One of the two recent Lund University jubilee stamps depicts the young diabetes researchers Anna Edlund and Jones Ofori. They are pleased to be featured on the stamps – but it was a complete surprise to them both.
“Obviously we knew that our picture had been taken. A couple of years ago, there was a photographer here at CRC (Clinical Research Centre) who photographed the premises, labs and people. But the pictures were intended for various brochures, not stamps”, says Anna Edlund.
The images were then uploaded in the LU Image Bank, which PostNord used to select motifs for the jubilee stamps. The picture of Anna and Jones was selected as a good illustration of young research with an international character, and the production of the stamps began – but without informing the researchers themselves.
“The address they had was incorrect, so I never received an email about it”, says Jones Ofori.
“As for me, they did have the right address, and I received a couple of emails. But I never read them, because I thought they were spam. There was no reason for me to be receiving emails from PostNord, or so I thought…”, says Anna Edlund.
Thankfully, the two researchers were nothing but pleased to find out that their picture had been made into a stamp.
“All our friends and acquaintances think it’s cool that we’ve ended up on a stamp. I guess we’ll need to be sure to buy some stamps ourselves to give to our future children and grandchildren”, they say.
They are both part of a research group led by Professor Lena Eliasson. Anna Edlund is a postdoc who studies diabetes in patients suffering from the hereditary lung disease cystic fibrosis, CF. As much as half of all adult CF patients develop a special form of diabetes known as CF-related diabetes.
Cystic fibrosis used to lead to premature death, but through improved treatment the life expectancy of these patients has significantly increased. This means that they have more time to develop diabetes, which has made the connection between CF and diabetes into a new area of research.
“We believe that the protein which is mutated and defective in cases of CF not only affects the lungs but also insulin secretion”, says Anna Edlund. She has received a research grant from a patient organisation in the UK, where CF is more common than in Sweden.
Jones Ofori is a doctoral student who conducts research on microRNAs in insulin-producing beta cells. MicroRNA is a type of genetic material that was previously considered insignificant as it does not code for proteins. However, on the contrary, it has now been shown to play an important role, as it contributes to the regulation of various gene activities, which may have an impact on diseases.
“For example, we discovered that microRNAs in beta cells from patients with type 2 diabetes are not the same as microRNAs in beta cells from healthy individuals”, says Jones Ofori.
Jones Ofori is from Ghana and originally came to LU to study a Master’s programme in molecular biology and biotechnology.
“Master’s programmes in Sweden were free at the time, and the course in Lund seemed very interesting. After completing the programme, I was appointed to a PhD position here. I hope to continue to conduct research either at LU or elsewhere after my public defence next year”, he says. It probably won’t be in Ghana, however, as advanced diabetes research is not conducted there, although diabetes is present.
MORE ABOUUT ANNA EDLUND and JONES OFORI
WORK: diabetes research at the Clinical Research Centre in Malmö
INTERESTS: flea markets and TV shows such as Westworld and Game of Thrones (Anna), football and gospel music (Jones)
FAMILY: live-in partner, son about to turn 6 and daughter age 3 (Anna); wife, and a daughter about to turn 2 (Jones)