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AIAS Fellow Joanna Kalucka new Lundbeck Foundation Fellow

As a very promising young researcher in the field of molecular biology, AIAS Fellow Joanna Kalucka has received a prestigious grant of DKK 10 million by the Lundbeck Foundation to advance our understanding of endothelial cell dysfunction in obesity.

Photo: Joanna Kalucka. Credit: AU Photo, Ida Marie Jensen.

Joanna Kalucka, AIAS-COFUND Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University, can now also entitle herself a ‘Lundbeck Foundation Fellow.’ This week Joanna Kalucka has received an impressive grant of DKK 10 million by The Lundbeck Foundation to boost her research in obesity and vascular dysfunction even further. The grant supports her five-year project entitled ‘Endothelial cell heterogeneity during obesity' and will enable her to build up her own research group. The Lundbeck Foundation has supported 10 biomedical researchers with a DKK 10 million grant, two fellowships are hosted at Aarhus University.

Focus on obesity and inflammatory diseases

In humans and other mammals the inside of the blood vessels, the vascular wall, is composed of a layer of special cells, known as endothelial cells. The endothelium is part of a barrier, but it can also play a role in inflammation. This also applies to obesity-related inflammation, but we only have limited knowledge of exactly how the endothelial cells interact more specifically in inflammatory conditions.

This is what Joanna Kalucka’s research project seeks to shed light on in her investigation of the function of the endothelial cells in obesity-related inflammation.

”My primary research goal is directed towards understanding endothelial dysfunction and identifying molecular and metabolic drivers of this process. Especially I am interested in understanding how this is regulated by the tissue microenvironment (inflammation, hypoxia, etc.).

Supported by the Lundbeck Foundation Fellow grant, which I am grateful and honored to receive, I will be able to establish my research group at Aarhus University at the Department of Biomedicine, and I will further investigate the role of endothelial cell heterogeneity in obesity. Ultimately, with these newly gained insights we might be able to find new therapeutic approaches to help patients suffering from obesity-induced metabolic and cardiovascular complications,” said Joanna Kalucka.

Applying advanced technologies to advance novel therapies

Joanna will apply a number of advanced technologies to carry out the analyses needed. She will use proteomics, which is a large-scale investigation of proteins that makes it possible to analyse the chemical ‘fingerprint’ biochemical processes leave in an organism. She will also use a new method, single-cell RNA-sequencing, which enables her to analyse the information that each individual cell carries.

Joanna’s project will bring new knowledge on the role of endothelial cells in adipose tissue in people suffering from obesity, but will also create the potential for developing novel therapeutic opportunities for people with obesity-related disorders, especially Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

More about Joanna Kalucka’s project

Watch The Lundbeck Foundation's video about Joanna Kalucka's project

Read about her Lundbeck Foundation project here

The Lundbeck Foundation Fellowships

Read more about the Lundbeck Foundation and the new Lundbeck Foundation Fellows here 


Joanna Kalucka, AIAS Fellow, Assistant Professor
Phone: +45 87153273  

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) and
Department of Biomedicine
Aarhus University