PhD students competed for prestigious legacy

The PhD Day warmed up with presentations by PhD students who were all recipients of the Fogh-Nielsens Legacy and the DKK 100,000 that was available. Their performance on the stage determined how much of the grant each of them received.

[Translate to English:] Det store søauditorium var ramme om Health-ph.d.-studerendes årlige festdag. Fra morgenstund var det fyldt op. Foto: Lars Kruse, AU Kommunikation.
[Translate to English:] Det store søauditorium var ramme om Health-ph.d.-studerendes årlige festdag. Fra morgenstund var det fyldt op. Foto: Lars Kruse, AU Kommunikation.

From left: Henry Jensen, Tue Wenzel Kragstrup and Konstantin Kazankov. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Communication.

The auditorium was full on Friday morning when the three PhD students Tue Wenzel Kragstrup, Henry Jensen and Konstantin Kazankov presented their research projects at Health’s PhD Day. They were the recipients of the Fogh-Nielsens grant of DKK 100,000, but the suspense of how large a part of scholarship each would receive was kept intact until the evening celebration. The Fogh-Nielsens Legacy is awarded to PhD students who are in the final stages of their project. The legacy is awarded to help continue excellent research efforts and is presented each year at the evening celebration following the PhD Day.

Tue Wenzel Kragstrup received the largest portion of the grant - DKK 50,000, while Henry Jensen and Konstantin Kazankov each received DKK 25,000.

Research into gentler treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Tue Wenzel Kragstrup conducts research into two specific transmitters known as IL-20 and IL-24, which are emitted by the immune system when rheumatoid arthritis develops. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system perceives the body’s healthy cells as adversaries and produces antibodies which attack the joints. This causes pain, fatigue and stiffness for the patients, as the disease destroys cartilage and bone around the joints. In his project, Tue Wenzel Kragstrup has demonstrated that the two transmitters cause the bone cells to destroy the joints. Presently parts of the immune system are destroyed when rheumatoid arthritis is treated. However, new medicine directed at IL-20 and IL-24 can potentially stop the joints being destroyed, while at the same time avoiding damage to the immune system. This will have a significant impact on patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Mapping the benefits and deficiencies of cancer care pathways

Henry Jensen conducts research into the value of the Danish cancer care pathways, which are aimed at ensuring a well-planned and fast treatment process for cancer patients. Henry Jensen has compared the treatment process for cancer patients before, during and after the introduction of the cancer care pathways. The research study shows that the cancer care pathways were taken into use for cancer patients where the general practitioner finds serious symptoms, which covers approx. 40 per cent of cancer cases in Denmark, and that they now have a faster diagnostic process. The study reveals that there is still a lack of opportunity for diagnosis and examinations which the general practitioner can carry out for the remaining, large group of patients with less alarming, but nonetheless serious symptoms, where there is also a need to take action. Henry Jensen's research should contribute to improving health policy in Denmark with regard to cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Project can lead to biochemical testing for liver diseases 

Konstantin Kazankov carries out research into the biomarker sCD163, as a marker for the two liver diseases chronic viral hepatitis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Both liver diseases are widespread around the world. The diseases are currently diagnosed and staged by a liver biopsy, an invasive procedure that can be dangerous for the patient. Konstantin Kazankov’s research can help the development of a simple and reliable biochemical test. Based on sCD163, a new test model can rule out advanced liver disease. This will mean that patients who do not have the disease in an advanced stage can avoid a liver biopsy.

Further information

PhD student, MD Tue Wenzel Kragstrup
Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University
Direct tel.: +45 8716 7264

PhD student, MSc Henry Jensen
Department of Public Health, Aarhus University
Direct tel.: +45 8716 8062

PhD student, MD Konstantin Kazankov
Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University
Direct tel.: +45 2521 0933