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2023 Basic Science Research Grant winner: Stefan Dudli

The ISSLS Research Grant Award Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2023 Basic Science Research Grant Award is Stefan Dudli, from the Center of Experimental Rheumatology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Dr Dudli will attend the 2024 ISSLS Annual Meeting in Milan, where he will present his Progress Report at the Fellowship Awards Ceremony.

Congratulations to Dr Dudli and his team for an outstanding submission.

Title: Bacteria-induced trained immunity in disc cells of Modic changes

ISSLS sincerely thanks Kaken Pharmaceutical Co Ltd and Seikagaku Corporation for their generous support of this award.

A call for applications for the 2024 Basic Science Research Grant will be announced in October 2023 

The ISSLS Basic Science Research Grant, with US$20,000 in prize money, is generously supported by Kaken Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd and Seikagaku Corporation. This grant promotes basic research into the Lumbar Spine.

Description: The research proposal should be in the field of basic science (including biomechanical science). At least one investigator must be a current ISSLS member. The research proposal will be judged on significance, quality of the hypothesis, experimental protocol and feasibility. Projects that intend to use the ISSLS funding to lead to other larger funding sources are encouraged but must have a strong plan for further funding. The winning proposal will receive a US$20,000.00 award. The principal investigator must be 45 years of age or younger. The research funds cannot be used as a salary for any of the investigators. The recipient will provide a written progress report to the Research Grant Committee, four weeks prior to the following year’s Annual Meeting and make a presentation during the Fellowship Ceremony of that Annual Meeting.

The announcement of the 2023 winner will be made at the ISSLS Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia, May 1-5 2023, during the Fellowship Ceremony. At the same Fellowship Meeting, the winner of the 2022 Research Grant will make their presentation.

The winner of the 2024 award is required to attend the 2025 Annual Meeting. Exceptions to this condition will only be considered in very extraordinary circumstances.


The ISSLS Basic Science Research Grant is sponsored by Kaken Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd and Seikagaku Corporation for US$20,000 per year. Research costs, only, will be covered by the award. No indirect/overhead costs will be covered by the award.

The award will be judged by the Research Grant Committee:

ISSLS Secretary – Daisuke Sakai (Chair)
ISSLS President – Kazuhiro Chiba
1st Vice President – Peter Robertson
2nd Vice President – Yong Hai
Scientific Representatives – Hiroshi Hashizume, Karin Wuertz, Sibylle Grad

Proposal Format:

  • Background, Identification of Critical Lack of Knowledge, Preliminary Data, Significance, Hypothesis, Specific Aims: 2 page limit
  • Detailed Experimental Protocol to achieve each specific aim with expected findings and possible interpretations, pitfalls: 5 page limit
  • Further funding plans: 1 page limit
  • Reference: No limit
  • Brief biography indicating the qualifications to perform the research of Principal Investigator and all Co-investigators (1 page limit per person).
  • Curriculum Vitae of Principal Investigator and Co-investigators should be included
  • Statement that the applicant, if they win the award and accept the prize money, will attend the ISSLS Annual Meeting in Milan 2024 to present their progress report and receive their certificate at the Fellowship Ceremony

E-mail the application documentation as a single PDF document together with the completed Application Form to the ISSLS Administrative office:

The 2024 Basic Research Grant applications will open in October, 2023.

Previous winners (formally the ISSLS Research Grant, sponsored by Taisho Pharmaceutical)

  • 2022: Dr Frances Bach, Utrecht University, Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, The Netherlands, was awarded the Research Grant. As she has now left that institution, Josette van Maanen has continued the project and presented her progress report at the Fellowship Ceremony of the ISSLS Annual Meeting, combined with Spineweek, in Melbourne, Australia.
    Title: The effect of notochordal extracellular vesicles on human and bovine nucleus pulpous explants. Read Report
  • 2020: Dr Graciosa P. Teixeira, Institute of Orthopaedic Research and Biomechanics, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.
    Title: Does complement deficiency influence intervertebral disc phenotype? Insights from C6 and CD59 deficient mice organ culture investigations. Read Report
  • 2019: Dr Olga Krupkova, Laboratory for Immunoengineering and Regenerative Medicine, Zurich, Switzerland.
    Title: Cell-based delivery of GDF-5 for regeneration of the intervertebral disc using CRISPR. Read Report
  • 2018: Hugo Massé-Alarie, The University of Queensland, Australia. Read Final Report, Read Progress Report