Two Uppsala researchers receive project grants from KAW

1 October 2020

Professors Lena Claesson-Welsh and Leif Andersson

Lena Claesson-Welsh and Leif Andersson have received a combined SEK 63 million in project grants from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW).

Professors Lena Claesson-Welsh and Leif Andersson have received grants for research projects on the formation of blood and lymphatic vessels and on the gene ZC3H11A, which has an important role when viruses reproduce in the body.

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) has awarded a total of SEK 541 million to 18 basic research projects within medicine, natural sciences and technology that are judged to have the potential to lead to scientific breakthroughs. Two of the projects will take place at Uppsala University.

Lena Claesson-Welsh, professor at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, is the main applicant for a five-year project that has received SEK 38 million: “Vascular organotypicity in health and disease”. In the project, the researchers will map and compare blood and lymphatic vessels in three completely different organs: the central nervous system, the skin and the aorta. This comprehensive mapping will allow the researchers to identify similarities and differences in how the vessels form and their functions, and then to develop new strategies for treatment of diseases related to the vessels and their unique functions in these organs.

Leif Andersson, professor at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, is the main applicant for the three-year project “Development of new therapeutic strategies based on the discovery of ZC3H11A - a stress-induced protein required for efficient virus growth”, which was awarded a grant of SEK 25 million. In the project, the researchers will study the gene ZC3H11A. The research team has previously been able to show that several different medically relevant viruses use ZC3H11A when they reproduce in human cells. In the new project, they will develop molecules that impact the ZC3H11A protein’s function. These molecules will then be studied in cultured cells and test animals to evaluate their potential in treatment of viral and cancer diseases.