Targeting Aberrant STAT3 Signaling in CTCL

Grantee: Sergei Koralov, Associate Professor, NYU Langone, NY, USA

Amount: DKK 2,676,248

Summary available soon.

Global Psoriasis Atlas Phase II (GPA 2020-2023)

Grantee: Professor Chris Griffiths, University of Manchester, UK

Amount: DKK 8,000,000

Psoriasis is a significant, life-long and currently incurable skin disease, which, according to the first edition of the Global Psoriasis Atlas (GPA), affects at least 60 million people worldwide.

The need to understand and uncover how psoriasis impacts both the individual and society at large is in demand. The Global Psoriasis Atlas is a long-term project that seeks to become the ‘go-to’ evidence-based resource within the understanding of psoriasis and its effects on people and society all over the World.

GPA Phase II (2020-2023)

The GPA Phase II  is focused on continued research to establish robust data that address existing knowledge gaps within psoriasis on epidemiology, improving diagnosis, comorbid disease and economic impact.

Furthermore, if sufficient and robust data are available, the plan is to perform a pilot implementation study as part of GPA Phase II.

Addressing these key areas and how they differ between countries and regions will support the aim to provide better access to care for people with psoriasis worldwide.


With a mission to ‘ensure that people with psoriasis, wherever they live in the world, have access to the best available care. The grant for the first version of the GPA was granted to Professor Griffiths and the University of Manchester in 2016.

The LEO Foundation has been main funder of the development of the first edition of the GPA through a 3-year grant of DKK 6,370,000 from 2017 – 2020. The GPA project has in its first three years focused on research into the global prevalence and incidence of psoriasis – resulting in the first edition of the GPA website which can be accessed free of charge here: Global Psoriasis Atlas online

The LEO Foundation Award 2020 – Region EMEA

Grantee: Dr. Ning Xu Landén

Amount: USD 100,000

Ning Xu Landén is an Associate Professor in experimental dermatology and venereology at the Department of Medicine, Solna at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden where she leads a successful research group. She is the author of around 50 scientific articles with more than 3000 citations.

Ning Xu Landén receives the award in recognition of her high impact research in wound healing.

Read more

The LEO Foundation Award 2020 – Region Americas

Grantee: Dr. Ya-Chieh Hsu

Amount: USD 100,000

Ya-Chieh Hsu is the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor at the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.

Ya-Chieh Hsu receives the award in recognition of her research achievements in studying cell-cell interactions and how systemic changes in the body influence these interactions in the skin.

Read more

The LEO Foundation Award 2019 – Region Asia Pacific

Grantee: Dr. Tetsuro Kobayashi

Amount: USD 100,000

Dr. Tetsuro Kobayashi is a Research Scientist at the Laboratory for Innate Immune Systems, RIKEN, Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS), Yokohama, Japan.

Dr. Tetsuro Kobayashi receives the award for his research in understanding the interaction between microbes and the immune system in skin.

Read more

The LEO Foundation Award 2019 – Region EMEA

Grantee: Dr. Shoba Amarnath

Amount: USD 100,000

Shoba Amarnath is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University, UK

She receives 100,000 USD for her research in the field of immune tolerance in cutaneous inflammation.

Read more

The LEO Foundation Award 2019 – Region Americas

Grantee: Maksim Plikus

Amount: USD 100,000

Maksim Plikus is Associate Professor at the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, USA

He receives 100,000 USD for his research in skin stem cells and regeneration.

Read more

Unge Forskere (Young Scientists) 2019-2021

Grantee: Mikkel Bohm, ASTRA, Sorø, Denmark

Amount: DKK 6,000,000

Science is a powerful tool to understand and change the world for the better. The national Centre for Learning in Science, Technology and Health in Denmark – Astra* – wants to strengthen and develop science learning to train a new generation of young people with strong science competencies. It is important for the future of Denmark and our role in a globalized world.

One of Astra*’s activities is Unge Forskere (Young Scientists) which is Denmark’s largest talent competition for children from Danish elementary schools and high schools within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

The Unge Forskere-competition contributes to both talent development through participation in the competition, and it strengthens the work with innovation, idea development and the natural science method in daily teaching. It is a program that focuses both on the most talented young people, and generally strengthens the natural science identity and general science education among children and young people in Denmark.

Unveiling AMBRA1 as a prognostic biomarker in in vivo pre-clinical models of cutaneous melanoma

Grantee: Daniela De Zio, Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark

Amount: DKK 2,900,000

The survival rate of patients with advanced melanoma has improved in recent years due to the clinical application of immune checkpoint inhibitors, as well as kinase inhibitors in BRAF/RAS-mutated melanoma cases.

However, melanoma remains a fatal diagnosis as a consequence of emerging resistance mechanisms and the absence of reliable biomarkers that identify high-risk tumour subsets, therefore impacting the stratification of these subsets for novel adjuvant therapies.

In the search for novel oncosuppressors that are altered in melanoma, we have found a promising candidate in the protein called AMBRA1. AMBRA1 has a fundamental role in the positive regulation of autophagy – a process which can elicit both pro- and anti-tumorigenic roles. Additionally, AMBRA1 finely modulates other crucial oncogenic processes, such as cell proliferation, cell invasion, and cell death.

Our preliminary research in a mouse model of melanoma has proven Ambra1 to be a crucial oncosuppressor, whose expression has been found highly altered in a number of human melanoma cells. Thus, by applying melanoma cell and mouse models in combination with systems biology approaches and state-of-the-art technologies, we aim to decipher the response of Ambra1-deficient melanomas to the current therapies.

Moreover, we will investigate the role of Ambra1 in regulating lipid metabolism in melanoma, which has recently been shown to profoundly affect its progression. Additionally, our aim is to assess the prognostic relevance of AMBRA1 in human cohorts of melanoma patients and understand whether AMBRA1 expression correlates with disease progression and whether it influences treatment.

Outcomes from this project will pave the way for novel clinical insight into the prognosis and treatment of melanoma patients.

This project is co-supported by a Young Investigator award from the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) in the USA of 224,500 USD (

Heritability of dermoscopic patterns in melanocytic naevi; a twin study

Grantee: Emmanouil Chousakos, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Amount: DKK 40,400

It is of the utmost importance for diagnosing melanoma on an early stage to identify high risk population groups, which will subsequently receive special screening and follow-up for their melanocytic lesions.

Managing patients with multiple naevi, including atypical mole syndrome patients, can be challenging for the clinicians, despite the introduction of dermoscopy, digital dermoscopy mapping and full body imaging in the everyday clinical practice.

The goal of this study is to prove the heritability of the dermoscopic pattern of melanocytic naevi. Evidence of a strong relation between the genome and the dermoscopic, hence histopathological image can be the fundament of a comparative approach among members of the same family in terms of evaluating their melanocytic lesions and their malignant potential. With this approach we will be able to establish a familial profile of the lesions.