The VINNOVA State programme VINNMER has been created to enhance the opportunities of female researchers to develop their careers after obtaining their doctorates, and is aimed at postdoctoral researchers in areas where a better gender balance is needed. VINNOVA and the EU are investing a total of SEK 600 million in the programme, which in this cycle is paying half the salaries of 17 promising female researchers to work in a leading research environment.
Diabetes and obesity
One of those selected is Karin Lindkvist in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology of the University of Gothenburg. She is now being given an opportunity to develop her research on how sugar is transported to human cells in cooperation with Lund University.
“It is very important to check how much sugar passes into the cell. An example of where this fails to work is in diabetics, who have excessively high sugar levels in their blood because their cells can not take up the sugar. Obesity may also be due to the transport of glycerol (which later on transforms into sugar) from the fat cell not working properly,” she says.
Sugar transporters also play a role in the uncontrolled spread of cancer cells. A raised level of sugar transporters is a marker that the cell may be diseased, and it is therefore very important to understand the function of sugar transporters in order to understand and be able to treat these diseases.
A total of nearly 150 postdoctoral researchers will have an opportunity to gain further research qualifications over the period 2007-2014 based on strategic cooperation, in which VINNOVA funds up to half the researchers’ salaries for three years.