the main drivers of normal SG functions remain incompletely understood. Therefore, a better understanding of how SG physiology and sebum production (an oily mixture produced by sebocytes, cells of the sebaceous gland) are regulated, is a clinical necessity.

Using both in vivo and in vitro models, Catherin’s project will focus on the regulation of SG stem cells, which are the primary responders to stimuli at the interface with the tissue environment. In vivo, Catherin and her team will use a combination of genetic mouse models and high throughput technologies to identify key players controlling normal SG activity. In vitro, the team has developed a 3D cell culture model that will be modelled to mimic SG differentiation to uncover and validate the central mechanisms of SG regulation. This SG-organoid model will be especially beneficial to decipher the specific role of extra-cellular matrix components in SG physiology and to examine the interaction with other cell types, including immune cells, for their impact on SG cell differentiation and contribution to SG defects in disease settings.

The long-term goal of the project is to establish a platform for testing new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of SG disorders.