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VIDEO: Meet Ebbe Bødtkjer – one of the faculty's sharpest minds

Associate Professor, DMSc and PhD Ebbe Bødtkjer from the Department of Biomedicine receives the faculty’s most distinguished award, the Jens Christian Skou award. Meet a man who while still a student, was captivated by the human body’s fascinating ability to adapt to diseases.

2019.10.03 | Sabina Bjerre Hansen (tekst) og Simon Byrial Fischel (video)

Ebbe Bødtkjer was presented with the Jens Christian Skou Award at an event at Health on Friday, 4 February. October 2019. At the same time, he presented his research to the family and colleagues who had turned up to celebrate him. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU.

Ebbe Bødtkjer was presented with the Jens Christian Skou Award at an event at Health on Friday, 4 February. October 2019. At the same time, he presented his research to the family and colleagues who had turned up to celebrate him. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU.

He walks towards us smiling a little shyly. Ready for an interview about the award he will shortly receive. Still with a sense of modesty from his background in North Jutland, so he needs to try out the new title a few times: Skou award recipient. Not too bad, you sense.

During the interview, one of Ebbe Bødtkjer’s colleagues comes by. She is also proud. So proud that she films the interview on her mobile phone – so it can be saved in the research group's digital scrapbook, as she says.

Medicine was the gateway to research

Ebbe Bødtkjer is a qualified medical doctor, married to Donna from New Zealand, herself a researcher, and father to Jonathan, Ingrid and Halfdan aged 11, 8 and 2, respectively. He is also an extraordinarily focused and talented researcher. Otherwise, he would not receive an award reserved for the faculty’s most talented younger researchers.

Straight after upper secondary school, where physics and chemistry were his favourite subjects, he applied to the medical degree programme with the sole purpose of being able to carry out research.

“The intersection between medicine and the natural sciences has been my main interest since my undergraduate days. I was, and still am, particularly interested in studying the body’s normal functions. The body’s ability to adapt to diseases is fascinating,” says Bødtkjer, whose primary focus is circulatory physiology and cancer research.

Ebbe Bødtkjer is relaxed and self-assured as he talks enthusiastically about his research and its potential.

”Currently we’re developing pharmacological tools that target acid-base transporters. They look promising as future anti-cancer therapeutics,” he says.

“This is an example of the part of science I enjoy most, where you first look at new data and it indicates a new understanding of a hitherto unanswered question. That’s what I find really exciting,” he says.

Read more about Ebbe Bødtkjer’s research in the portrait on the Department of Biomedicine’s website.

Non-targeted research and groundbreaking results

When the conversation turns to the Skou award and why he is the recipient, he becomes contemplative.

"I began at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, where Skou had his impressive research career. I’ve always regarded him as a role model. Skou was more than a groundbreaking researcher. He was engaged in research policy and fought for non-targeted research. So it’s a big honour to receive an award named after him,” says Bødtkjer.

He also notes that being able to carry out research today comes with external funding as a fundamental condition.

"The award also brings positive awareness and I'm grateful for that. Also because it’s crucial for attracting funding and establishing ambitious research partnerships with the most talented researchers at home and abroad,” says Bødtkjer.

Ask Ole Steen Nielsen, who is vice-dean for research at Health, about Ebbe Bødtkjer and he will tell you that Ebbe is a humble and ambitious researcher who strives to make a difference for patients suffering from strokes, myocardial infarction and cancer.

A special calibre research talent

”Ebbe Bødtkjer is not just among the leading figures in the world in his research field. He demonstrates a lot of creativity in his approach to research, and at the same time he is also extremely productive. As I recall, he is either first- or last author on more than thirty scientific publications. On top of that, he’s brought in more than thirty million Danish kroner in external research funding. It’s all really impressive, and it makes me proud to have talents of that calibre here at Health,” says Nielsen.

In addition to the honour, Ebbe Bødtkjer receives DKK 100,000 for his research. He will use the money to establish new microscopy techniques in the laboratory – for the benefit of future research projects.

Since being nominated for the Skou award, Ebbe Bødtkjer has been appointed professor of physiology.



Associate Professor, MD, PhD Ebbe Bødtkjer
Aarhus University, Department of Biomedicine
Mobile: (+45) 24 87 02 40
Email: eb@biomed.au.dk


Read more in the article "Talented biomedical researcher receives distinguished award" at the faculty website.

Grants and awards, Research, PhD students, Department of Biomedicine, Health, People news, Technical / administrative staff, Department of Public Health, Academic staff, Department of Clinical Medicine