Four prominent Swedish researchers are the first Wallenberg Clinical Scholars

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is investing almost SEK 600 million over a ten-year period in the research programme Wallenberg Clinical Scholars. The first researchers to receive funding are: Peter Andersen, Umeå University, Anna Wedell, Karolinska Institutet, and David Erlinge and Martin L. Olsson, both at Lund University.

The aim of the programme is to strengthen Swedish clinical research by means of identifying the best clinical researchers, providing them with good conditions to undertake their work, and facilitate the impact of research results in the scientific and healthcare communities.

– Swedish clinical research does not have the same high international impact it once used to have. In order to turn this situation around, we need to invest in the best clinical researchers. Clinical research constitutes an important link between basic research and patient-oriented, clinical, activities. Clinicians initiate new research questions grounded in everyday clinical practice and ensure that new scientific knowledge is promptly implemented in healthcare, says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chairman of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

The programme was launched in 2014 and today the first Wallenberg Clinical Scholars are announced; the four researchers are among the best in the world in their respective fields.

Peter Andersen, Senior Physician and Professor of Neurology at Umeå University, has discovered how certain proteins aggregate into lumps in the nerve cells of individuals suffering from ALS. The hope is to find a therapy that can slow down the deadly disease.

Anna Wedell, Senior Physician and Professor of Medical Genetics at Karolinska Institutet. Approximately one in every two thousand children is born with a metabolic disorder, which often leads to brain damage. Wedell has identified the molecular foundations for several of these diseases.

David Erlinge, Senior Physician and Professor of Cardiology at Lund University, strives to prevent heart attacks and reduce mortality rates. Among other things, Erlinge maps molecular mechanisms behind arteriosclerosis. He will also study new innovate treatments that can prevent heart attacks and reduce mortality rates.

Martin L. Olsson,Senior Physician and Professor of Transfusion Medicine at Lund University, has discovered novel blood group systems and will continue his research into blood types and red blood cells. Olsson will also investigate how different viruses and parasites, such as HIV and malaria, use blood group molecules to infect the blood.

The programme provides funding for 25 of the country’s foremost clinical researchers and will run for ten years. The estimated value of the initiative is SEK 600 million and each grantee receives SEK 15 million over a five-year period, with a possible extension of five years.

Wallenberg Clinical Scholars is part of a ten-year initiative amounting to a total of SEK 1.7 billion, undertaken by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation to strengthen medical research and the life sciences.