FINE senior academic staff – University of Copenhagen

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The driving force behind Project FINE

Bente Merete Stallknecht, MD, PhD, DMSc, finished medical training in the summer of 1992, and is employed as a professor at the Biomedical Institute at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen. The main objective of Bente's research is to determine how metabolic and endocrine processes in fatty tissue affect health, as well as to determine how physical exercise affects these processes and the body's general health level. Her vision is to prevent lifestyle-related disease like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She is director of studies for the Medicine and Technology degree, and course manager for the subject of Human Biology and Diseases. Bente initiated Project FINE and had clinical responsibility for it. Her primary tasks on project FINE is project management, applying for funding, and the supervision of PhD and Master's students.

Thorkil Ploug, MD, earned his medical degree from the University of Copenhagen in 1984. After a short clinical period, he was employed as a research fellow and senior research fellow at the Department of Medical Physiology, and he conducted research from 1991 to 1995 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. After this, he was employed as an associate professor at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. He is also director of studies for the Human Biology degree at the Faculty of Health Sciences, and course manager for the subject of Human Pathophysiology. Thorkil is one of the senior researchers and founders of Project FINE. With his long-standing interest in integrative physiology and metabolism with a particular focus on molecular aspects, he is a driving force in optimising and maximising the analytical gains of the project. His vision is for Project FINE to significantly contribute to an increased understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie lifestyle-related risk factors, such as insulin resistance and a lack of psychological motivation, as well as how an individual can most positively affect these factors.

Astrid Pernille Jespersen, MA, PhD, graduated as an ethnologist in 1999 and is employed as an assistant professor at the Department of Ethnology, Saxo-Institute, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. As an ethnologist, Astrid contributed a perspective from the humanistic and cultural-analysis fields. Astrid's research contribution to Project FINE focuses on the test participants' enrolment, involvement and experiences of the exercise intervention while it was taking place and in the period that followed. The main objective of this approach is to describe and analyse how practices in the laboratory, the public debate on overweight and obesity, and the everyday lives of the test participants harmonise and clash, as well as how this is handled in the Project FINE laboratories. The aim is to generate material and descriptions that allows for a better understanding of lifestyle changes in everyday life.

Anders Sjödin, licensed physician and DMSc in Nutrition (Sports Nutrition) from Uppsala University in Sweden. Anders' PhD dissertation (1996) was about energy burning during endurance sports. After 5 years of clinical practice as an orthopaedic surgeon, and then working as a sports physician for the Swedish national cross-country ski team in the early 1990s, Anders worked in the food industry for approximately 10 years as the head of research and assistant director of research at ORKLA Foods A/S, among other things. Anders has now returned to the academic world, and since 2007 has been employed as an associate professor at the Department of Human Nutrition at the Faculty of Life Sciences, where he is working in a research group studying areas related to the treatment and prevention of overweight. Anders is particularly interested in the significance of different lifestyle-related factors (e.g., lack of sleep, stress, physical activity) for energy balance, and thus the management of body weight. He is also involved in research on the pharmacological and surgical treatment of obesity. Anders is responsible for the appetite part of Project FINE, and is supervising one of the PhD students as well as several of the Master's students associated with the appetite aspect of the project.