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Tinna V. Stevnsner appointed professor of ageing research

Tinna Stevnsner has been appointed Professor of Molecular Ageing Research at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University from 1 September 2020.

Tinna V. Stevnsner (Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen, AU)

The number of old people in the population is growing steadily, and an increased life expectancy is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia and other diseases that reduce the brain's cognitive capacity. As a professor of molecular ageing processes at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, Tinna Stevnsner will focus on gaining greater knowledge about the processes in the cells that contribute to the brain’s maintenance as you grow older.

In particular, her research activities will aim at gaining greater insight into the mechanisms that contribute to the repair of the genetic material of the brain cells, the DNA, as well as the maintenance of the energy power plants of the cells, the mitochondria, which play a significant role in brain function. Some of Tinna's research projects are carried out in close collaboration with international colleagues. In connection with these collaborations, the researchers investigate, among other things, how age-associated hormonal changes affect the cellular maintenance processes in the brain.

About Tinna Stevnsner

In 1988, Tinna graduated in biology, and in 1992, she obtained a PhD in molecular biology - both from Aarhus University. The PhD project was carried out in Professor Vilhelm Bohr's laboratory at the National Cancer Institute at the NIH in the USA, where Tinna's interest in DNA repair processes was founded. In connection with her PhD project, Tinna was, among other things, involved in uncovering how mitochondria have the capacity to repair various types of damage to their own genome, which had previously been assumed not to be possible.

Subsequently, Tinna became more and more interested in the role that the accumulation of DNA damage plays in the ageing of the body, and she therefore returned to the United States to work for a period as a visiting researcher at the National Institute on Aging at the NIH.

On her return to Denmark in 1993, Tinna was employed as a postdoc at what was then called the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Aarhus University, where she helped establish a laboratory focusing on DNA repair in relation to toxic substances in our surrounding environment.

In 1996, with a research grant from the Danish Research Council, Tinna moved to the newly started Danish Center for Molecular Gerontology (DCMG), based at Aarhus University. Here, Tinna started her own research group and was subsequently employed as an associate professor at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. She later became head of DCMG.

In 2014, Tinna chose to take a sabbatical at the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), USA. Here she established new fruitful collaborations, and by studying the expression of a wide range of genes in different regions of brains from recently deceased people of different ages, she gained new insight into some regulatory mechanisms that with age can result in decreased DNA repair capacity in the brain.

In addition to being the author of more than 80 scientific publications and a number of book chapters, Tinna has regularly co-organized international conferences. She is frequently invited to be a reviewer for international journals, to be an opponent in connection with PhD defences, etc. at home and abroad as well as to give popular science lectures and interviews on molecular ageing research. Finally, Tinna has previously chaired the Study Board at Science & Technology, AU, and continues to teach a number of courses at both Bachelor's and Master's levels.


Tinna Stevnsner is 57 years old, has two grown sons and lives in Åbyhøj (a suburb of Aarhus) with her husband, who is also employed at Aarhus University.

For further information, please contact

Tinna V. Stevnsner
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
tvs@mbg.au.dk -  +4527782804