Henrik Toft Sørensen, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, is receiving the 2023 prize, accompanied by 1.5 million DKK.
He receives the Prize in recognition of his major contribution to epidemiological research in Denmark and internationally, describes Novo Nordisk Foundation in a press release.
In 2000, Henrik Toft Sørensen established the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University Hospital, and in just over 20 years the department has grown from three employees to today employing 90 researchers.
“His research efforts in clinical epidemiology have been groundbreaking, especially in how he has used Denmark’s registries, clinical databanks and biobanks to investigate the trajectory of chronic diseases over the life-course.”
“Unique and groundbreaking are two words definitely associated with Henrik Toft Sørensen’s work. His research efforts in clinical epidemiology have been groundbreaking, especially in how he has used Denmark’s registries, clinical databanks and biobanks to investigate the trajectory of chronic diseases over the life-course. He has also built a unique research community and trained many researchers in clinical epidemiology,” says Susanne Axelsen, Chair of the Organization of Danish Medical Societies and Chief Physician, Aarhus University Hospital.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Organization of Danish Medical Societies award the 1.5 million DKK Prize, comprising a personal award of 250,000 DKK and a research grant of 1.25 million DKK.
“I am deeply honoured to receive the Prize, also because it is based on the recommendation of my colleagues and the medical community in Denmark. I am also particularly proud that the department I helped to start has been sustained for more than 20 years and has helped to train the next generation of excellent clinicians and epidemiologists in the form of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Fourteen of those with whom I have worked in my department over time are now professors in Denmark and elsewhere. I am proud of that,” says Henrik Toft Sørensen.
Registries and clinical databases
Henrik Toft Sørensen’s research has been centred around registries and clinical databases, which contain information in understanding disease trajectories over decades. He has even helped to establish several databases himself that are now the sources for carrying out research.
“Specifically, he has spent a large part of his career on understanding the connection between venous thrombosis (blood clot), arterial cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
Specifically, he has spent a large part of his career on understanding the connection between venous thrombosis (blood clot), arterial cardiovascular disease and cancer. This has led to much better insight into why people with cancer develop blood clots in the legs and lungs; how to use blood clots as a marker for as yet unrecognised cancer; how blood clots in the heart and lungs are associated with worse prognosis for cancer; and why people with blood clots in the legs and lungs without cancer die prematurely up to 30 years later.
He is today deeply committed to starting research projects that will enable the world to learn more about people with multiple morbidities. As the population ages, the number of people with more than one chronic disease will increase. According to Toft Sørensen, having an overview of what leads to multiple morbidities and the outcomes of people with more than one disease is important.
“We would like to conduct much more research on this topic, because it is important for both many people and the healthcare system, which has to take care of them. Thus, we need to understand illness as not only something that affects the individual but also as one part of the health of the entire population, which ultimately determines the number of people hospitalised and how much pressure the healthcare system is under,” states Henrik Toft Sørensen.
The Marie and August Krogh Prize
The Marie and August Krogh Prize was established in 1969 and is awarded annually to an outstanding health researcher in Denmark. The Board of the Organization acts as the Prize committee, and the Foundation provides the accompanying funds. Affiliated members of the Organization of Danish Medical Societies may nominate candidates for the Prize.
Photo: Lone Rasmussen