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Clinician with unique research talent receives the Skou Award 2018

Associate Professor, Medical Specialist and PhD Maiken Stilling from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital is one of a kind. She is an internationally recognised elite researcher, she manages a focused and ambitious clinical career on a full-time basis, and today she receives Health's most important award which honours Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou.

2018.10.11 | Sabina Bjerre Hansen

Maiken Stilling receives the Jens Christian Skou Award 2018. The award includes DKK 100,000 earmarked for her research into unstable or arthritic joints. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU.

Hip joints. Knee joints. Elbow joints and finger joints. All types of joints with instability or arthritis are the focal point for the research and clinical practice that this year's recipient of the Jens Christian Skou Award Maiken Stilling is dedicated to.

Maiken Stilling works both as a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and as a medical specialist at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Aarhus University Hospital. This type of double employment is not unusual – but Maiken certainly is. Very few talents even come onto consideration for Health's biggest research prize.

New approach to orthopaedic diagnostics

Maiken Stilling has dedicated her research to improving the durability and functionality of joint prostheses in patients with osteoarthritis. Together with her research team she has e.g. developed an automated technology platform (AutoRSA) that quality assures new implants and surgical techniques. She has also headed research that has developed and validated a new diagnostic imaging method, Dynamic RSA. Both methods are implemented in research contexts and have attracted considerable international interest.

"When we use Dynamic RSA, we can use a single study of the movement or joint strain that causes the patient pain to visualize e.g. the instability and dysfunction in a joint with ligament damage or in the micro movements of joint prostheses in a bone. This gives us an entirely new insight into and understanding of the problem and treatment," says Maiken Stilling.

She is the third recipient of the Jens Christian Skou Award, which was established in 2016.

I'm very proud and also a little overwhelmed

"Receiving the Jens Christian Skou Award is a great personal recognition. An award named after a Nobel Prize winner. It’s overwhelming. There are many talented and committed researchers at Health, so I really feel honoured to be chosen. At the same time, the award is a pat on the back and a source of motivation for my research group, the research field and orthopaedic research in general," says Maiken Stilling.

With the DKK 100,000 that comes with the award, she can begin the next development project earlier than expected. It aims to improve the AutoRSA analysis software and implement Dynamic RSA as a routine clinical examination.

Always goes the extra mile

Department Head Jørgen Frøkiær and Professor, Department Chair Kjeld Søballe, both from the Department of Clinical Medicine, nominated Maiken Stilling for the prestigious award. They are particularly impressed with her energy level while managing to combine full-time clinical work with research at the highest international level.

"Maiken is doing an amazing job. She is extraordinarily talented. Period. She is an outstanding researcher, a talented and innovative clinician, and what’s more, she’s also manager for three permanent employees while at the same time supervising ten PhD students and three research year students," says Kjeld Søballe and continues:

"What characterises Maiken is that she never ever cuts corners or takes the easy option. For example, she didn’t ‘just’ follow the mandatory internal and external research supervisor courses. Oh no, she has also taken an international project manager programme at Harvard Business School, so she’s as prepared as possible to undertake her responsibilities and tasks as research group leader and supervisor. And that’s typical of Maiken and her approach. She impresses me again and again," says Kjeld Søballe.

The Jens Christian Skou Award is given to the brightest talents
The Jens Christian Skou Award is made annually to a particularly promising junior researcher who has delivered excellent research within one or more of the Faculty of Health’s research areas.

The award is given to a junior researcher who is among the international elite. This researcher must be extraordinarily talented within his or her field of research and has to have already documented exceptional research creativity and productivity.

Want to find out more?
Read more about the Jens Christian Skou award in the article "New award at Health to honour research talents".

Read more about last year's winner, Simon Glerup, in the article "Extraordinary research talent receives the Jens Christian Skou award 2017".


Associate Professor, Medical Specialist, PhD Maiken Stilling
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and

Aarhus University Hospital, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Mobile: (+45) 5148 2033

Email: maiken.stilling@clin.au.dk

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