Sapere Aude – University of Copenhagen

Sapere Aude

At SCIENCE we have visionary researchers who have the courage to pursue bold research ideas. This trait is greatly appreciated at Independent Research Fund Denmark’s Sapere Aude programme, who have awarded several researchers at SCIENCE with a Sapere Aude grant.

The grants are awarded to Denmark’s most visionary and leading researchers to give them the best conditions to complete their research at high international level.

The Sapere Aude programme now consists of one grant; Sapere Aude Research Leader. Earlier it also consisted of the grants Sapere Aude Top Researcher and Sapere Aude Researcher Talent.

Below you can see a list of current Sapere Aude grants.

Christian Wulff-Nilsen - Department of Computer Science

Title: Dynamic and Static Graph Algorithms and Data Structures
Department: Department of Computer Science
Grant year: 2017

The purpose of the project is to research algorithms and data structures for dynamic and static graphs. An example of the practical use of Christian's research in dynamic graph theory is a GPS system, where you need to find the shortest paths or route while driving. Road networks are far from static - e.g. road works or major traffic jams may block the optimal route - and the use of algorithms and data structures for dynamic graphs help the GPS quickly search for alternative routes.

Kathrin Rousk - Department of Biology

Title: Climatic, ecological and molecular controls of nitrogen fixation in pristine ecosystems
Department: Department of Biology
Grant year: 2017

The project will identify the abiotic and biotic controls of nitrogen fixation in mosses from arctic tundra and tropical cloud forests. In these ecosystems, plant productivity is limited primarily by nitrogen (N). Here, mosses and associated N-fixing cyanobacteria play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem productivity by providing more than half to total ecosystem N input. However, the factors that control moss-associated N fixation are severely understudied, limiting our ability to predict climate change effects on this vital ecosystem function.

Marianne Nissen Lund - Department of Food Science

Title: INSITUQUANT: In situ quantification of protein modifications in foods
Department: Department of Food Science
Grant year: 2017

Food scientists will ensure that industrial food processing does not affect our health by developing better methods for characterising changes in the structure of food proteins. The goal is to improve food quality. The background for the new research project is the discovery that changes in food proteins during industrial processing can be studied by online monitoring.

Morten Allentoft - Natural History Museum of Denmark

Title: Centres of Evolution: A Genomic View on Speciation in Eastern Arc
Department: Natural History Museum of Denmark
Grant year: 2017

The project revolves around organism’s genomes, both old and new, extinct and living. The rain forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains in Kenya and Tanzania possess a high diversity of species, including many species, which can only be found here. By analyzing the complete genomes from a range of endemic Eastern Arc species, the project aims to uncover which evolutionary mechanisms are responsible for the extremely high biodiversity.

Niels Martin Møller - Department of Mathematical Sciences

Title: Geometry and Partial Differential Equations
Department: Department of Mathematical Sciences
Grant year: 2017

The project deals with the study of geometric spaces using the equations for optimal geometric shapes. A tangible example is the shortest paths between nearby points on a surface, such as on Earth. A differential equation can be used to study their properties. You cannot generally write down solutions for such complicated equations, but need to find new indirect methods to derive information about the behavior of the solutions.

Tomas Lauersen - Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Title: Directing plant metabolism towards formation of high value bioactive products
Department: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Grant year: 2017

The project revolves around optimizing the production of high value substances from plants in green microorganisms. The aim to follow the path of creation of forskolin, which is a diterpenoid that is produced in the roots of the plant Coleus forskohlii and can be used for the treatment of glaucoma and cardiovascular disease. The hypothesis is that the enzymes involved in the formation of forskolin are organized in well-defined complexes.

Micahel Pittelkow - Department of Chemistry

Title: From dynamic combinatorial libraries to applications in bioorganic chemistry
Department: Department of Chemistry
Grant year: 2015

This project examines different types of chemistry that act as the dynamic component in relation to dynamic combinational chemistry, as a tool to discover new catalyzers for chemical transformations. This will be done by recognizing and stabilizing transformation states for the reactions we wish to catalyze.

Poul Martin Bendix - Niels Bohr Institute

Title: Coupling cellular shapes with protein localization and function
Department: Niels Bohr Institute
Grant year: 2015

This project will examine how form and function interact with the organization of fat and proteins on the cell surface, with special emphasis on alterations of the shape in diseased cells. Finally, we will investigate how the organization of the cell’s surface also plays a crucial role in the cell’s communication with its environment.

Riikka Rinnan - Department of Biology

Title: Bidirectional exchange of reactive hydrocarbons between arctic ecosystems and the atmosphere
Department: Department of Biology
Grant year: 2015

The project will conduct a range of experiments to examine whether everything revolves around emission, or if the absorption of BVOC microorganisms in earth or leave surfaces have a significant impact. The new instrument also allows for the detection of variation over time in emissions/absorption of far more matters than before.

Elisenda Feliu - Department of Mathematical Sciences

Title: Algebraic methods for qualitative profiling of reaction networks
Department: Department of Mathematical Sciences
Grant year: 2014

This project focuses on the development of mathematical methods for analyzing mathematical models within molecular biology. The main purpose is to develop new mathematical theory to increase the understanding of the properties of models, as well as develop mathematical tools that can be implemented as software for non-mathematicians.

Albert Schliesser - Niels Bohr Institute

Title: Quantum Electrooptomechanics
Department: Niels Bohr Institute
Grant year: 2014

The project’s focus is to measure forces and fields using Nano mechanic oscillators at the quantum limit and investigate the limits for the precision of measurements in relation to the position of movement of mechanical objects.

Michael Kühl - Department of Biology

Title: Quantum efficiency and bio-optics of aquatic phototrophs
Department: Department of Biology
Grant year: 2013

This project aims to examine optic properties and utilisation of light in aquatic plants and photosynthesised microscale organisation. The challenges lie in understanding how photosynthesized organism’s microstructure and distribution affect the utilization of light in aquatic plants, symbioses and biofilm.