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Stig Uggerhøj Andersen has been appointed Professor in Molecular Genetics of Plants

Stig Uggerhøj Andersen has been appointed Professor in Molecular Genetics of Plants at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University as of 1 March 2023. His research focuses on understanding legume genetics and microbe interactions to support the Green Transition.

Stig Uggerhøj Andersen has been appointed Professor in Molecular Genetics of Plants from 1 March 2023 (Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

Developing sustainable agricultural systems able to feed a growing population while reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a grand societal challenge. Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by using less nitrogen fertilizer and by producing more plant and less animal protein.

Legumes are key to both strategies. In contrast to other crops, legumes are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiosis with soil bacteria, which  alleviates the need for supplying legume crops with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. In addition, legumes produce protein-rich seeds with an amino-acid composition complementary to that of cereals, making legumes essential components of plant-based diets.

Despite these very attractive properties, legumes remain minor crops in Danish and European agricultural systems and a large research and innovation effort is required to improve the agronomic value of temperate legume crops. Professor Stig U. Andersen will contribute to these efforts be developing a comprehensive understanding of the genetics that control key legume agronomic traits, including their interactions with nitrogen fixing rhizobia and other soil microbes. Specifically, Stig U. Andersen’s research group has recently developed a genomics-based breeding platform for the globally adapted legume protein crop faba bean, including a complete sequence of its giant genome (www.fabagenome.dk).

Stig Uggerhøj Andersen - brief biography

Stig Uggerhøj Andersen received his PhD from Aarhus University in 2004, working on the model legume Lotus japonicus under the supervision of Erik Østergaard Jensen. He then worked in the biotech start-up Plantic Aps before taking up a postdoctoral position in Jan. U. Lohmann’s group at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, Germany where he studied regulation of plant stem cell activity in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

After returning to Aarhus, Stig U. Andersen redirected his research efforts towards bioinformatics and genomics. He worked on molecular genetics in Lotus japonicus supported by the CARB centre funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, the InRoot project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the SCARI single-cell sequencing project funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

In addition, he has engaged in a number of public-private partnerships with plant breeders to promote legume crop improvement. These projects include NCHAIN and NORFAB, supported by Innovation Fund Denmark, IMFABA supported by GUDP, and the European projects ProFaba, Root2Res, BELIS and Legume Generation.

Stig U. Andersen was one of the driving forces in the development of the Novo Nordisk Foundation funded Plant2Food Open Innovation in Science platform, which will bring together plant geneticists, food and nutritional researcher and companies across the plant-based food value chain to fill current knowledge gaps.

Stig U. Andersen has also engaged in the development of teaching activities, focusing on molecular genetics and analysis of high-throughput sequencing data. Recently, with support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, he has developed an experimental course on single-cell and single-molecule techniques and set up a network for Interdisciplinary Teaching in Technical & Natural Science (ITEASc).

More information

Professor Stig Uggerhøj Andersen - sua@mbg.au.dk
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark