30 January 2009

Fourteen brilliant researchers

Fourteen researchers from the University of Copenhagen were among the prize winners when Crown Princess Mary and Minister of Technology, Science and Innovation Helge Sander presented this year's EliteForsk research awards at the Glypoteket Museum on Thursday. Of the 45 talented researchers from all over the country receiving the various awards, a third of them are associated with University of Copenhagen.

Marie-Louise Bech Nosch, 39, and Melina Penkowa, 35, were both awarded the major EliteForsk Award of 1.1 million kroner.

Marie-Louise Bech Nosch, PhD, is the director of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Textile Research at the University of Copenhagen's SAXO Institute. She heads a research group that brings together knowledge about textile production from written sources, tools, pictures and preserved textiles. They develop new scientific methods for understanding when the preserved textiles were made, as well as what they were made of. Bech Nosch specialises in the textile terminology of the Bronze Age – a period when social and technological developments both contributed to the creation of new textile terms.

Milena Penkowa, DMSc and PhD, is an associate professor at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen. In her research she concentrates on brain disorders and the effects of serious brain injury and illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and cerebral malaria. Her work consists of tracing the processes that cause tissue damage, degeneration and brain cell death – but her work also maps how the brain repairs itself. Penkowa's work has already resulted in a number of patents for drugs that can primarily be used in the medicinal treatment of brain disorders and injury.

In addition to the two EliteForsk Awards, four PhD students from the University of Copenhagen received 250,000 kroner EliteForsk travel scholarships. Last but not least, eight talented researchers from the University of Copenhagen received the Danish Councils for Independent Research Young Elite Research award of 200,000 kroner. The award is given to talented researchers under the age of 35.