20 December 2021

Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas awarded LF professorship research grant of 28 Million DKK

The Lundbeck Foundation has awarded its 2021 LF Professorships to six projects representing brain research with “ground-breaking potential”. Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas, professor, Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen, has received a Lundbeck Foundation LF Professorships research grant worth DKK 28,717,253.

Mitochondrial DNA damage as cause of dementia?

Chronic progressive brain illnesses, including neurodegenerative diseases of aging, pose an enormous global burden, with immense economic, societal, and personal costs. Parkinsonian disorders, such as Parkinson disease (PD), multiple system atrophy, and dementia with Lewy bodies, constitute the second largest subgroup of neurodegenerative diseases, with PD alone affecting more than 6 million people worldwide—a value that is expected to double over the next generation

Professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas
Professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas. Image: Thomas Tolstrup, Lundbeck Foundation.

Professor Issazadeh-Navikas’ research focuses among other things on mitochondrial DNA damage, i.e. damage to the genetic material in the “energy factories” of our cells. The overarching aim of the research program is to identify novel damaged mitochondrial DNA sequences and examine the molecular pathways that disseminate the pathology in neurons leading to dementia:

"Based on our new discoveries, we hypothesize that defects in immune and anti-viral genes causes disturbances in mitochondrial function, the powerhouse of all cells particularly in neurons. This in turn can cause damages to mitochondrial DNA sequence, and hence neuron cell death leading to dementia, Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas

Professor Issazadeh-Navikas is pleased and grateful for receiving the large grant:

"The received Lundbeck Foundation Professorship grant is essential to enable my research team to focus on and sustain high risk but high gain basic and translational research, and thereby to understand the reasons behind development of disabling neurodegenerative diseases of the aging population.  The Lundbeck Foundation Professorship will support our Danish neuroscience research to maintain an international high impact edge which is indispensable for novel discoveries in the field with hope to find new targets for treatment or prevention of these progressive diseases causing dementia".

About the LF Professorships

Every second year, the Lundbeck Foundation awards a number of grants under the LF Professorships programme for neuroscience projects. Applicants for an LF Professorship need to be conducting research at professorship level at a non-commercial Danish research institution – in practice, a hospital or university – and they can apply for up to DKK 40 million, to be paid out over a period of six years.

This year six researchers are awarded LF Professorships for a total of DKK 177 million. The projects that have been selected by a panel of international peers represent a broad array of key neuroscience topics, from questions about how Parkinson’s disease is actually caused to which role the neurotransmitter and reward chemical dopamine plays in both behaviour and brain disease.

Read press release from the Lundbeck Foundation