Professor of Medicine Søren Riis Paludan has been awarded the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research for his innovative research into how viral infections activate the immune system.
The fundamental question in Søren Riis Paludan’s research is how the immune system detects infections and initiates beneficial – or sometimes harmful – reactions to eliminate viruses. His research was made even more relevant by the Covid-19 pandemic, which highlighted the fact that the same virus can cause a range of different symptoms in different people.
Søren Riis Paludan has identified basic mechanisms in the immune response and, by doing so, has made a significant contribution to scientific knowledge that has paved the way for new vaccines and the treatment of diseases such as herpes, HIV and hepatitis – and most recently Covid-19. His approach to infection immunology has led to several ground-breaking discoveries and has changed the way we understand the immune system.
Over the last two years, Søren Riis Paludan has appeared in the Danish and international media more than 4,500 times, and he has thus played a vital role in informing the public about Covid-19 and helping society navigate the pandemic. He used his talent for communication to establish a dialogue between scientific experts and the general population at a time when clear answers to questions about the global health crisis were urgently required.
Søren Riis Paludan’s research is frequently cited, and he has received a number of awards and grants, including the Elite Research Prize and an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. He collaborates with the pharmaceutical industry, and his laboratory is part of a consortium established by Bavarian Nordic to develop a Covid-19 booster vaccine.