EuroTech Future Award 2024 for research into Parkinson’s disease

The winner of the EuroTech Future Award 2024,   Patricia Mora from the Technion
The winner of the EuroTech Future Award 2024, Patricia Mora from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, is delighted with the award.


Winners of the international competition for young researchers have been announced

New approaches to treating Parkinson’s disease and venomous snake bites as well as nanocoatings with applications in areas as diverse as hydrogen production, wastewater treatment, and the healthcare sector: For the second time, the six EuroTech universities have presented the EuroTech Future Award to three promising young researchers for their contributions to a more sustainable future. They were honored at a ceremony in Brussels.

28 young researchers had applied for the EuroTech Future Award 2024. In the end, Patricia Mora from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Yudong Xue from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Melisa Benard Valle from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) came out on top. The jury, made up of the Vice Presidents for Research of the six EuroTech member universities and the Head of the EuroTech office in Brussels, Tatiana Panteli, assessed the impact of the candidates’ work on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, their excellence as researchers and their ability to communicate about their work in a way that non-experts, especially policymakers, and citizens, can understand their contribution to a more sustainable world.

Tatiana Panteli said: "We are proud to have such great talents in the EuroTech Universities Alliance. Their work not only pushes the boundaries of scientific discovery but also offers practical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from neurological diseases and renewable energy to environmental protection and healthcare. The care of our planet lies in the capable hands of young researchers who are passionate about advancing research for the benefit of humankind."

  1. Patricia Mora, Technion Patricia Mora is a pharmacist with a PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Avi Schroeder’s laboratory at the Technion. She is working on neurological diseases:

    "Neurological diseases are the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death. Nanomedicine offers new therapeutic possibilities, namely the targeted administration of genes and proteins that conventional therapies cannot achieve. To reach the central nervous system (CNS), the blood-brain barrier (BBB) must be overcome. In my last project, we developed a system that can cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver antibodies to the CNS to treat Parkinson’s disease and improve the motor skills of diseased mice. The results obtained were exciting, but the number of particles needed was very high. Therefore, my next research task is to increase the uptake of the nanoparticles into the brain. Following the popular fairy tale "The Pied Piper of Hamelin", I propose to open the way into the brain for nanomedicines through music. Since stimulating the brain can increase glucose demand, I would like to utilize the increased glucose consumption to deliver the nanoparticles directly into the CNS."
  2. Yudong Xue, EPFL Yudong Xue is a scientist at EPFL, Switzerland, financially supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship. He holds a PhD in Chemical Technology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing:

    "My research deals with cutting-edge nanocoatings. An important achievement is the development of advanced coatings for electrolytic water splitting to produce clean and renewable hydrogen. These coatings, produced using advanced atomic layer deposition techniques, outperform existing alternatives and offer a sustainable solution for large-scale hydrogen production. Another breakthrough is the development of nanocoatings for environmental catalysis that effectively treat high-salinity wastewater and organic pollutants. This innovation has the potential to revolutionize wastewater treatment by achieving almost 100 percent pollutant degradation. In the healthcare sector, my research has extended the life of adsorbents for medical oxygen concentrators through the use of nanocoatings. This development is particularly important for regions with limited access to healthcare resources and could improve the availability and affordability of oxygen therapy devices."
  3. Melisa Benard Valle, Technical University of Denmark Melisa Benard Valle is a biologist with a keen interest in the function of snake venoms. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Biotechnology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Currently, Melisa is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Antibody Technologies at DTU:

    "My research is focused on developing a new generation of recombinant antidotes to overcome the drawbacks of current treatments. I am using a technology called phage display to discover a special type of antibody, called nanobodies, that can neutralize the effects of the most dangerous toxins in coral snake venoms. Nanobodies are small, fast-acting molecules that are stable even at high temperatures, making them an excellent treatment option in tropical developing countries. So far, I have neutralized the lethality of complete poisons with a mixture of just two nanobodies. The resulting antivenom has the potential to be more effective and more broadly neutralizing than the current treatment while allowing for animal-free production, lower cost, and reduced risk of side effects."


To read the full abstracts and learn more about the winners’ backgrounds, visit https://eurotech-universitie­s.eu/eurot­ech-future­-award-202­4/winners/ . For more information about the EuroTech Future Award, visit www.future-award.eu.