12 December 2019

Newly appointed professor: Kim Jensen


Kim Jensen aims to uncover the full potential of stem cells. His research group studies cell fate control during development, homeostasis and disease. 

By Emil Petersen, BRIC Communication 

Kim Jensen, PhD and Group Leader has been appointed professor at The University of CPH, (BRIC/ DanStem) from 1st December 2019.

Uncovering the secrets of a healthy intestine

Research in the Jensen lab aims to provide an understanding of the gene regulatory networks that control stem cell fate using the intestinal epithelium and the skin epidermis as model systems. By combining studies using mouse models and clinical specimens, the long-term aim of their research is to translate result from in vitro and in vivo models into regenerative therapies.

 “It remains unknown when and how resident tissue specific stem cells are first established, how stem cell behavior is regulated during steady-state homeostasis, and to what extent these regulatory mechanisms are altered during regeneration and diseases such as cancer." Professor Jensen.

By uncovering new understandings of stem cells, Kim hopes to identify key signaling pathways that will constitute treatable molecular targets fueling tissue repair and elimination of tumor cells. Specifically, he aims to develop stem cells to use as living plasters for specific patients:

“A lot of our work involves culturing primary epithelial cells from the intestinal epithelium and we hope that we in the future can use these cells as living plasters for patients with ulcerations such as in inflammatory bowel disease." Kim Jensen.

From PhD to Professor

Kim Jensen received his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Aarhus in 2003. In 2003 he joined the London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, as a post-doctoral fellow. Based on cutting edge technologies and analysis of mouse models he identified Lrig1, a negative regulator of receptor tyrosine kinases, as a novel marker of both human and mouse epidermal stem cells. In 2010 he became Principal Investigator at Cambridge University and in 2013 Kim Jensen was recruited to BRIC and awarded a Lundbeck Foundation fellowship to support initiation of his own research group at BRIC. In 2018 he also became affiliated with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem).
Kim Jensen has received several prizes and honors including EMBO's Young Investigator Programme – a prominent programme for young European scientists, the Danish Cancer Society's Junior Research Prize for his extraordinary contribution to cancer research and LEO Pharma Research Foundation's international gold Award for outstanding research in epidermal stem cells. In 2016 he also received the prestigious ERC consolidator grant.

A passionate supervisor, educator and communicator

Kim is known by his colleagues for his everlasting passion for science and his dedication to his work is a constant source of inspiration for the members of his lab:

Kim is truly an exceptional leader for several reasons. Not only is he an excellent and passionate scientist, he is also an extremely enthusiastic, supportive and inspiring mentor and role model for his team" –Says Marianne Terndrup Pedersen, Assistant Professor in Jensen Group

However, Kim is not only an inspirational figure for his lab members. Since 2018, Kim has been the leader of the PhD programme MoMeD, and he always aims to pass his passion on to the students, supervisors and programme managers. Working as the leader of the PhD programme MoMeD, Kim has with the programme mangers launched several new initiatives like the Future Fridays seminar series, which gives the PhD students important insights on new career opportunities.
Finally, Kim is very dedicated to communicating his research to the public, and Kim and his research group has contributed to numerous successful outreach events at BRIC for both high school students and teachers.

Inaugural lecture

The inaugural lecture will take place in 2020. The specific date for the inaugural lecture will be officially announced.

See more information about the Jensen group at DanStem