Project on Parkinson’s disease wins PhD prize

A PhD project of high international standard on Parkinson’s disease wins an Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD prize, which will be awarded on 25 May 2012.


Malene Flensborg Damholdt

Malene Flensborg Damholdt completed her PhD thesis at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences in 2011 and is now employed at the department as a research assistant.

Her thesis is an impressive PhD project of high international standard on Parkinson’s disease. Basically, she explores the illness from various angles with a view to clarifying its status as a disease and shedding light on the cognitive and emotional changes related to this neurodegenerative affliction.

Malene Flensborg Damholdt’s research contributes in particular with new and relevant clinical knowledge about how testing the sense of smell can help to identify serious cognitive problems and the possibilities for early intervention. The project has resulted in three important scientific articles, a chapter in a book and the PhD thesis itself, which all contribute to the field. One of the articles has been published in the prestigious international periodical for this special field, “Movement Disorders”.

Malene Flensborg Damholdt’s research activities involved a vast amount of work in which she personally spent more than 600 hours questioning patients with Parkinson’s disease and healthy elderly people in their own homes. This impressive achievement has resulted in a large and valuable body of data which will serve as a basis for several new articles. The PhD project also stands out for being a model interdisciplinary exercise between the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Aarhus University and highly specialist departments at Aarhus University Hospital.

Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD prizes – in brief

Every year, the Aarhus University Research Foundation awards PhD prizes to promising young researchers who concluded their PhD at Aarhus University the previous year. At the University’s 75th anniversary in 2003, five recently qualified PhDs received prizes for the first time in recognition of their research work, and since then the prize-giving has been an annual event. The prize comes with a sum of DKK 50,000.

The Aarhus University Research Foundation’s PhD prizes will be presented on Friday 25 May 2012, and the ceremony will take place at 11 - 13.30 in the Main Hall at Aarhus University (entry from Nordre Ringgade, building 1410).