Eske Willerslev – University of Copenhagen

Centre for Geogenetics
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Eske Willerslev

Eske Willerslev

Professor

Natural History Museum of Denmark
Øster Voldgade 5-7
1350 København K

Phone: +45 353-21309
Phone (Reception desk): +45 353-21213
E-mail: ewillerslev@snm.ku.dk



Eske Willerslev (EW) is director of Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics and the National CryoBank and Sequencing Facility, situated at the National History Museum and the Biological Institute, University of Copenhagen. The centre currently facilitates 60 people.

During his PhD, EW established the first ancient DNA facility in Denmark, which, despite its small size, rapidly became internationally recognized for, among other things, establishing the fields of ancient sedimentary and ice core genetics, which have since become world-wide scientific disciplines. After finishing his PhD studentship EW obtained a prestigious Wellcome Trust Fellowship to join the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, UK – a world-leading institution in many fields of research, including ancient DNA.

Recently, at the age of 33, EW was called back to University of Copenhagen to commence the position of Full Professor, first at the Niels Bohr Institute and later at the National History Museum and Biological Institute. In addition, he has been awarded the prestigious position of Visiting Professor by Oxford University.

EW is an internationally recognised researcher in the fields of ancient DNA, DNA degradation, and evolutionary biology. He has 18 publications in Science and Nature, and 128 publications in other high profile peer review journals such as The Lancet; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS); Current Biology; American Journal of Human Genetics; Systematic Biology; Molecular Biology and Evolution; TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution; TRENDS in Microbiology; PloS Biology; Genetics; Genome Research; Geology; Nucleic Acid Research; and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.

His research interests include: palaeoecology, palaeontology, archaeology, domestication, climatology, ancient microbial biology, DNA degradation and repair, exobiology, phylogenetics, molecular evolution, barcoding, and genomics. EW has served as a reviewer for various grant agencies and journals including the NSF (US), Nature; Science; and PNAS. EW is an invited member of the International Mars Cyroscout drilling team (NASA), and scientific organizer for the 3rd and 4th Mars Polar Conferences (NASA). He has been a keynote or invited speaker at 73 international conferences and meetings, has successfully applied for and been awarded 50 large research grants and academic prizes in Denmark, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and the EU, and has supervised more than 50 MSc students, PhD students, and post doctoral associates.

EW has strong collaborations with world leading scientists in Europe, US, Canada, and Russia, and participated in 12 international polar expeditions, 5 of which he led. He has communicated his work to the public through documentary films, books, popular articles, museum exhibitions and numerous national and international TV, newspaper, and magazine interviews.