Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Cilla Weigelt: The Inaugural Cilla Weigelt Awards Recognize Excellence in Rare Disease Research

The Cilla Weigelt Awards for 2022 and 2023 were recently presented at the Chiesi premises on the Karolinska Institutet campus, honoring outstanding achievements in rare disease research. Established in memory of Dr. Cilla Weigelt, the Cilla Weigelt Award aims to encourage and support doctoral students at Swedish universities focusing on identifying molecular mechanisms relevant to rare and under-treated diseases.

Claes Andersson, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for the rare disease-focused company Chiesi in Sweden, joined Johan Weigelt, Cilla's husband and the first CSO for SGC Karolinska, in commemorating her legacy during the ceremony, which took place on November 13, 2023. In a moment of celebration, the spotlight shone on the outstanding work of Alexandra Argyriou and Mireia Cruz De los Santos, both Ph.D. students at Karolinska Institutet, as they were named the recipients of the Cilla Weigelt Awards for 2022 and 2023.

Left to right: Marianne van Hage, Andreas Gidlöf, Mireia Cruz de los Santos, Claes Andersson, Alexandra Argyriou, Pia Hydén, Johan Weigelt (Photo courtesy of Michael Sundström).

The Cecilia Weigelt Prize was created as a joint effort of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), Chiesi and a supportive network of friends and family. Administered by the Center for Molecular Medicine Foundation (CMM) at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, the prize is designed to recognize PhD students working on rare diseases. Through a supervisor nomination process, the prize provides a platform for these students, with the evaluation of proposals and selection of awardees overseen by an independent scientific committee.

In SGC, we take pride in our commitment to ensuring that Dr. Cilla Weigelt's legacy thrives, supporting and nurturing the next generation of scientific leaders.

About Cilla Weigelt:

Cecilia "Cilla" Weigelt (born Gidlöf) obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Immunology from Uppsala University in 1998. In 2000, she joined the Danish-Swedish biotechnology company HemeBiotech as the Head of Cell Biology. She remained with the company (later renamed to Zymenex, which was subsequently acquired by Chiesi Group in 2013) throughout her career. During this time, she made significant contributions to several drug discovery and development projects focused on the treatment of rare diseases. Cilla always supported younger researchers and was driven by the goal of helping patients who lacked adequate treatment for devastating illnesses. Cilla Weigelt passed away in 2021 at the age of 51 after living with breast cancer for ten years.

glqxz9283 sfy39587stf02 mnesdcuix8