SEK 10 million for research in children's medicine

The Joanna Cocozza Foundation for Research in Children's medicine
has announced the recipients of researchgrants for 2020. Funding has been awarded in the form of establishment and consolidation grants, support for visiting researchers, and a further seven project grants for research in children's medicine. The recipients will be honoured on 15
December during the collegiate meeting in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Infant in the arms of a doctor. SDI Productions

“The externally appointed assessment committee has pointed out that a huge amount of top-quality research in children’s medicine is carried out at Linköping University. It is, therefore, particularly gratifying that the Joanna Cocozza Foundation has chosen no fewer than nine researchers here to receive grants, selected in competition with many high-quality applications”, says Johan Dabrosin Söderholm, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Portrait, Oskar Lundgren.Oskar Lundgren. Photo: Malin Wallin.The awards this year are the first that the foundation has made from the large donation of SEK 130 million in 2019. The board has decided, following the recommendation of the assessment committee, that the establishment and consolidation award for 2020 will be awarded to Oskar Lundgren, paediatrician and adjunct senior lecturer in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences. He works in child oncology at H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victorias barn- och ungdomssjukhus (The HRH Crown Princess Victoria Hospital for Children and Young People) with the project “Strengthening the resistance of children with cancer by mental and physical training”.

“The establishment grant will be a great opportunity to get a good start in this phase of my career. Basically, I can now build up an independent research group looking at mental health resources, lifestyle and physical activity. The research grant will also open opportunities for projects, and it increases my chances for collaboration with more colleagues”, says Oskar Lundgren.

Oskar Lundgren has a vision: that children and young people treated for cancer should face life and retain their level of ability and spark of life. The objectives of the projects are to develop new interventions and study the effects of exercises in mental resilience and physical training as a supplement to cancer treatment. The programme of psychological exercises is based on a digital platform that allows remote training with the aid of a mobile phone. The physical training will take place both in groups at the hospital and in the participants’ home.

Johnny Ludvigsson. Photo credit Anna Nilsen

The grant for visiting professor 2020 has been given to Professor Emeritus Johnny Ludvigsson’s application for support to visiting professor Petter Brodin, scientist and paediatrician at the Department of Clinical Paediatrics, Karolinska Institutet, for the project “Enhancing studies on immune-mediated diseases”. Petter Brodin plans to arrive at LiU next year.

“After we received the great news, we contacted Petter Brodin who was extremely enthusiastic! It’s just marvellous that the Cocozza Foundation shares in such a generous way, and gives back to society like this. Petter Brodin has expertise and can master several techniques, which will be of great benefit for several research projects in paediatrics at LiU”, says Johnny Ludvigsson.

Petter Brodin’s research deals principally with immunology in newborn infants and the development of the immune system. Birth and the first few months of life are thought to be particularly important in the development of the immune system. Johnny Ludvigsson points out that it was natural to look at all potential collaboration opportunities with several research groups in children’s medicine at LiU.

The following seven researchers have received project grants in the 2020 round:
Thomas Abrahamsson, docent and paediatrician, H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victorias barn- och ungdomssjukhus – “Breast-milk-based baby formula and probiotic supplements to extremely premature infants in two randomised clinical trials”

Mikael Benson, professor in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences – “Digital twins for predictive, preventive, individually tailored and participatory care, starting in childhood”

Maria Jenmalm, professor in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences – “Can microbial and dietary interventions to mothers and children prevent allergy?”

Johnny Ludvigsson, professor emeritus in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences – “Probiotic development for the prevention of type 1 diabetes and possibly other autoimmune diseases”

Colm Nestor, senior lecturer in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences – “Sex-bias in pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia; towards targeted therapy and precision medicine”

Torsten Olbers, professor in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences – “Randomised surgical study for teenagers with severe obesity – TEEN-BEST”

Maria Zetterqvist, adjunct senior lecturer in the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences – “Examining the effects of real-time fMRI neurofeedback to improve emotion regulation in adolescents with non-suicidal self-injury”


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