OUS Researcher Awards 2024 Excellent researcher awards to Kjetil Taskén, Chloé B. Steen and Andreas Kleppe

Three Oslo University Hospital scientists received prestigous awards for their outstanding research on Friday June 14th.

The major prize - the "Excellent Researcher Award" - went to Kjetil Taskén.

Chloé Beate Steen and Andreas Kleppe both received the "Early Career Award".

The prize money - 400.000 and 200.000 NOK respectively - is earmarked for research activities.

The awards are distributed anually in order to honour excellent scientific work. The awarding process is organized by the hospital's research committee, while an external Scientific Advisory Board has evaluated the candidates. 

About this year's award winners:

Excellent Researcher Award

Kjetil Taskén:

Kjetil Taskén is head of the Institute for Cancer Research at the Division of Cancer Medicine, and professor at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.


Committee statement:

Professor Kjetil Taskén is Head of the Institute for Cancer Research (ICR) and Director of the OUH Centre for Precision Cancer Medicine. His work traces back to strong experimental science within tumour immunology, focusing on unraveling mechanisms behind immune escape. His findings related to mechanisms of activation of T regulatory cells and pathways that these cells use to suppress T effector cells have resulted in clinical trials and stimulated attempts to develop novel classes of drugs targeting e.g., prostaglandin E2 signaling. He has increasingly focused on translational aspects of cancer immunology, characterizing mechanisms of activation, levels and signaling pathways of T regulatory cells in many different types of cancer, and he has explored the repurposing of several classes of drugs as inhibitors of these cells. He has further identified new chemical entities activating and inhibiting FoxP3, the defining transcription factor for T regulatory cells, which are being explored for therapeutic purposes, and he has established methods for cancer drug sensitivity screening in cell lines, primary cells and organoids derived from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma and some lymphomas, with the aim to stratify patients for clinical trials.

As a leader of the Institute for Cancer Research and OUH Centre for Precision Cancer Medicine, he has established and leads a strong, vibrant end expanding environment for cancer research at the hospital. Furthermore, he is a leading force in a national precision cancer medicine effort, coordinating an impressive network of oncology, hematology and pathology departments across the country. Broad gene panel testing is implemented on a national scale and national molecular tumour boards have been established, with recruitment of patients into innovative clinical trials with links to both industry and international initiatives.

Professor Taskén has emerged as a front figure of Precision Cancer Medicine in Norway. The strong, national initiatives pioneered by him form a basis for the systems change required to integrate state-of-the art technology into healthcare, providing frontline diagnostics and treatment to cancer patients with important scientific implications. His exceptional leadership skills significantly enrich the research environment at Oslo University Hospital, making him an ideal candidate for the 2024 Excellence Researcher Award.

Kjetil Taskén
The Cell Signalling and Immune Regulation research group, headed by Kjetil Taskén
The Department of Cancer Immunology
Institute for Cancer Research

Early Career Awards:

Chloé Beate Steen

Chloé Beate Steen is a researcher at the Department of Medical Genetics the Institute for Cancer Research, the Division of Laboratory Medicine.

Committe statement:

Chloé Beate Steen obtained her PhD at the University of Oslo in 2018 and now holds a position as researcher in the Department of Medical Genetics at Oslo University Hospital. She also has a position at the KG Jebsen Centre for B-cell malignancies, University of Oslo. After defending her thesis, she has been a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University 2018-2020. During this stay, she was awarded a personal fellowship from the American Association for Cancer Research. While at Stanford, she developed a machine learning framework for profiling cellular ecosystems. She has also generated one of the largest single cell RNA-sequencing dataset for diffuse Large B cell lymphoma and recently a novel framework for assigning single cells to spatial transcriptomics data. Since her return to Oslo, she has continued her research work on B cell lymphoma and was awarded the Young Cancer Research Award at Onkologisk Forum in 2023 for this work. In 2022, she received the highly competitive “Researcher Project for Young Talents” grant from the Research Council of Norway, focusing on breast cancer. The scientific skills demonstrated by Steen should be a great asset for Oslo University Hospital in the future.

Chloé Beate Steen
Project group Cancer Biology in Silico, headed by Chloé Beate Steen
Department of Medical Genetics

Andreas Kleppe

Andreas Kleppe is a senior researcher at Institute for cancer genetics and informatics at the Division of Cancer Medicine.

Committe statement:

Andreas Kleppe has a master’s degree and a PhD from the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo. He currently holds a position of Senior Researcher at the Institute for Cancer Genetics at Oslo University Hospital and Associate Professor at the University of Oslo. Kleppe has made several important scientific contributions of clinical relevance. Notably, he has developed new prognostic markers based on texture analysis for the characterization of chromatin organization in microscope images of cell nuclei. He has also developed a sample normalization method that was instrumental for the development of a pan-cancer prognostic marker based on chromatin heterogeneity and identified prognostically relevant cell nuclei for gynecological cancers. He has been involved in developing a deep learning marker for prediction of colorectal cancer outcome, has built a clinical decision support system to enhance clinical care using this deep learning marker and is the first author of a perspective article in Nature Reviews Cancer about how to design deep learning studies. Many of his contributions have been published in high impact journals. Andreas Kleppe stands out as a highly valuable resource at the Institute of Cancer Genetics and Informatics.

Andreas Kleppe
Institute for cancer genetics and informatics

News article from the main home page of Oslo University Hospital, where the award winners answer questions about their current research and how their findings may be of benefit for patients (text mostly in Norwegian):
Priser til fremragende forskere ved Oslo universitetssykehus 2024 (from www.oslo-universitetssykehus.no)

Previous award winners:
(click on year to read more)

Excellent Researcher Award
Early Career Award (alphabetically listed)
Bente Halvorsen
Kushtrim Kryeziu
Håvard O. Skjerven
Håvard Danielsen
Silje Fjellgård Jørgensen
Geir Ringstad.
Ragnhild A. Lothe
Marina Vietri
Lasse Pihlstrøm
Michael Bretthauer
Anna Hoffmann-Vold
Olav Kristianslund
Ole A. Andreassen
Mette Kalager
Anita Sveen
Arne Klungland
Kristina H. Haugaa
Lars Tjelta Westlye
Kirsten Sandvig
Johannes Espolin Roksund Hov
Tor Paaske Utheim
Pål Aukrust
Espen Melum
Therese Seierstad
Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale
Jan Terje Andersen
John Arne Dahl
Ludvig M. Sollid
Kyrre Eeg Emblem
Edward Leithe
Harald Stenmark
Guro Lind
Tom Hemming Karlsen
Page visits: 1636