First Swedish Mark Foundation ASPIRE II award to Bennie Lemmens laboratory
The Lemmens laboratory, located at SciLifeLab Solna/Karolinska Institutet (KI), is the first in Sweden to receive an ASPIRE II award from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. Supported by the ASPIRE I award, the team of Bennie Lemmens established state-of-the-art microscopy and DNA labeling techniques to study fundamental principles of human cell division and how human cells copy their DNA and respond to anticancer therapies with unprecedented precision in time and space.
To fight cancer, we need to understand this dynamic disease better and work together using the latest technological advances. “We would not be able to perform these studies without the great support from the national facilities at SciLifeLab, such as the Advanced Light Microscopy unit and Bioimage informatics facilities,” says SciLifeLab group leader Bennie Lemmens. The Lemmens laboratory works closely with fellow SciLifeLab researchers such as Jiri Bartek (KI) and Simon Elsässer (KI), who develop highly complementary approaches to study human cell division.
The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, a charitable organization based in New York City, actively partners with scientists around the world to accelerate research that will transform the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Since 2017, The Mark Foundation has awarded more than $200 million in grants to over 100 academic institutions across 13 countries, with research programs focusing on early career support, team science collaboration, new technology innovation, and therapeutics discovery. Additionally, The Mark Foundation maintains a growing portfolio of investments in early-stage cancer diagnostics and therapeutics companies, including several that have transitioned from grantee projects into commercial development. “The Mark Foundation fosters interactions between academics and research companies by organizing network events and directly supports international collaborations,” says Lemmens.
Mark Foundation ASPIRE awards enable high-risk, high-reward projects to answer essential feasibility and proof-of-concept questions and arrive at critical project inflection points in an accelerated time frame. The ASPIRE program supports research worldwide, and those who successfully demonstrate feasibility or proof of concept may be invited to apply for an ASPIRE II award to further develop and expand the research. ASPIRE II awards support 3-year projects with total budgets up to $750,000. “I am very proud of my team for developing original technologies and feel humbled to be among the few worldwide selected for an ASPIRE II award,” Bennie says.
All applications undergo a rigorous and thorough internal and external review process and are selected based on the highest scientific merit and potential for impact. “The Mark Foundation has a unique constructive and engaged approach to research funding, which greatly benefits the quality of the review process as well as the science driving the projects,” Bennie Lemmens concludes.
Read more about the latest class of ASPIRE awards here.
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