Björkén Prize goes to Lena Claesson-Welsh and Dan I Andersson
Dan I Andersson, Professor of Medical Bacteriology, and Lena Claesson-Welsh, Professor at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, are the joint recipients of the 2023 Björkén Prize. The prize is one of Uppsala University’s top scholarly awards for outstanding research.
Dan I Andersson conducts internationally leading research on the dynamics and mechanisms behind the development of bacterial antibiotic resistance. His research on the variability and stability of the bacterial genome reveals how favourable genes can be amplified and how selection pressures can lead to compensatory genetic mutations and even the evolution of new genes. These pioneering discoveries have also increased our understanding of horizontal gene transfer and the occurrence of and mechanisms behind heteroresistance in bacteria populations. In combination, this knowledge is invaluable for an ability to understand how to slow the increase of antibiotic resistance. His success in bringing researchers together in a cross-disciplinary antibiotic centre has contributed to Uppsala University’s prominent position in antibiotic research.
Lena Claesson-Welsh is an internationally leading researcher in vascular biology. She has made groundbreaking discoveries relating to growth factors and signalling pathways that regulate the formation of new blood vessels and how the permeability of blood vessels can be regulated in both sickness and health. Her research seeks to understand the causes of vascular leakage and the molecules that regulate it and to find ways to block vascular leakage in connection with cancer and retinopathies. She has identified mechanisms that underlie the development of new therapies that can slow the progress of these diseases. Lena Claesson-Welsh’s work has deepened our understanding of the principles of vascular biology, paving the way for important medical breakthroughs.
The Björkén Prize
First awarded in 1902, the Björkén Prize is conferred alternately in four different fields. The category for the prize in 2023 is “Theoretical disciplines of medical sciences”. Prize winners are chosen by the University Board, and the prize money this year amounts to just over SEK 300,000.