4 December 2018

iPSC and Cystic Fibrosis – one of three best Forskerspire projects in Health Sciences category


One of the three finalists of Forskerspire 2018, Health Sciences category is Emilie Munk from Bagsværd Gymnasium, for her project about iPSC and cystic fibrosis. The project was supervised by Senior Scientist Mette Christine Jørgensen from the Serup research group at DanStem.

Emilie’s research question was to explore if it is possible to treat cystic fibrosis, focused on the pancreas, with induced pluripotent stem cells.

“I am very interested in stem cells and the opportunities they create to treat various diseases. Therefor I had read about the research conducted on treating diabetes with stem cells, which I found very interesting. In addition to that, I learned that many patients that suffer from cystic fibrosis develop diabetes caused by their disease. On top of that, many patients suffer from malnutrition because of their damaged pancreas. Therefor I thought it would be interesting to study the possibilities of developing a treatment, which would give the patients a functional pancreas, so their quality of life and health could improve.” Explains Emilie

Photo: Emilie presenting her project to Henrik C. Wegener, Rector of Copenhagen University, and Tommy Ahlers, Minister of Higher Education and Science.

During her research Emilie has discovered that a group of scientists had made healthy iPSC’s from a patient with cystic fibrosis. “My focus was therefor on finding a method to differentiate iPSC’s to healthy pancreatic duct cells, which are the cells affected in cystic fibrosis. In my project, I described a method, which I believe could be used to differentiate healthy pancreatic duct cells from iPSC. It should however be noted that I was not supposed to perform an experiment, so my project is from a purely theoretical point of view”, adds Emillie.

“It was definitely more challenging than the classes I usually have in high school and at certain times, it seemed almost impossible to finish the project. That being said, it was great to be challenged and fantastic to work on something that I am very interested in”, summarizes Emilie.Link to the project: iPSC til behandling af cystisk fibrose med fokus på pancreas

Forskerspire  is a nationwide competition offering high school students the opportunity to engage in topics of their choice and prepare a research proposal for a scientific project. The competition lasts over a year, where at the end of October, the students are required to submit a synopsis to a research project. A judge committee selects the three best projects in each of the categories: HUM, NAT, SAMF and SUND. A winner in each of the four categories receives a prize of 20,000 DKK to execute a research project.

109 students have submitted a synopsis for the Forskerspire in 2018