A unanimous prize committee named Marie Lagerquist as the recipient of this year’s Dr. Eric K Fernström Prize in Gothenburg, also known as the Minor Fernström Prize. The day after being surprised by the call from Olle Larkö, a happy Marie Lagerquist tells us: “It feels great to number among those who have received this award. The prize is strong confirmation that you are doing something well.”
The motivation for the award was: Marie Lagerquist is awarded the prize for new models explaining how estrogen deficiency leads to brittle bones and increased risk of fractures. Her discovery that estrogen signaling in the central nervous system can affect bone mass has attracted great attention internationally.
Marie Lagerquist works at the Center for Bone and Arthritis Research. Nearly 15 years have passed since she began studying how estrogen affects the skeleton. During her post-doctoral work at the Department of Rheumatology, she also specialized in immunology.
“We know that estrogen counteracts brittle bone disease, but the substance has severe side effects, including breast cancer. My research seeks to understand the basic mechanisms behind this estrogen effect and to separate the favorable and negative factors to make it possible, in the future, to create a synthetic estrogen compound against brittle bones caused by inflammation.”
Marie’s dream is that her research would result in a drug against brittle bones caused by inflammation, and her research team’s discovery that estrogen signaling in the nervous system affects bone mass is a step towards that goal.
Personally she enjoys running in her free time – preferably around the lake in Lindome where she lives. Before her three children were born, Marie played a lot of soccer and she has managed to pass on that interest to her daughters.
Each year, the Eric K. Fernström Foundation awards six prizes of SEK 100,000 apiece to young, promising and successful researchers. These researchers are selected by local prize committees at Sweden’s six medical faculties. During 2012–2014 the committee at the Sahlgrenska Academy consists of: Olle Larkö (Chairman), Eva Forsell-Aronsson, Marianne Jertborn, Kristina Malmgren, Annika Rosengren, Pierre Aman and Claes Gustafsson.