Professor Poul Nissen from PROMEMO is awarded the Anders Jahre Medical Prize 2021

15. June 2021

An understanding of the structure and function of the membrane proteins is crucial for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric disorders. Professor Poul Nissen, from the Center of Excellence PROMEMO at Aarhus University, has dedicated a large part of his career to studying these proteins and has now been honored with the Anders Jahre Medical Prize 2021 for his groundbreaking research in this field.

Professor Poul Nissen.
Professor Poul Nissen. Photo: The Carlsberg Foundation.

A better understanding of the membrane proteins can lead to an improved treatment of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric disorders. In short, these proteins, which are present in cell membranes in the human body, are central to the functioning of the nervous system and play a role in muscle contraction. Professor Poul Nissen, from the DNRF’s Center for Proteins in Memory (PROMEMO), has been awarded the prestigious Anders Jahre Medical Prize 2021 for his groundbreaking research in this field.

“I am utterly overwhelmed by receiving the 2021 Anders Jahre Medical Prize; it’s a major and distinguished recognition of our research on the structure and mechanisms of membrane transport in cells, and I’m deeply grateful. Our research builds on many fruitful collaborations and contacts from the last 20 years,” said Professor Nissen.

The membrane proteins have important functions

Professor Nissen is one of the leading structural biologists in Scandinavia, where his studies of membrane proteins have been widely acknowledged. The body’s cells are surrounded by membranes with fat, which creates a barrier on the outside. Inside the cells are areas separated by the fat membranes, and that is where the membrane proteins are found. The membrane proteins have many important functions; for example, because of them, our hearts beat, and we are able to run and walk.

“With his groundbreaking research, Poul Nissen has contributed to deepening our understanding of diseases and breakthroughs in their treatment. Over the years, he has made an exemplary contribution and is the kind of researcher who can elevate a whole team of researchers to new heights and generate knowledge that can be reaped for decades,” said Rector Brian Bech Nielsen from Aarhus University

The Anders Jahre prizes have been awarded by the University of Oslo since 1960 and consist of a main prize as well as a prize for younger researchers, a prize Professor Nissen also received in 2006.

From 2007-2017 Professor Poul Nissen was the head of the Center of Excellence PUMPkin, the Center for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease, at Aarhus University. Today, he is a partner in the Center for Proteins in Memory (PROMEMO) led by Professor Anders Nykjær

You can read more about Professor Nissen’s research and the prize here

More information about PROMEMO here