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AIAS Fellow Rasmus O. Bak receives grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark

Rasmus O. Bak has been awarded a grant of DKK 2.9 mill from the Independent Research Fund Denmark to generate a new class of cancer immunotherapy using CRISPR/Cas gene technologies. Three AIAS Former Fellows have also been awarded a grant from the Independent Research Fund.

2020.05.18 | Lena Bering

Photo: Rasmus O. Bak in the lab. By: Lars Kruse, AU Foto.

This week, the Independent Research Fund Denmark has supported 202 new original research ideas. Among these 202 grants, one project is by current fellow, Associate Professor Rasmus O. Bak; three projects by AIAS Former Fellows Peter Dalsgaard, Bjørn Panyella Pedersen and Peter Teglberg Madsen, all three from Aarhus University.

A new class of cancer immunotherapy

Current AIAS Fellow, Associate Professor Rasmus O. Bak is a geneticist, and has received the grant for his project entitled “Generating a new class of cancer immunotherapy with genetically engineered plasmacytoid dendritic cells”. In this new research project, Rasmus will generate a rare and unique subset of dendritic cells, so-called plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (pDCs), and potentiate and rewire their anti-tumoral effects using CRISPR/Cas gene editing technologies. This project aims to deliver a new, advanced treatment of cancer and potentially other serious illnesses.

Three Former fellows – from creative ideas, over sterol uptake to bat’s echolocation

The topics of the four grants awarded to the four fellows related to AIAS mirror the diversity of research areas at AIAS. 

AIAS Former Fellow, Professor Peter Dalsgaard from Digital Design and Information Studies has received a grant of DKK 6.1 million for the project “Managing Ideas in Creative Work”, a project that he started developing during his time at AIAS.   

AIAS Former Fellow, Associate Professor Bjørn Panyella Pedersen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics has received a grant of DKK 6.2 million to study “Molecular mechanisms of sterol uptake”. 

AIAS Former Fellow, Professor Peter Teglberg from the Department of Biology has received a DKK 6.2 million grant to investigate bat’s ability of echolocation in the project entitled “Batsound: How bats can locate and catch prey in less than a second”. 

More about Rasmus O. Bak’s project – a brief scientific summary

The CRISPR/Cas technology has revolutionized genetic engineering by allowing easy, fast, and precise gene editing. We have previously shown high gene editing efficiencies in human blood stem cells, and shown that this technology can introduce multiple gene edits simultaneously in the same cells (multiplexed gene editing). In this project, we will apply multiplexed gene editing in blood stem cells, followed by a recently established protocol for converting stem cells into plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). With this combined approach, we will generate genetically enhanced pDCs and test these for use in cancer immunotherapy.

About the Independent Research Fund Denmark grants

The Independent Research Fund Denmark financially supports new original research ideas that are based on the researchers' own initiatives and that improve the quality and internationalisation of Danish research. Moreover, the Fund provides advice in all scientific areas for the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, the Danish Parliament and the Government. 

Read more about the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF - Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond) 


Rasmus O. Bak, AIAS Fellow, Associate Professor and PhD
Aarhus University, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies and
Department of Biomedicine

Phone: +45 93 92 91 00
E-mail: bak@aias.au.dk