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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.

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.

Previous prize winners

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 .