Research – University of Copenhagen

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DanStem > Research

DanStem Research Groups 

DanStem consists of  11 research groups who all address basic questions in stem cell and developmental biology with the overall aim of developing of new therapies for cancer and chronic diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver failure. 

DanStem comprises two sections:

  • The Novo Nordisk Foundation Section for Basic Stem Cell Biology (BasicStem)
  • The Section for Strategic Translational Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Trans Stem


Brings together some of the best developmental, cancer and stem cell biology in Europe. Research groups in BasicStem are focused on how the progenitor 

cells normally present in embryos develop into different kinds of cells, including stem cells, how pancreatic beta cells that secrete insulin are specified, and the special properties of cancer stem cells. The goal is to understand and control these processes and thereby create new insight into the development of future cell-based therapies for diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver failure.


Is focused on the translation of promising basic research results and on moving them toward early clinical application

DanStem Group Leaders (PIs)




Henrik Semb 

DanStem Executive Director

The Semb Laboratory
Focuses on how cell polarity and tissue architecture control cell fate specification ... read more

Joshua Brickman

The Brickman Laboratory 
Focuses on the transcriptional basis of embryonic stem cell potency/pluripotency and how this relates to normal embryonic development... read more

Elisabetta Ferretti

The Ferretti Laboratory
Focuses on mapping molecular networks involving the TALE class of homeodomain proteins and understanding how they guide organogenesis and tissue homeostasis, and how their aberrations result in congenital diseases and cancer.


Anne Grapin-Botton

The Grapin-Botton Laboratory     Focuses on understanding the mechanisms of endoderm and pancreas development through the use of mouse genetics, 3D imaging and 3D in vitro culture systems... read more

Kristian Helin

The Helin Laboratory
Investigates the mechanisms that regulate cell-fate decisions in stem cells, differentiated cells as well as tumor cells with the aim of gaining new insights into the molecular mechanisms leading to cancer ... read more

Agnete Kirkeby

The Kirkeby Laboratory
Focuses on studying human neural development through the use of human pluripotent stem cells and 3D microfluidic culturing techniques

Elke Ober

The Ober Laboratory
Focuses on developmental biology of studying mechanisms that control the specification of liver progenitors form the foregut endoderm. 

Ole William Petersen

The Petersen Laboratory
Focuses on morphogenesis and differentiation of normal and neoplastic human breast tissue... read more

Bo Porse

The Porse Laboratory 
focuses on the role of transcription factors in normal and malignant hematopoiesis and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) in vivo... read more


 Jakub Sedzinski

The Sedzinski Laboratory
Focuses on determining the reciprocal interactions between mechanical forces and genetics during development,homeostasis, and regeneration of tissues. We use cell and developmental biology techniques along with theoretical modeling to quantitatively understand mechanisms regulating tissue maintenance in vivo

Palle Serup

The Serup Laboratory
Focuses on developmental biology of the pancreas with special emphasis on the insulin producing beta cells... read more