Presented annually in recognition of groundbreaking interdisciplinary research founded on engineering science, Professor Uhlén was chosen to receive the 2005 honor for his unique research in the field biotechnology and his ability to bridge research and industry.
“It is heartening to be able to award this year’s prize to one of the most important innovators in Swedish industry today,” said Professor Anders Blom, Chairman of the jury and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, which bestowed the honor.
Co-founder of several biotech companies, Professor Uhlén is the creator of a KTH project to map human proteins. Of the total set of around 22,000 proteins, around five to ten are mapped each day and Professor Uhlén’s project is considered to be the biggest in the world into protein research. Given that 98% of all drugs are created to act on proteins in the body, the project is also one of the most important for the future development of new drugs.
“All medical researchers will benefit from the knowledge we are creating today,” explained Professor Uhlén. “Our database will be a cornerstone in the development of new drugs.”
Now in its 35th year, the Akzo Nobel Science Award alternates between Sweden and the Netherlands and has been presented in Sweden since 1999.
“This is a way of rewarding able researchers and at the same time we hope it increases the knowledge of, and interest in, science among young people,” said Leif Darner, Member of the Akzo Nobel Board of Management and Chairman of the Akzo Nobel Science Award foundation. “Mathias Uhlén is a most worthy prize winner and a perfect example of the type of innovative, groundbreaking scientist which the Award was set up to recognize.”
Professor Uhlén – who will officially receive the Award in Stockholm on March 15 – has co-founded six new companies based on his research: Pyrosequencing (now Biotage), Affibody, Magnetic Biosolutions, Creative Peptides, SweTree Genomics and Visual Bioinformatics.