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Ole Bækgaard is the new head of the Department of Public Health

From the turn of the year, 56-year-old Professor Ole Bækgaard Nielsen will take up the position of department head at the Department of Public Health. With his appointment, the department is getting someone who is both an ‘outsider’ and has in-depth knowledge of Health’s culture and managerial work.

2017.11.21 | Sabina Bjerre Hansen

Ole Bækgaard has spent many years working at Biomedicine, where he is known as an outstanding researcher and lecturer.

Ole Bækgaard has spent many years working at Biomedicine, where he is known as an outstanding researcher and lecturer.

The Department of Public Health's new head is a familiar face at Health. Ole Bækgaard Nielsen is currently professor of medical physiology at the Department of Biomedicine, and he also runs a pharmaceutical company that he co-founded. He has both a Master’s degree in biology and a PhD from Aarhus University and has been employed at the Department of Biomedicine (and before that at the former Department of Physiology and Biophysics) since 1993. However, apart from various research collaborations with several of the department's employees, the Department of Public Health is a new experience for him. 

"I look forward to welcoming Ole Bækgaard Nielsen as the new head of the Department of Public Health. Ole is known as a highly competent researcher and a brilliant lecturer, and he also brings experience of international collaboration and fundraising. He has high ambitions and exciting visions for the department, along with a sympathetic management style and understanding of others," says Dean Lars Bo Nielsen.

Respect for academic quality

Ole Bækgaard Nielsen is looking forward to taking up the position and is particularly excited to be able to combine a management position with the opportunity to get closer to the type of university research that is very much in tune with his own interest in the relationship between physiology, health and quality of life.    

"I have great respect for academic quality and for knowledge in its many expressions. As far as management goes, I believe that you achieve the best results by incorporating the employees' expertise and experience and by providing a good and secure framework for self-determination. I look forward to getting to know both the employees and the department," says Ole Bækgaard Nielsen.

A thank you to Klavs Madsen

Klavs Madsen will continue as acting department head at the Department of Public Health and as a member of the faculty management team until Ole Bækgaard Nielsen takes up the position.

“I am very pleased with the way Klavs has taken on the major task of heading the department for the past eighteen months. He is handing over a well-functioning department to the new department head. Klavs should be very satisfied with the work he has done, not just for the department, but also for the entire faculty. I am very thankful for his efforts," says Lars Bo Nielsen.

Facts about Ole Bækgaard Nielsen

  • Born in 1961.
  • Graduated from Aarhus University with a Master's degree in biology in 1990 before subsequently getting a PhD degree from the same university.
  • His scientific work has had particular focus on oxygen transport in the body and neuromuscular function in relation to physical activity and disease.
  • Heads a research group with 12 members.
  • Has published 64 original articles, reviews and patents in the field of physiology.
  • Was deputy department head at the Department of Biomedicine between 2014-2016.
  • Has been named Lecturer of the Year at medicine four times, most recently in 2016.
  • Is the co-founder and a member of the management team of NMD Pharma Aps which currently has 25 employees.
  • Has participated in several working groups under the Dean's Office, including groups working on the accreditation of medicine and the revision of the medical degree programme.
  • Is a member of the board of the Danish University Extension in Aarhus.
  • Is married to Anne Mette, who is a physiotherapist. They have a 24-year-old daughter, Nete.
  • Has previously played basketball at a high level and been both coach and referee within youth basketball. 


People news, Administration (Academic), Technical / administrative staff, Department of Public Health, Health, Academic staff, Department of Biomedicine, PhD students, Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine