Pim Van Den Hoven

Pim Van Den Hoven says: “Patients with diabetes are at risk of developing a wound on their foot called a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). Up to one in every three patients with diabetes will develop a DFU in their lifetime. Despite treatment, the DFU will not heal in up to thirty percent, leading to a high risk of amputation. One of the main reasons a DFU does not heal is decreased perfusion to the foot. Currently, the medical field lacks a tool to measure this foot perfusion in a reliable way. To improve outcome in DFU diagnosis and treatment, there is urgent need for a better way to assess this perfusion. The PODO-MAP project examines three potential imaging techniques to fill this gap: advanced duplex ultrasound, contrast enhanced ultrasound and near-infrared fluorescence imaging with indocyanine green. Also, a clinical registry is performed for patients with a DFU to gain insight in the clinical. By doing this, we aim to improve outcome by increasing the healing rate and reduce the amount of leg amputations.”

Pim Van Den Hoven has a longstanding interest in vascular surgery and is currently doing his specialist training at Department of Vascular Surgery, Rigshospitalet, and Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. He further says: “The Clinical Emerging Investigator Fellowship from the Novo Nordisk Foundation will be instrumental in establishing myself as research leader within the field of near-infrared fluorescence imaging”.

Jacob Tfelt-Hansen

Jacob Tfelt-Hansen says: “Sudden cardiac death (SCD) cases are tragic, often preventable, and multifactorial.  To understand a genetic component of SCD in the young, the project will examine possibility to screen for rare cardiac genetic variants from birth. To investigate other parts of multifactorial causes of SCD we will investigate common genetic factors, prescription drugs and their combination effect on mortality. The project will produce cardiac cells via stem cells from Achilles tendons from the SCD cases to in depth understand the cause of death. The results can lead to national screening of newborns for specific genetic variants for SCD, recommendation on combinations of prescription drug and guide clinical recommendation and treatment of relatives.”

Jacob Tfelt-Hansen is Professor and Senior Consultant at Department of Cardiology, Copenhagen University Hospital and Professor and Head of Research at Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen.

Fredrik Folke

Frederik Folke says: “Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest continues to present a major medical and societal challenge worldwide, constituting a societal burden greater than most other leading causes of death in the western world. As no single intervention is likely to change cardiac arrest survival significantly, the current research project offers a bundle of novel and innovative strategies to improve cardiac arrest survival including studies on: how to improve citizen guidance in cardiopulmonary resuscitation during emergency 1-1-2 calls; how to use crowdsourcing as a novel method to engage citizens in registering un-identified and non-functional Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) already deployed in the society; how engagement of local, volunteer citizens through the HeartRunner app affect cardiac arrest survival and whether there a need for focused interventions in areas with low socioeconomic status and how a strategy of equipping private vehicles with mobile AEDs can improve AED use in rural areas?”

Fredrik Folke is Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital and Head of department, Department of Research, Copenhagen Emergency Medical Services. Frederik Folke has been Professor at Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, since 2020.

Lars Rolighed

Lars Rolighed says: “The general metabolism is partially regulated by the thyroid gland. In health and disease, thyroid hormones help to stimulate bodily mechanisms in the right way. Commonly, the thyroid gland is affected by various diseases and occasionally surgical treatment is needed. In Denmark, the most common operative procedure on the thyroid gland is a hemi thyroidectomy with removal of half of the gland. This operation often reduces the thyroid hormones to a degree where the metabolism is negatively affected. Accordingly, many patients with a previous neck operation need to take medication daily for the rest of their life. With many different thyroid diseases, there are several treatment options. We will evaluate new management options in clinical prospective studies. These new options include 1) use of active surveillance of small tumors and 2) radiofrequency ablation of small thyroid tumors. Further, in a national 20-year cohort, we will retrospectively evaluate long-term adverse outcome after hemi thyroidectomy. Finally, we will perform molecular profiling of thyroid tumors including circulating tumor DNA and describe essential mutations for development of cancer and disseminating disease. With this project, we aim to improve outcome for Danish thyroid patients with possible beneficial impact on long-term health outcomes.”

Lars Rolighed is Consultant Surgeon at Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Department of Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, and Associate Professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Aarhus University Hospital, since 2016.

Anne Hammer Lauridsen

Anne Hammer Lauridsen says: “Globally, 8.6% of all female cancers can be attributed to human papillomavirus (HPV). The purpose of this project is to explore the underlying mechanisms for why HPV causes the development of cancer in some women, but not in all those infected with the virus. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms in the development of HPV-related disease of the cervix may enable an identification of novel biomarkers applicable to screening, clinical management, and treatment, thereby potentially reducing risk of under- and overtreatment. In the proposed project, we will use tissue samples from women with premalignant cervical lesions and women with cervical cancer. To explore the molecular mechanisms, we will perform state-of-the-art molecular analyses, including mutation analysis and an analysis of the women’s immune response to the virus. Results from the proposed project will be important not only for our understanding of HPV-related cervical disease, but also for other HPV-related diseases.”

Anne Hammer Lauridsen is Senior Consultant and Head of Research at Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gødstrup Hospital. Anne Hammer Lauridsen has been Clinical Associate Professor at Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, since 2022.

