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Headed to SDU with a million grant and leadership ambitions

Aida Solhøj Hansen, associated with the Institute of Molecular Medicine, is among the three accomplished skin researchers who are the first to be granted a LEO Foundation Dr. Abildgaard Fellowship, along with a 12 million Danish kroner award.

By Marianne Lie Becker, , 12/18/2023

In spring 2024, Aida Solhøj Hansen will transition from Aarhus University to the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark, taking charge of a brand-new research group.

This is made possible as Aida Solhøj Hansen has been chosen by the LEO Foundation to be granted 12 million kroner over five years through the Dr. Abildgaard Fellowship. This grant is established in 2023 and aims to support individuals in skin research who 'aspire to establish or expand an independent research group at a non-profit Danish research institution and aim to become research leaders.

This fellowship from the LEO Foundation will empower me to establish a research group at SDU, focusing on studying cell signaling through extracellular vesicles in inflammatory diseases. The grant will profoundly influence my ongoing evolution as a researcher and now in the capacity of a research leader

Aida Solhøj Hansen, Department of Biomedicin, University of Aarhus

Extracellular vesicles are small packages containing diverse components from the producing cell. These vesicles carry information capable of modifying the function of recipient cells. The grant is awarded for researching the importance of vesicles in inflammatory skin conditions, including psoriasis.

Aida Solhøj Hansen will, at SDU, also investigate the importance of these vesicles in breast cancer.

Learn more

The research must be pioneering

Aida Solhøj Hansen's work centers on exploring the various roles of extracellular vesicles.

- Extracellular vesicles possess several distinctive features that allow them to regulate other cells through various mechanisms, both locally and globally within the body, she explains.

Aida Solhøj Hansen aspires to attain positive outcomes and gain novel insights into psoriasis and other diseases through her research, and her future ambitions are high:

- With this grant, I can pursue more enduring and ambitious research objectives. My aspiration is to establish a research group that will emerge as a frontrunner in cell communication through extracellular vesicles in inflammatory diseases and cancer in the future.

Becoming a group leader and a positive role model

On a more personal level, Aida Solhøj Hansen not only intends to expand our understanding of the skin and its diseases but also to become a positive role model for other aspiring scientists:

- This grant enables me to assume the role of a group leader, a prospect that truly excites me. I eagerly anticipate contributing to the cultivation of emerging research talents within my group, particularly among my younger female colleagues seeking to balance family life with an academic career. As a leader, it is crucial for me to foster a supportive environment and champion a culture of collaboration and teamwork. In my capacity, I am committed to being a positive exemplar, particularly for my younger female colleagues.

Read the full press release from the LEO Foundation here

Meet the researcher

Aida Solhøj Hansen will commence her tenure at SDU in spring 2024.


About Aida Solhøj Hansen

Aida Solhøj Hansen has devoted her research to cellular communication and the regulation of the immune system since her Ph.D. project and postdoctoral training at Aarhus University, Denmark, and Stanford University, USA. In 2021, she returned to Aarhus University as an assistant professor.

Aida Solhøj Hansen will move to the University of Southern Denmark's Institute of Molecular Medicine in the spring of 2024 to establish a research group that explores the study of cellular communication within both inflammatory processes in psoriasis and the regulation of the immune system by cancer cells.

The University of Southern Denmark has a notable history of translational research in inflammation and cancer, presenting a promising alignment for the researcher's ongoing work in the field.

Editing was completed: 18.12.2023