Researcher at Statens Serum Institut (SSI) chosen to establish new Center of Excellence for studies of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)

The Danish National Research Foundation has invited SSI for contract negotiations to establish a new, unique research center. The purpose of the center is to optimize the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Photo of Tine Jess

The board of the Danish National Research Foundation has decided to invest 657 million DKK in and allocate an additional 440 million DKK for 10 new Danish Centers of Excellence. Following an application process during which the Foundation received 133 statements of interest, of which 23 were chosen to submit full applications, the Foundation has now selected 10 applicants for final contract negotiations.

One of these new centers will be placed at SSI. Pending successful negotiations, the Foundation is ready to grant approximately 68.5 million DKK for a 6-year period for the center to study chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. A grant extension for another four years is possible.

Unique opportunity to make a difference

The new center will be entitled PREDICT (Center for Molecular Prediction of Inflammatory Bowel Disease). SSI is very excited about the large grant.

“Our application to the Danish National Research Foundation is born from a long-standing dream to create an international, world-class research center based on the unique, Danish resources. A research milieu that with groundbreaking, scientific discoveries will contribute importantly to the optimization of prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases”, says Professor, MD, DMSc Tine Jess from SSI, who will be heading the center.

Inflammatory bowel diseases are lifelong conditions affecting young men and women. Diseases that today to some extent can be treated, but cannot be cured.

“In Denmark, we have unique possibilities to study the occurrence and course of chronic diseases. By linking biological material from the Danish National Biobank with national registry data as well as detailed, clinical data about the course of the diseases, we can begin to understand the biology behind the diseases. And understand why their prognosis often varies. That way, we can improve prevention and give impetus to the development of new medicines. Additionally, this may improve our abilities to tailor treatment to the individual patient - aka ‘personalized medicine’”, says Tine Jess.

International research milieu

The purpose of the grant of 68.5 million DKK from the Danish National Research Foundation is to gather a unique team of researchers to achieve the tasks of the center. The researchers will analyse biological material, collect additional material and create data infrastructures to handle the linkage of large datasets.

“The most important task of the center will be to create this unique and internationally very attractive research milieu – a place where groundbreaking research within the IBD field will be performed for many years to come”, says Tine Jess.

Taking advantage of large amount of information

The CEO of SSI, Mads Melbye, is also very happy about the new center at SSI. He says,

“PREDICT is an innovative project that will elegantly take advantage of the large amount of information extracted from biological samples stored in the Danish National Biobank and combine these data with data from the Danish health registries. This approach to studying these serious diseases will significantly improve our ability to understand why they occur, how to prevent them, and not least – how to effectively treat them. At SSI, we are very grateful that the Danish National Research Foundation has chosen this project”, Mads Melbye concludes.

Facts about the Danish National Research Foundation

The Danish National Research Foundation will be investing a total of 1.1 billion DKK in the 10 new basic research centers – the so-called Centers of Excellence.

The purpose of the 10 centers is to contribute to the maintaining of Denmark’s position as one the world’s leading research countries by being international front runners performing top-notch, innovative and curiosity-driven research.

The new Centers of Excellence will be established for a 6-year period with the possibility of grant extension for an additional four years. The extension is contingent on satisfactory evaluation after five years. The Foundation invests 657 million DKK now and will allocate an additional 440 million DKK for extension of the centers.