Henrik Schytz

Henrik Schytz says: “Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a serious and underdiagnosed brain disease characterized by low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure caused by a leak in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. In SIH, brain function is severely affected, leading to cognitive dysfunction and severe headache when standing up. The current study will investigate 500 patients suspected of SIH with state-of-the-art diagnostic tests and imaging methods to diagnose and predict the outcome of SIH. The study will also investigate SIH patients before and after treatment in comparison to healthy controls using advanced 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (7T MRI). The 7T MRI studies will demonstrate how SIH affects brain regions that control CSF flow and clearance of brain waste products. The study will lead to new knowledge and methods on how brain function is affected by changes in intracranial pressure, which can be applied in many other neurological conditions.”

Henrik Schytz is Consultant in Neurology, Danish Headache Center, Rigshospitalet-Glostrup, and leader of the Headache Diagnostic Laboratory, Danish Headache Center. Henrik Schytz has been Associate Professor at Department of Clinical Medicine at University of Copenhagen since 2016.

Nina Kimer

Nina Kimer says: “Alcohol-related liver cirrhosis has immense impact on patient’s health. Only half of patients are alive two years after diagnosis. Treatment of cirrhosis is directed at complications and symptom-relief, and only few trials have explored actual effects of removing the causal factor, the alcohol, on the liver function. In clinical studies we will induce alcohol-cessation and investigate the effects on liver function and the recovery from complications, defined as recompensation. We believe recompensation will improve survival markedly. We will also investigate the effects of alcohol-cessation on the liver function by performing protein, lipid and gene activation analyses on liver cells. The studies may also lead to new discoveries of mechanisms that may heal liver tissue and restore the functions of the liver.”

Nina Kimer is Medical Specialist in gastroenterology and hepatology at the Gastro Unit, Amager-Hvidovre Hospital.

Inger Lise Gade

Inger Lise Gade says: “The air we exhale is a highly accessible yet unexploited biological sample that can be collected non-invasively. This project aims to revolutionize disease diagnosis and monitoring by harnessing the untapped potential of exhaled breath analysis. Using pulmonary embolism and stroke as examples, this project ultimately seeks to shift the diagnostic paradigm towards non-invasive, point-of-care analysis based on exhaled breath to start already in the pre-hospital setting. The project will for the first time combine proteomic and metabolomic analysis of exhaled breath to advance the understanding of the acute cellular and biological mechanisms in pulmonary embolism and stroke, respectively, thereby aiding identification and validation of novel exhaled biomarkers suitable for point-of-care testing. The specific activities in the project encompass a literature review study on proteomic and metabolomic analysis to establish a protocol for exhaled breath sample collection and omics-analysis. The protocol will be tested in a methodological study before application in subsequent pre-clinical and clinical studies of stroke and pulmonary embolism. Reproducible porcine model of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke variants will be developed. A paired porcine study of stoke will provide optimal conditions for identification of exhaled biomarkers able to discriminate the different types of strokes. Clinical studies of exhaled biomarkers for pulmonary embolism and stroke will validate the identified putative new, exhaled biomarkers and be the cornerstone for futures new, non-invasive exhaled breath tests.”

Inger Lise Gade has a longstanding interest in looking for biomarkers in exhaled breath and is currently doing her specialist training in Internal Medicine at the Department of Hematology, Aalborg University Hospital. She says: “The Clinical Emerging Investigator grant will permit me to combine my clinical and research training and allow me to establish my own research group and take a unique international first-mover position in the cutting-edge research field of exhaled breath.”

Kristian Kragholm

Kristian Kragholm says: “The electrocardiogram (ECG), a low-cost and readily available test of the heart’s electrical system, holds promise to improve detection of critical conditions in the prehospital setting to improve outcomes. We propose a shift to a broader inclusion of ECG abnormalities, symptoms, and vital signs including blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, heart and breathing rates, to indicate a significant blood clot in the heart’s artery system that requires balloon stenting. A similar approach will be used to examine pulmonary artery clots, aortic dissection (an acute tear in the wall of the major artery, the aorta), and acute heart failure. Finally, we propose to use ECG information to predict cardiac arrest. The outlined projects build on a nationwide Danish ECG cohort and linkage to national registries, with potentials for guiding future artificial intelligence applications that can aid clinicians in early detection of the critical, life-threatening conditions to improve patient outcome.”

Kristian Kragholm is currently doing his specialist training in Cardiology at the Departments of Cardiology at North Denmark Regional Hospital, Hjørring, and Aalborg University Hospital. He has been Associate Professor at Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, since 2022. Kristian Kragholm further states: “This funding will consolidate me as an independent research leader and allow me to continue doing research that I believe will have a huge impact on care and outcomes of patients with acute cardiovascular conditions in the pre- and in-hospital setting and will consolidate me as an independent research leader.”

Jakob Werner Hansen

Jakob Werner Hansen says: “VEXAS is a newly discovered disease first described in December 2020. It is caused by an acquired mutation in the UBA1 gene in the hematopoietic stem cells. The mutation is found on the X-chromosome, so it is primarily elderly male individuals which are diagnosed with the disease. The syndrome is characterized by autoimmune symptoms, such as fever, skin rash and cytopenia which are debilitating for the patients and affecting both quality of life and affects overall survival. This proposal outlines our plan to conduct a clinical trial in the Nordic countries using the promising drug (azacitidine), which is not currently approved for the treatment of these patients. Furthermore, we will investigate the cells from the blood and bone marrow to get a better understanding of the disease, this combined effort will possibly both improve outcomes for patients and strengthen our knowledge about the molecular biology underlying the disease.”.

Jakob Werner Hansen is currently doing his specialist training at the Department of Hematology, Rigshospitalet. He says further: “The Clinical Emerging Investigator fellowship will allow me to build my own research group with focused on the VEXAS syndrome and continue my work as combined clinician and researcher”.