Professor Ashcroft wins Jacobaeus Prize

Frances Ashcroft, Professorial Fellow in Physiology, has won the Novo Nordisk Foundation Jacobæus Prize 2014 for her outstanding work within the ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels and their role in insulin secretion. The prize is awarded annually by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to an internationally recognized researcher for extraordinary achievements within medical research.

Professor Ashcroft has discovered that the ATP‐sensitive potassium (KATP) channel serves as the molecular link between glucose elevation and insulin secretion. Mutations in KATP channel genes cause a rare inherited form of diabetes (neonatal diabetes), and her work has helped enable patients with this disorder to switch from insulin injections to drug therapy.

The Jacobæus Prize is the oldest prize of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It was established in 1939 to commemorate the Swedish professor Hans Christian Jacobæus. The purpose of the prize is to promote medical research and is awarded annually to a distinguished international researcher, who is invited to give a lecture on his or her research on a topic within physiology or endocrinology. The prize includes an award of DKK 100,000. The prize is awarded under the auspices of the Nordic Research Committee of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, with lectures being held mainly at Scandinavian universities or in other European cities and towns connected with medical research.

Hans Christian Jacobæus (1879–1937) was a Swedish professor and pioneering clinical researcher who developed a method for exploring the pleural cavity (thoracoscopy) using a cystoscope, which greatly improved the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases, especially tuberculosis. Hans Christian Jacobæus served on the Board of the Nordisk Insulin Foundation from its inception in 1926 until his death.

Professor Ashcroft will receive the prize and give a lecture at a ceremony in Copenhagen in December.

Professor Ashcroft

"It is a very great honour to be awarded the 2014 Jacobeaus Prize. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious prizes in science and it recognizes not only my contribution, but also that of my team and collaborators. I look forward to visiting Copenhagen to present our latest work on the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of insulin secretion in health and in diabetes."