Researcher profile of the month: Bo Hjorth Bentzen – University of Copenhagen

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04 September 2017

Researcher profile of the month: Bo Hjorth Bentzen

Profile

Associate Professor Bo Hjorth Bentzen from Ion Channel Group has an interest in cardiac arrhythmias and ion channels and is motivated by working on innovative projects with a clear and usable aim.

In addition to being an associate professor at BMI, Bo Hjorth Bentzen is a part of the organisation Acesion Pharma which is physically located at BMI. In collaboration with Acesion Pharma, Bo is working on a large project supported by a 4-year grant from the Innovation Fund Denmark. The project focuses on the development of medicine for the treatment of atrial fibrillation which is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmias.

“The current medicine on the market does not work efficiently. Therefore, we have received financial support to develop a new type of medicine where we will block an ion channel which is primarily found in the atria of the heart and thereby threat the atrial fibrillation. In fact, the project is going so well that we expect to be able to test the medicine in patients within a year to eighteen months” says Bo about the project which has been running for 2½ years.  

The project has paved the way for a number of other projects based on the knowledge and technology achieved through the innovation project. These including projects that aim to understand how the drug in the new medicine on a molecular level causes ion channels to close, as well as projects aimed at understanding which epigenetic changes that occur in the context of atrial fibrillation. Several of the projects are being done in collaboration with other researchers from BMI and with researchers from other institutions.

“I like being involved in many projects, but it is important to me that I can see a clear and usable aim of each project. The fact that my research in the long run can be used for something specific and tangible like for example a new type of medicine is what I find motivating” says Bo.

Bo has a degree in Human Biology and the topic of his PhD was cardiac arrhythmias. He has experience in working both in a private organisation as well at educational institutions.

BMI’s Innovation Scout  
Each department at UCPH has an Innovation Scout, whose purpose is to promote the idea of innovative research projects that can open up for other forms of funding and possible collaborations with the industry. In 2015, Associate Professor Bo Hjorth Bentzen was appointed Innovation Scout at BMI.

“I’m really passionate about showing the good examples and finding the success stories that can inspire and show others that there are several opportunities with one’s research” Bo explains and encourage people to contact him if they have a good story to share: “I am very interested in hearing from people who have done something innovative such as starting their own business, establishing a new collaboration with the industry, or having received money from for example the Innovation Fund Denmark to begin a new project or in other ways having transformed their research into something usable”.

Every year, Bo also organizes an alumni event entitled “Industry meets academia” where former BMI employees, now working in the industry, tell about their work. The purpose of the event is to inspire especially PhD students and postdocs to see career opportunities while also strengthening BMI’s network with the industry. This year the event takes place in 8 November at 15:00-18:00 in the Maersk Tower.

As an Innovation Scout, Bo also serves as an advisor in relation to opportunities, contact information and where to find help to move forward with ideas. If you have any questions or if you want to share your own success story, Bo can be contacted at bobe@sund.ku.dk.