Seven Uppsala researchers receive excellent medicine prizes

30 July 2019

Lina Bergman, Anahita Hamidi, Henrik Isackson, Mark Richards, Gull Rukh, Xiao Tan and Johan Virhammar at Uppsala University have been honoured by the Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF) with one of Sweden’s most coveted awards for young, especially promising researchers.

SSMF awarded the scholarship holders SEK 850,000 for two years of full-time research and SEK 658,000 SEK for two years at half time. In 2019 the total support provided to young medical researchers by SSMF amounted to more than SEK 70 million. The 26 scholarship holders come from four different higher education institutions.

While most organisations that fund medical research support research in only a particular area, SSMF-supported researchers cover both major diseases and many other important, but less noted, diseases.

The seven researchers at Uppsala University describe their respective projects here.

Lina Bergman, Center for Clinical Research Dalarna and the Department of Women’s and Children's Health:

“I want to increase knowledge about the complications that occur in the heart and brain in toxaemia of pregnancy (preeclampsia) using diagnostic imaging, blood flow studies, experiments in the laboratory and blood tests. I hope to identify new markers in blood tests, both to predict and to diagnose complications of preeclampsia.”


Anahita Hamidi, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology:

“I want to gain new insights into the process that occurs in hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and describe its potential therapeutic relevance and impact of the disease development. In particular, I will study what are known as mesenchymal cells, which regulate plaque that can cause chronic inflammation in the vessel wall.”


Henry Isackson, Department of Medical Cell Biology:

“I will examine how the angiotensin hormone affects the heart’s ability to perform the contractions of heart muscle filaments. This new knowledge will enable the development of a more specific treatment for heart failure, fewer side effects and greater understanding of how the cardiac muscle cell increases its contractile ability.”


Mark Richards, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology:

“I am investigating the proteins that regulate vascular leakage positively or negatively in health and disease. The goal is to understand how the leakage is regulated and whether it is possible to plug leaky vessels by focusing treatment on key proteins and thereby increasing the effectiveness of treatment – in the case of cancer, for example.”


Gull Rukh, Department of Neuroscience:

“I am going to use brain imaging to investigate how the brain of a teenager with anorexia nervosa is different from a healthy teenager’s brain before and after cognitive therapy.
“The research may help shorten the course of the disease and reduce the disease’s negative effects on private life and society.”


Xiao Tan, Department of Neuroscience:

“I want to examine the effect of aerobic exercise compared to cognitive behavioural therapy on sleep disorders in patients with type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep in patients impairs metabolic functions, which in turn may worsen the condition. I hope to design a treatment that effectively improves both sleep and the control of blood sugar in patients.”


Johan Virhammar, Department of Neuroscience:

“I will study the incidence of biological markers in both cerebrospinal fluid and by analysing MRI scans of the brain in case of normal pressure hydrocephalus, also called water on the brain. The results may lead to improved diagnostics and prognoses and a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the disease.”



The Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF) is a non-profit organisation founded in 1919 that supports research on virtually all diseases – both major widespread diseases and less common, but equally important ones. In 2018 SSMF distributed SEK 81.8 million for medical research.


Subscribe to the Uppsala University newsletter

Last modified: 2022-12-22