Department: Network Partners
Position: P1 Coordinator and supervisor for ESR4 and ESR5, Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen
Scientific Coordinator of MedPlant. Supervisor for projekt ESR4 Plantago major L. Travel tales of a worldwide weed and Project ESR5 Phylogenetic exploration of antitumor compounds in the giant genus Euphorbia L. Co-supervisor for ESR3 Domesticating deadly carrots.
I obtained a PhD degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Copenhagen in 2002 focusing on the chemical and molecular systematics of Plantago. I then worked for several years in Kew Gardens and at the University of Minnesota on the evolutionary history of Ficus and the fig-wasp mutualism. In 2008, I returned to the University of Copenhagen with a research program combining my interests in medicinal plants and evolutionary biology to explore the predictive power of phylogenies in search for new drugs in the Amaryllidaceae family. Together with a great team of students, postdocs and collaborators efforts soon expanded to revisit the Quest for Cinchona, and the market dominance of Aloe vera. In 2011, I moved to the Natural History Museum of Denmark where I am now tenured.
Why did you find it important to be part of MedPlant?
Setting up MedPlant together with Julie Hawkins and many other inspiring and innovative research leaders was for me a natural next step allowing us to develop the ideas of phylogenetic exploration of medicinal plants and at the same time train a whole new generation of interdisciplinary scientists to impact on the appreciation and use of biodiversity and ultimately to improve human health.
What do you hope to gain/achieve as part of MedPlant?
I hope that MedPlant will show the potential of phylogenetic exploration, develop new approaches, tools, and new leads in a sustainable manner – and of course I hope that all the excellent MedPlant Fellows will go on to use their training in leading positions both in academia, in governmental and decision making bodies and in the industry.