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Published: 10 Apr, 2015

Major grant to establish new molecular medicine centre at Umeå University

NEWS Wallenberg Centre of Molecular Medicine at Umeå University (WCMM) – a new research centre at Umeå University – is part of a national plan on how Sweden will regain its world-leading position in medical research. Behind the centre stands Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation in cooperation with Umeå University and the County Council of Västerbotten, among others.

The new centre will focus mainly on broad molecular medical research on cancer, metabolic diseases like diabetes, diseases in brain and nervous system, and severe infections – fields acknowledged as strong research areas at Umeå University. A very important link and resource for these research areas is the County Council of Västerbotten’s population-based biobank – Biobank norr – that together with patient data and genealogical data provides a unique research resource.

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation contributes with a total of up to SEK 175 million through 2016–2024. The grant will primarily finance career opportunities for young researchers.

"It is gratifying that the Foundation together with the university and the region can build a centre for molecular medicine in Umeå. The Foundation has made similar efforts at the University of Gothenburg and Lund University, aiming to nationally strengthen the Life Science research and create centres able to collaborate with the Science for Life laboratory in Stockholm-Uppsala to bring Swedish research back to a world-leading position within the field", says Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chairman of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

University and county council in close cooperation

Today, Umeå University has established excellent research networks within the area of molecular medicine and a great tradition of so-called translational research, where illness problems identified in health care become the foundation of laboratory-based studies. This research is carried out in close cooperation between Umeå University and the County Council of Västerbotten. The access to extensive biobank material, advanced technical platforms and research infrastructures provides the centre with the prerequisites required to reach the absolute front within the area of molecular medicine research.

"We’re very pleased that Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation chooses Umeå for this long-term investment. This effort means that we can recruit young, excellent researchers and support their development into leading molecular medicine research leaders. This also means a significant national reinforcement of the molecular medicine research field, since the centre in Umeå will work closely with the other planned molecular medicine centres in Sweden", says Lena Gustafsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University.

Clear connection to health care

To guarantee that the research carried out is beneficial to the patients, there is a very clear connection between the centre’s activities and the health care. In addition to the funding from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Umeå University and the County Council of Västerbotten contribute with SEK 80 million each through 2016-2024.

"It’s very gratifying that we’re given the possibility to strengthen the research within fields where the collaboration between the university and the county council already today draws international attention. The research results will be beneficial for groups of severely ill patients, at the same time as we deepen the cooperation with the Life Science industry", says Anders Sylvan, Director of the County Council of Västerbotten.

Kempe Foundations and Cancer Research Foundation

It’s also very pleasing that the Kempe Foundations and the Cancer Research Foundation in Norrland have announced their support for the new molecular medicine centre.

"To the Kempe Foundations and the Cancer Research Foundation in Norrland – with our focus on supporting research in northern Sweden – it’s extraordinarily gratifying that Umeå University now becomes part of the national Life Science network established through Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. We know that Umeå University will constitute a valuable node in this network, which is a national molecular medicine reinforcement. The contribution of the Kempe Foundations and the Cancer Research Foundation in Norrland is a promised support of a Post doc programme at Umeå University", say Carl Kempe, Chairman of the Kempe Foundations, and Roger Henriksson, Chairman of the Cancer Research Foundation in Norrland, in a joint statement.

For more information about Wallenberg Centre of Molecular Medicine at Umeå University, please contact:

Lena Gustafsson, Vice-Chancellor, Umeå UniversityPhone: +46 90 786 53 50
Email: lena.gustafsson@umu.se

Anders Sylvan, Director, County Council of VästerbottenPhone: +46 90 785 72 50
Email: anders.sylvan@vll.se

Göran Sandberg, Executive Director, Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationPhone: +46 8 545 017 80
Email: kaw@kaw.se

Carl Kempe, Chairman, Kempe Foundations
Phone: +46 70 590 36 93

Roger Henriksson, Chairman, Cancer Research Foundation in NorrlandPhone: +46 70 588 99 33
Email: roger.henriksson@umu.se

Read more at:

www.wcmm.umu.se/english

Editor: Andrea Gillgren