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Obituary for Professor Christian Bendixen

With Professor Christian Bendixen's untimely death, the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics has lost an excellent researcher and a good colleague. Christian Bendixen died suddenly from a blood clot at the age of 57. We are all deeply affected.

Christian Bendixen (photo: Ida Marie Jensen, AU Photo)

By Associate Professor Bo Thomsen

Christian Bendixen was an internationally recognized researcher, and his scientific output ranges very widely. He was respected for his deep professional insight and a valued scientific collaborator. Many national and international research projects have benefited from Christian Bendixen's analytical capabilities and his sound, critical approach to scientific data. Alongside his academic career, Christian Bendixen successfully established the company GenoSkan.

Christian Bendixen graduated in biology in 1990 from Aarhus University, and subsequently obtained a PhD in molecular biology, with most of the research being done at Columbia University in New York. It was evident to anyone who met him so early in his career that he was a person of exceptional talent with great potential.

After returning from the United States, he was employed at the Department of Molecular Biology until 1995, where he was given a position first as experimental leader and later in 2004 as a research professor at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences. Here he established a strong section in the field of molecular genetic research in livestock, and he succeeded in building an ambitious research environment, which also formed the framework for the education of a large number of graduate and PhD students.

Christian Bendixen was a visionary researcher who early realized the value of implementing large-scale biotechnology in both basic research and the practical application of genetics in livestock breeding. The section was therefore among the first to develop microarray technology and next generation sequencing in agricultural sciences, and Christian was thereby a driving force in the formation of the basis for the use of genetic information in modern livestock breeding. Thus, over a number of years, his research made a significant contribution to the improvement of health and production properties as well as the elimination of disease-causing mutations in livestock.

Christian Bendixen has received a number of grants and awards in recognition of this effort. In 2012, he was named Professor of Molecular Genetics at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and has most recently studied the importance of epigenetics for the development of neurological diseases. And as late as in October 2019, he was awarded a Jens Christian Skou Fellowship at Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies at Aarhus University for the project "Epigenetics and Imprinted loci in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)".

Christian Bendixen was a dedicated family man. He was a very private person, but if you had his confidence, you realized how incredibly knowledgeable he was about topics outside his professional area. Conversations with colleagues in Christian's office were always rewarding. He wanted to help, and he had an amazing ability to see through difficult issues. You never went in vain for advice, and Christian will always be remembered for his conversations.

Christian is survived by his wife, Emøke Bendixen, and three grown children.

In honour of his memory.