The LEO Foundation Award 2016 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Thomas Wiesner

Amount: DKK 500,000

Presented to Dr. Thomas Wiesner. Dr. Wiesner is breaking new ground to find new mechanism-based cancer therapies. Following medical school, Dr. Wiesner wrote his thesis on the genomic aberrations of cutaneous lymphoma and completed his residency in dermatology at the Medical University of Graz in Austria. Dr. Wiesner spent five years conducting basic and translational research using cutting-edge techniques within high-throughput sequencing techniques in particular. His work within skin cancer research resulted in key discoveries, in particular concerning the genomic landscape of skin tumours.

Based on his experience as a physician-scientist and his access to high-quality clinical samples, Dr. Wiesner plans to combine high-throughput sequencing technologies, computational approaches and functional assays in order to define the relevant genomic and epigenomic aberrations in skin cancer and pave the way for new mechanism-based cancer therapies.

The LEO Foundation Award 2016 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Amaya Virós

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Presented to Dr. Virós who has made important contributions to the area of skin research by describing mechanisms behind the development of squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. She has published in top-ranking scientific journals and received a number of prestigious awards, including a recent Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinician Scientist Fellowship to set up her laboratory at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute in the newly-built Manchester Cancer Research Centre, UK, which is based at The University of Manchester.

Dr. Virós will focus her future research on the under-researched area of skin cancer and ageing. Ageing skin appears to have unique properties and patterns of tumour development that may explain the surprising increase in aggressive primary melanoma and mortality from this disease. Her aim is to identify the factors in elderly people that make them more prone to developing melanoma and less likely to survive once they develop the disease.

The LEO Foundation Award 2016 – Silver Award to young scientist in Japan

Grantee: Dr. Yu Sawada, research fellow, Department of Dermatology, Kyoto University and assistant professor, University of Environmental and Medical Health, Kitakyushu

Amount: DKK 250,000

The LEO Foundation has offered the LEO Foundation Silver Award 2016 to Yu Sawada for his pioneering dermatological research. The award has been bestowed in collaboration with the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID).

The award ceremony took place in Sendai, Japan, at the 41st annual conference of JSID on 11 December 2016.

Dr. Yu Sawada currently holds the position as a research fellow at the Department of Dermatology in Kyoto University and assistant professor at the University of Environmental and Medical Health in Kitakyushu. Dr. Sawada’s research focuses on establishing and implementing a new therapeutic paradigm for the improvement of inflammatory skin diseases through medical treatment in combination with specific lifestyle alterations such as diet, sleep and physical exercise.

The LEO Foundation Award 2016 – Gold Award to young scientist in Japan

Grantee: Dr. Ayumi Yoshizaki, lecturer and independent researcher, Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

Amount: DKK 500,000

The LEO Foundation has offered the LEO Foundation Gold Award 2016 to Ayumi Yoshizaki for his pioneering dermatological research. The award has been bestowed in collaboration the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology (JSID).

The award ceremony took place in Sendai, Japan, at the 41st annual conference of JSID on 11 December 2016.

Dr. Ayumi Yoshizaki is a lecturer and an independent researcher in the field of dermatological autoimmune diseases based at Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo. Dr. Yoshizaki has his own research group, an impressive list of publications and is well acknowledged by the Japanese dermatological and scientific communities. His future research is focused on autoimmune diseases related to the skin, particularly systemic sclerosis (SSc). His lab uses highly innovative techniques to explore the role of auto-reactive B cells in SSc at the single cell level. He is a rising star that very well could establish himself as a leader in his field globally.

The LEO Foundation Award 2015 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Kilian Eyerich

Amount: DKK 500,000

Presented to Dr. Kilian Eyerich, Assistant Professor, Experimental Dermato-Immunology, School of Medicine, Technische Universität München, Germany.

Early in his career, Dr. Eyerich studied the cross-talk between keratinocytes and T cells usingco-cultures.His work on the role of Th17 and Th22 cells in the skin has significantly enhanced molecular understanding of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Dr. Eyerich has identified a unique group of patients with co-existing inflammatory skin diseases and demonstrated the mutual antagonism of T cells causing atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

The LEO Foundation Award 2015 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Nicola Segata

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Presented to Dr. Nicola Segata, Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator, Laboratory of Computational Metagenomics, Centre for Integrative Biology, University of Trento, Italy.

Dr. Segata has pioneered novel advanced techniques for the characterisation of the microorganisms colonising the human body (the microbiome). His discoveries have proven to be crucial in studying microbial communities and unravelling the structure of the human skin microbiome. The characterisation of the microbiome is a fast-growing research field because it plays an important role in many pathological conditions, including skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis and rosacea.

The LEO Foundation Award 2014 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Christina Zielinski

Amount: DKK 500,000

Presented to Dr. med. Christina Zielinski, research group leader and dermatological fellow, Department of Dermatology and Allergology and Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, Charité University Medicine, Berlin.

Dr. Zielinski’s research focuses on how the body’s immune system protects itself from microbial assault by distinguishing between the body’s own cells and foreign organisms. It examines what happens when the body does not regulate itself in this way and how this affects the development of autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. Insights gained from these studies are expected to identify molecular cues that can be exploited in order to develop immune modulation therapies.

The LEO Foundation Award 2014 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Kim B. Jensen

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Presented to Ph.D. Kim B. Jensen, associate professor at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Copenhagen.

Dr. Jensen’s research focuses on how the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, is constantly renewed throughout life in an organised manner by epidermal stem cells. Epidermal stem cells need to be carefully controlled as any imbalance is likely to have devastating consequences. Too little contribution from the stem cells can lead to bleeding ulcers, whereas too much contribution can lead to skin cancer. By examining how stem cells are regulated in the epidermis, Jensen hopes to gain insights into mechanisms responsible for disease development and identify new drugable pathways.

The LEO Foundation Award 2013 – Silver Award

Grantee: Dr. Muzlifah Haniffa

Amount: DKK 500,000

Presented to Muzlifah Haniffa, Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow in Dermatology at the Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, UK.

Dr. Haniffa’s research focuses on dendritic cells; a type of white blood cells also present in the skin that are important in regulating immune responses against microorganisms, cancer and tolerance to self-proteins. Her research has the potential to lead to enhanced vaccination strategies against cancer, such as melanoma, and infections.

The LEO Foundation Award 2013 – Gold Award

Grantee: Dr. Onur Boyman

Amount: DKK 1,000,000

Presented to Onur Boyman, Professor, Dr. med., Senior Consultant Physician and Head of Laboratory at the Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Zurich.

Professor Boyman’s research focuses on the function of T cell subsets and different cytokines in the pathogenesis of psoriasis and other immune-mediated diseases and the treatment of melanoma. His research shows great promise both as a potential treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and as a potential cancer therapy.