3 September 2021

Professor Henrik Semb is stepping down from his role as DanStem Executive Director


After leading the Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem) for 10 years and successfully positioning Denmark as a world leader in stem cell research, Professor Henrik Semb is stepping down.

When the Danish Stem Cell Center was established in 2011, Professor Henrik Semb was recruited to head it, relocating him from Lund, Sweden, to Copenhagen, Denmark.

The center was comprised of two parts, one focused on basic stem cell biology, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and one aimed at translating results to clinical application funded by the Danish Council for Strategic Research.  

Henrik Semb’s vision and history of research achievements made him unique in Europe, a leader in both fundamental cell and developmental biology as well as a pioneer in translating these discoveries into medical technology.  As a result, he was the ideal candidate to lead the new Center.

Henrik has spearheaded the development of stem cell research at UCPH and in Copenhagen with great ease and a methodological mindset. He has been an inspiration – both as a researcher and as a leader”, says Dean Ulla Wewer.

During the 10 years of its existence, DanStem (now called The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology) has built a reputation as a leading nexus dedicated to understanding the role of stem cells in development and disease, attracting young scientists from all over the world to relocate to Copenhagen. This outstanding scientific accomplishment was fueled by Professor Semb’s philosophy that talent combined with synergy is a powerful recipe for success. Under Professor Semb’s leadership DanStem became a thriving research center, a home to over 200 scientific and support staff, and a widely recognized hub for research in stem cell and developmental biology.

After positioning DanStem as a leading research institution, Professor Henrik Semb, has decided to step down from his role as Executive Director for the Center and focus on translational diabetes research. Moving forward, his main aim is to develop new strategies for bringing advanced stem cell-derived therapy to a broad population of type 1 diabetes patients.

Henrik Semb is also the co-founder of PanCryos, a prospective spinout company arising from his pioneering work at DanStem. The company aims to develop a next generation stem cell derived allogenic cell therapy (PanINSULA™) for type 1 diabetes.

The new Interim Executive Director of DanStem is Professor Joshua Brickman.