Dimitris N. Chorafas Prize

The Prize (USD 5.000) is meant to reward pre-graduate scientific contributions within the doctoral education. The candidate should not have reached the age of 32 years at the time he/she is nominated to the prize.

The prize will be awarded at the Installation Ceremony of Karolinska Institutet.

Portrait of Jiayao Lei
Jiayao Lei. Photo: Gunilla Sonnebring

Prize winner 2020 - Jiayao Lei

Jiayao Lei is awarded the prize for her thesis Prevention and prognosis of cervical cancer: the interplay of human papillomavirus, vaccination and screening

Cervical cancer has become preventable since the introduction of cervical screening. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, together with new screening tests provides the potential to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem. In order to achieve this goal, further understanding of the role of HPV, effectiveness of cervical screening and HPV vaccination as well as pragmatic change of current practices are needed. Jiayao Lei’s research addresses the relevant questions from current practice and serves as evidence base for future policy changes towards elimination of cervical cancer. 

Jiayao’s research has mainly focused on comprehensive evaluation of HPV vaccination and cervical screening using nationwide Swedish registers. Additionally, her research also lies on understanding the role of HPV in prognosis of cervical cancer integrating biobank data.

Her current research has impacted women’s health both in Sweden and internationally. She is determined to continue her work in improving public health and clinical practices through evidence-based research.

Jiayao Lei conducted doctoral research at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics under the supervision of Pär Sparén, Miriam Elfström, Joakim Dillner and Fang Fang.

Prize motivation:

"Jiayao Lei is an exceptional student who has produced an outstanding thesis. Her research has mainly focused on comprehensive evaluation of HPV vaccination and cervical screening using nationwide Swedish registers. Additionally, her research has also focused on understanding the role of HPV in prognosis of cervical cancer through integrating biobank data."

Previous prize winners

Prize winner 2019 - Gioele La Manno

Gioele La Manno was awarded the prize for his thesis Lineages and molecular heterogeneity in the developing nervous system

Gioele conducted doctoral research at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics under the supervision of Prof. Sten Linnarsson, Prof. Ernest Arenas and Prof: Jussi Taipale. The motivation of the jury:

"Gioele is an exceptional student who has produced an outstanding thesis, demonstrating excellent skills in both computational and experimental biology as well as original thinking in approaching the study of the brain. The quality of the training programme is reflected in the multitude of high-quality research articles produced during the period."

Prize winner 2018 - Bianca Tesi

Bianca Tesi has been awarded the Dimitris N. Chorafas prize 2018 for her doctoral thesis Genetic studies of susceptibility to inflammation, autoimmunity, and hematological malignancy.

Bianca conducted doctoral research at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health under the supervision of Prof. Jan-Inge Henter, Prof. Magnus Nordenskjöld, Assistant Prof. Yenan Bryceson, and Dr. Marie Meeths. During her time as doctoral student, Bianca has co-authored 21 papers, including six first-author papers.

Bianca’s most distinguished contribution is the discovery that germline mutations in the gene SAMD9L cause of a familial form of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Her findings, recently published in the prestigious journal Blood, highlight a novel mechanism for hereditary cancer predisposition described as “adaptation by aneuploidy”. Since its publication, several children with bone marrow failure or MDS have been found to carry germline SAMD9L mutations worldwide.

Bianca currently works as a resident in Clinical Genetics at the Karolinska University Hospital. She combines her clinical training with postdoctoral research on familial hematological malignancies at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery.

Prize winner 2017 - Arvid Guterstam

Arvid Guterstam received the prize for his thesis Multisensory mechanisms of body ownership and self-location.

A key finding was that the sense of one’s own body is dependent on the integration of temporally and spatially congruent visual, tactile and proprioceptive signals in a spatial reference frame centred on the body. One piece of evidence for this arose from his discovery of the “invisible hand illusion” and the behavioural characterization of the perceptual rules that govern this striking perceptual phenomenon.

Prize winner 2016 - Alessandro Furlan

Alessandro Furlan was awarded the prize for his thesis Neuronal types and their specification dynamics in the autonomic nervous system.

The aim of Alessandro's research was to identify molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways that regulate the nervous system, with particular focus on the autonomic nervous system.

Alessandro Furlan is first author of an article in EMBO Journal where he describes the role of the transcription factor HMX1 for development of noradrenergic sympathetic neurons. In a subsequent study in Nature Neuroscience, he reports a much greater specificity in the sympathetic system than previously known. He also co-first authored a Science paper describing the emergence of the parasympathetic neurons from stem-like cells.

Prize winner 2015 - Miriam Elfström

In her thesis Optimizing cervical cancer prevention through screening and HPV vaccination Miriam Elfström describes, among other things, the long term efficacy of different screening strategies and the long term risks associated with HPV infection, the quality of different screening programmes and their organization, as well as the efficacy of different vaccination strategies. The aim of the research is to maximize the benefit of prevention initiatives in Sweden and Europe.

As a doctoral student Miriam Elfström was the first author of an article in the British Medical Journal and co-author of an article in the Lancet.

Prize winner 2014 - Daniel Ramsköld

Daniel Ramsköld received the prize for his thesis Progression of RNA-sequencing to single-cell applications.

Prize winner 2013 - Maryam Derogar

Maryam Derogar received the prize for her thesis Oesophageal cancer surgery - predictors of health-related quality of life and survival .