The Wallenberg Scholars programme supports some of the most successful senior researchers at Swedish universities. The grant runs for five years with an opportunity to extend it by another five years. There are currently 79 active Wallenberg Scholars, 7 of whom are based at the University of Gothenburg. What follows is a presentation of them.
Andrew Ewing, an American researcher who crossed the Atlantic and became Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers, is a driving force in his field of research. He has been designated a Wallenberg Scholar, and the accompanying grant enables him to further hone his research.
When photographers converted sequences of stills to film, it had a major impact. Now Richard Neutze, Professor of Biochemistry, wants to do the same thing – but at the molecular level. The goal is to create films of the molecules that govern and control our bodies, of the movement of proteins in cells. The camera consists of X-ray pulses that last for ten millionth of a millionth of a second.
Are there similarities between a yeast cell and a human being? Actually, yes. In Gothenburg, Wallenberg Scholar Thomas Nyström, Professor of Microbiology, studies ageing by mapping the ability of young and old yeast cells to keep themselves clean. The outcome may be treatments to combat the diseases of ageing.
Around 4 percent of Sweden’s population live with type-2 diabetes. This figure is considerably higher, 40 percent, among those suffering from obesity. In his research, Fredrik Bäckhed has shown that bacteria which live in our intestines affect the risk of developing both obesity and diabetes. He is now studying how standard diabetes treatments affect these bacteria.
The mitochondria are often called the powerhouse of the cell, and they have their own DNA. If a child is born with damage to their mitochondrial DNA, it can lead to severe diseases. But damaged mitochondrial DNA is also associated with normal ageing and several diseases of ageing. Maria Falkenberg studies how the damage develops and if it can be decelerated.
For a long time, researchers believed that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by plaques in the brain. So why does it not help to remove the plaques? Henrik Zetterberg believes that we have been on the wrong track – and that he may have found the true cause.
Quality of political institutions, trust and corruption. These form the basis for the research of Wallenberg Scholar Bo Rothstein At the Quality of Government Institute, which he founded, researchers are trying to define what corruption is, and how to counter it.
About the programme
The board of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation have decided that the next Wallenberg Scholars programme will open for applications in 2023. The universities will be invited to nominate 120 candidates who will compete with existing scholars.