Alumni fund supports new research projects
The “Fund of U” alumni fund is allocating funds for the second time since its inception. Two projects will receive support. One deals with curing diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s using stem cells, and the other with how studies of blood platelets can provide safer treatment for heart attack victims.
The money comes from alumni and others who want to contribute to the development of Linköping University by supporting research and student projects.
“What is really great and exhilarating about this support is knowing that there are people out there who believe in what I am doing and want to help. To be able to present your work to this audience is stimulating,” says Sofia Ramström, research associate at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine.
Ramström (pictured right) will receive SEK 100,000 (ca. EURO 12,000) from the LiU Fund of U for her project:
“A better life post heart attack: studies of blood platelets may lead to better medicines”.
Her research has to do with how thrombocytes (small fragments of cells in the bloodstream, also known as platelets) are activated when a blood vessel is damaged. The job of these thrombocytes is to repair the blood vessel so that it stops bleeding, but if the vessel has already narrowed due to atherosclerosis, the platelets can block up completely, with heart attack being one possible consequence. Currently a heart attack victim can be given medicine that inhibits the blood platelets in order to avoid this effect, but unfortunately the risk of bleeding also increases.
With the support of “Fund of U” Sofia will study how platelets are initially activated when a blood vessel is damaged. At this point in time there are not many methods for the measurement of this first stage, where the blood platelets attach to the damaged wall of the blood vessel, and how various thrombocyte inhibitors then affect them.
“I hope to develop a method that will study the action of thrombocytes that was so simple it could then be used in hospitals,” says Sofia Ramström.
The target is a safer treatment that will help patients who have suffered a heart attack to avoid blood clots and unwanted bleeding. In time, the results could suggest new medicines that, in the future, may prevent blood clots and bleeding in patients.
Edwin Jager (pictured) is a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology and will receive SEK 290,000 (ca. EURO 34,000) for his project “Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s: encouraging the development of synthetic surfaces for stem cells”. Stem cell therapy is one of the methods of the future for the curing diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The method involves transplanting stem cells into the body, where they will grow into new neurons. However there is no guarantee that they will develop in the right way.
The money from “Fund of U” will be used to create artificial surfaces where it will be possible to control the development of the stem cells so that the transplant is successful.
“We are developing new, artificial carrier material where we can plant stem cells more simply. In the long run this will make it easier to cure certain diseases of the brain and the heart. It’s doubly great to get money from private individuals who want to be involved in supporting the research. Every little bit helps!” says Jager.
“Fund of U” was launched in 2009 and has accumulated over SEK 750,000 (ca. EURO 90,000). Most of the donations come from telephone campaigns where LiU students ring former students and ask for support. In the past, funds have been allocated to child diabetes, children's mathematics learning and the purchase of more microwave ovens to shorten lunch queues for on campus students.
The next campaign will begin in November.
Photo Sofia Ramström: Peter Karlsson / Svarteld Photo Edwin Jager: Personal photograph
Related Internal Links
- Sofia Ramström
- Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKE)
- Edwin Jager
- Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM)
- LiU Fund of U (in Swedish only)
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Last updated: 2013-05-22