We are so proud of Dr. Johan Flygare and bursting with excitement and gratitude! The DBAF has enthusiastically funded numerous of his earlier DBA research projects anews_clip_image002nd this young researcher’s hard work and dedication have been rewarded!  The Ragnar Söderberg Foundation recently announced the Ragnar Söderberg Fellow  in Medicine 2013. Johan Flygare was one of the six scientists who received the grant, 8 million SEK over 5 years (that’s the Swedish equivalent to $1,218,640.00 US dollars!), which will enable him to continue his important work.

Dr. Flygare stated, “The support from the DBA Foundation has really been essential for my career! First, DBAF allowed me to stay on in Stefan Karlsson’s lab (Lund University, Sweden) for 6 months after my PhD to generate the DBA mouse model that we now use in many of our experiments. Next, funding from DBAF allowed me to hire Violeta Rayon Estrada (now a PhD student at Rockefeller) as my technical assistant during my postdoc in Harvey Lodish’s lab (Whitehead Institute, MIT). Working with Violeta has been  great fun and essential for my postdoc work. In 2011, funding from DBAF helped me establish my own research group back at Lund University, Sweden. Thank you so much!”

The research project’s first aim is to understand the signal that initiates red blood cell production in a cell. The project has already deciphered a large portion of the code, and by using it, has also been able to reprogram connective tissue cells from the skin to cells that produce red blood cells. By mapping mechanisms behind this discovery, we are discovering new ways to study and treat anemia.

The second aim of the project is to identify new targets for anemia treatment through increased understanding of the factors that stimulate and block the formation of the cells that produce red blood cells.

The third aim is to develop new drugs for patients with Diamond Blackfan Anemia. The project has already evaluated over 12,000 different substances and identified a group of molecules that can correct the underlying defect in this disease. The lab is now trying to understand and improve drug candidates so that they can be used to treat patients with Diamond Blackfan Anemia.

Congratulations and THANK YOU to one of the DBAF’s great investments and a true DBA champion! We are so proud!

Watch a video about Dr. Flygare here: http://ragnarsoderbergsstiftelse.se/filmen-om-johan-flygare