Scientific Director Oluf Pedersen – University of Copenhagen

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Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research > Research > Section for Metabolic Genetics > Metabolic Genetics staff > Scientific Director Ol...

Scientific Director Oluf Pedersen

MD, DMSc, Professor and specialist - authorized in endocrinology and internal medicine. 

Curriculum Vitae

Current position
Director at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Section for Metabolic Genetics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). Professor of Molecular Metabolism and Metabolic Genetics, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

Education, Authorization, Clinical Career, University Faculties and International Academic Training
Medical Doctor (MD), University of Aarhus, DK (1972); Doctor of Medical Science (Dr Med), University of Aarhus (1983); Danish Health Board-authorized Specialist of Internal Medicine (1987) and Specialist of Endocrinology (1987); Chief Physician and Research Director at Steno Diabetes Centre and Hagedorn Research Institute, Copenhagen, a leading European and WHO-collaborative diabetes centre (1989 – 2010); Professor of Molecular Diabetology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen (Personal Chair) (1995-2000); during 2001-2011 a similar professor appointment at University of Aarhus; Professor of Molecular Metabolism at University of Copenhagen (from 2008-); Professor of Metabolic Genetics, University of Copenhagen (from 2010-); Visiting Professorships at Harvard Medical School, Boston (2 yrs), and Peking Union Medical College and Beijing Genomics Institute (1.5 yrs).

Leadership and Academic Supervision
Extensive leadership experiences with multidisciplinary clinical and basic research teams at Steno Diabetes Centre and Hagedorn Research Institute; Founder and Director of Lundbeck Foundation Centre for Applied Medical Genomics in Personalised Disease Prediction, Prevention and Care ( (2007-2014) - an international research centre of excellence with partners from all Danish Universities, Berkeley University, California and Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen; since 2010 director of Section of Metabolic Genetics, Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Basic Metabolic Research; University supervisor for 46 research fellows who have achieved their doctor of medicine (Dr. Med.) or their PhD degrees and for 50 master students.

Selected Examples of Research Innovation
Cell biology: Development of state-of-the-art methods for isolation of human fat cells and accurate measurement of polypeptide hormone binding, signaling and action in human adipocytes which have become standard within the research field; original studies demonstrating molecular causes of insulin resistance in human adipose cells and skeletal muscle tissue; first demonstration that physical contraction stimulates translocation of GLUT4 in skeletal muscle through a mechanism distinct from that of insulin.

Metabolic genetics: discovery of common and low-frequency gene variants associated with common cardio-metabolic traits through conduction of pioneering large-scale whole-exome sequencing studies with massive genotyping follow-up. Identification and characterization of multiple gene variants associated with distal and intermediary cardio-metabolic phenotypes.

Gut microbiomics: as a partner in the EU-Metahit initiative ( delivered contributions to the first and second metagenome-sequencing-driven gut microbial gene catalogue of 3.3 and 9.8 mio genes, respectively; with quantitative metagenomics demonstrated that about a fourth of the general white population is markedly deficient in gut microbiota diversity and abundance and featured by insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and proinflammation; reported the first quantitative metagenomics study of gut microbiota in diabetes and the discovery of a new biological fingerprint, gut enterotypes.

Clinical diabetology: contributed with new standards for type 2 diabetes treatments on the basis of findings from the Steno-2 landmark study: a randomized trial comparing the effects of an intensive multifactorial intervention with that of conventional treatment on angiopathy in high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes. The study demonstrated that 8 years of intensive intervention with realistic behavior modifications and individualized polypharmacy against all modifiable risk factors for vascular morbidity cuts the risk of diabetic comorbidities in heart, vessels, eyes and kidneys by half. Similarly, a follow-up assessment 13 years after the initiation of the trial showed a 50% reduction in overall mortality. The outcome of this first-in class structured multifactorial and whole-patient-care intervention approach has influenced current international guidelines for diabetes treatment. 

Publications and bibliometrics
Author or co-author of >640 scientific articles with >540 original papers in peer-reviewed journals including NEJM (5), Nature (5); Nature Biotechnology (2), Nature Methods (1), Nature Genetics (17), PNAS (3), Lancet (3), PLOS Genetics (6), Am J Hum Gen (4), J Clin Invest (10), Diabetes (72), Diabetologia (83); and 101 scientific reviews or textbook chapters; Web of Knowledge bibliometrics (Thomson Reuters); total citations 29,820; h-index: 77.

Other scientific activities
Invited lecturer at >500 international or national conferences. Dissemination of research outcome to the public through popular articles, science web castings, newspapers and magazines and national and international TV.

International and National Scientific Network Development Principal investigator (PI) partnerships in 7 EU-financed research consortia and 17 long-term research initiatives sponsored by the Danish Research Councils or private Danish research foundations; active partner in development of international scientific networks with the focus on human genetics, e. g. deCODE genetics, DIAGRAM, MAGIC, EGG, Beijing Genetics Institute (BGI), Shenzhen, Lund University, Turku University, Pasteur Institute in Lille and Imperial College in London, Oxford University, Michigan University, Berkeley University, BROAD Institute in Boston, more Universities in New Delhi and Chennai, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese-Japanese Friendship Hospital, Beijing RIKEN and Tokyo University and with focus on human gut microbiomics, e.g. INRA/MetaGenopolis  in Paris, DTU in Copenhagen, EMBL in Heidelberg, University of Gothenburg, VIB Bruxelles University, and BGI in Shenzhen.

Recognition and Offices of Honor
Received recognition including 14 international and national personal honorary awards of science (unsolicited); Knighthood of Queen Margrethe II; president and chair of the Danish Diabetes Association (1995-2000) – a NGO with about 70,000 members and a professional staff of 35; services as chairman or member on boards of scientific societies, biomedical councils, grant bodies and scientific journals.

Declaration of potential conflicts of interests
Project grant support:  Oluf Pedersen and his team of investigators have, together with allocation of competitive research grants from national and international public or private grant bodies, obtained unrestricted research grants from pharmaceutical industries. Lecture- and consulting fees: Oluf Pedersen reports travel-, congress- lecture- or consulting fees from Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Servier, Sanofi-Aventis, Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Probi and Eli Lilly.
Royalties: Oluf Pedersen reports royalty fees from medical and scientific textbooks.

Oluf Pedersen, Professor, MD, DMSCi,
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research,
DIKU, Universitetsparken 1, Copenhagen, Denmark
Phone: +45 3533 7121 OR 2938 2526 or PA Grete Lademann +45 3533 7122