28 July 2023

NNF Challenge Programme grant of DKK 60 awarded to Professor Nikos Hatzakis

Congratulations to Professor Nikos Hatzakis, Department of Chemistry, UCPH - Kemisk Institut, Københavns Universitetwith the prestigious Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Grant for “Center for Optimized Oligo Escape and Control of Disease’  - amount  DKK 59,987,498, a great recognition of his remarkable scientific work. Oligonucleotide pharmaceutics are becoming excellent tools for targeting cancer, muscular and neurological diseases as well as for vaccine production. A major problem that limits their application is that while we have good tools to deliver them to cells only ~5% of the material manages to be released in the cells, the rest remains trapped in endosomes. The scope of the Center for Optimized Oligo Escape and Control of Disease is to firstly understand the mechanism of oligo endosomal escape, and secondly to use this information to increase delivery and consequently target cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We will use sophisticated microscopes to measure their interaction will live cells, AI tools to analyse the data and design and synthesize better DNA and RNA pharmaceutics that escape endosome. The Centre will form a bridge between the University of Copenhagen, Harvard Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital, and Instituto de Medicina Molecular, University of Lisbon.     An additional congratulations to the co-applicants: Maria Carmo-FonsecaInstituto de Medicina Molecular Joao Lobo Antunes, Universidade de Lisboa Tom Kirchhausen, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital Knud J. Jensen, Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen