Employees


Berit Lilienthal Heitmann
Professor, PhD, Director of Research

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3070
e-mail: berit.lilienthal.heitmann@regionh.dk

Professor Berit L. Heitmann, Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute, Bispebjerg and frederiksberg Hospital, The Capital Region, Denmark

Professor Heitmann was educated as dentist 1987 from the Dental School in Copenhagen. She defended her Ph.D thesis at the Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, in February 1993. Between 1996-98 and again between 1998-00 she was president of The Danish Association for the Study of Obesity.

In 1999, she founded of The Research Unit for Dietary Studies in Nutritional Epidemiology, made possible by a major grant from The Danish Medical Research Council.

Between 2001 and 2015 she was Director of Research, (and 2011-2012 acting Institute Director) at the Institute of Preventive Medicine, and from April 2015 she is Director of Research at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies at the Parker Institute, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital – a part of Copenhagen University Hospitals, The Capital Region, Copenhagen.

Since 2001 Berit Heitmann has been professor in nutritional epidemiology, at the National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, and since 2011 also Honorary Professor Sydney University, The Boden Institute, Sydney, Australia, and since 2016 furthermore Clinical Professor at the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

From 2003-8 she was appointed board member of The Danish Medical Research Board, and between 2004 and 2008 also member of the Executive Committee of The Danish Medical Research Council. In 2004-2007 she was appointed deputy chairman of the board of directors of Danish Institute of Food and Veterinary Research. Between 2007 and 2014 She was advisory committee member of the Research Council of Norway, and since 2012 Advisory board member of the Danish Diabetes Association Research Committee.

Professor Heitmann’s main areas of expertise include Diet and the determinants and consequences of obesity, and within these areas she has supervised 37 PhD students (33 already defended their thesis, and 4 in progress) and about 100 pre-graduates.

Professor Heitmann serves as referee for more than 30 scientific journals and is currently a member of the editorial boards for 4 International Scientific Journals. She has received in total around 100 mio DKK from grants in the previous 10 years (about 13 mio €), and has published more than 350 scientific peer-reviewed papers, app. 25 reviews and a similar number of book chapters/official reports.


Sofus Christian Larsen
MSc Health Science, PhD, Postdoc

Tel: (+45) 3816 3064
e-mail: sofus.larsen@regionh.dk
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0838-9378

Sofus C. Larsen has a master’s degree in health science. In 2014 he received a PhD degree in Public Health and Epidemiology. To date, his research has largely been focused on different aspects body weight regulation, obesity and related disorders. From 2011 to 2015, Sofus was mainly conducting research on gene-diet interactions in relation to development or prevention of obesity. This research was conducted during employments in the GENDINOB project, where he was first working as a PhD student and later as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and scientific coordinator. Between 2015 and 2020, Sofus was employed as a Trial Manager for the Danish part of the NoHoW project, a large European RCT examining the effect of an evidence-based digital toolkit on weight loss maintenance. Since 2021, Sofus has been working as a senior researcher at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies where he is involved in several different projects, primarily, but not exclusively, within obesity research.


Ina Olmer Specht
MSc Health Science, PhD, Postdoc

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3083
e-mail: ina.olmer.specht@regionh.dk
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3114-4715

Ina Olmer Specht has a Master degree in Health Science and a PhD degree in Public Health and Epidemiology. Ina’s main research areas have been within reproductive toxicology and the working environment in relation to pregnancy outcomes. Currently Ina is employed as Postdoctoral Research Fellow and daily coordinator of the EnTrance project which is examining the relations between trans fatty acids and childhood cancer.


Nanna Julie Olsen
MSc Public Health, PhD, Postdoc

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3104
e-mail: nanna.julie.olsen@regionh.dk
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5765-3000

Nanna Julie Olsen has a Master of Public Health degree, and a PhD degree in Public Health and Epidemiology. Nanna’s first years in research focused on intake of soft drinks in relation to health outcomes. Her PhD project was based on the Healthy Start intervention, and focused on primary prevention of childhood obesity, and sleep and stress as determinants of childhood obesity. Nanna is employed as Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the OBEAT feasibility trial, and is also the daily coordinator of the Healthy Start intervention.


Mina Nicole Holmgaard Händel
MSc Human Nutrition, PhD, Postdoc

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3053
e-mail: Mina.Nicole.HolmgaardHandel@regionh.dk
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8256-8756

Mina N. Händel has a Master degree in Human Nutrition and a PhD degree in Health Science and epidemiology. Mina has research experience in nutritional epidemiology, which has involved primary interventions among young obesity-prone children in a randomized controlled setting, as well as observational studies, examining the influence of maternal nutrient status during pregnancy and offspring bone health in childhood using Danish national registries, biobanks, as well as comprehensive longitudinal birth cohorts. Currently, Mina is principle investigator and daily coordinator of the fourth data collection of the Svendborg project (CHAMPS IV). The aim of the Svendborg project is to evaluate the long-term effects of increased physical education in primary school in order to examine the risk of lifestyle diseases among young adults. The Svendborg project is unique worldwide and is one of the largest and longest-standing research projects in Denmark that investigates the importance of physical activity for future health among children and young adults. Given the substantial increase in lifestyle-related diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, both in Denmark and the rest of the Western world, it would be of great value if a reduction in the risk of lifestyle diseases can be induced by introducing just a few extra hours of physical education. Thus, the results from the Svendborg project can provide the necessary evidence-based knowledge that can be used as a basis for a health-promoting mass strategy in the education sector. Therefore, the expected research results not only have the potential to be anchored in all Danish primary schools but can also be crucial focus points in health professionals’ contact with citizens. The project is supported by Hjerteforeningen, Helsefonden, Danske Regioner, Snedkermester Sophus Jacobsen and hustru Astrid Jacobsen’s fund, Læge Sofus Carl Emil Friis og Hustru Olga Doris Friis’ Legat and Familien Hede Nielsen Fond.


Jeanett Friis Rohde
MSc Public Health, PhD, Postdoc

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3021
e-mail: jeanett.friis.rohde@regionh.dk
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9300-9009

Jeanett Friis Rohde holds a Master degree in Public Health and a bachelor´s degree in Nutrition and Health. In 2017 she received a PhD degree in Health Science. Her research has mainly been within prevention of childhood obesity and focusing on early nutrition, eating environment and physical activity. She has also been teaching about nutrition and quantitative method to Nurses and physiotherapist students. Jeanett is currently employed as Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Furthermore, she is working as a method consultant at The Danish Health Authority developing National Clinical Guidelines and has expertise within the GRADE process (The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation).


Karoline Winckler
MSc Human Nutritin, Postdoc

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3016
e-mail: karoline.winckler@regionh.dk
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0079-8238

Karoline Winckler has a Master degree in Human Nutrition and a PhD degree in Cardiovascular Research from University of Copenhagen. Currently Karoline is employed as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.


Annette Mollerup
MScHealth, RN, Postdoc

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3102
e-mail: annette.mollerup@regionh.dk

Annette Mollerup was educated as a nurse in 1988. She is specialized in intensive care and has worked in various clinical positions. She has a master’s degree in Health Science and a PhD degree in Health Science, both from the University of Copenhagen. Annette’s main research has been related to self-management within hand eczema. She has conducted a large-scale randomized clinical trial of patient counselling involving an innovative eHealth-intervention. At present, she is project manager of a randomized clinical trial examining the effectiveness of a PEP-flute, a respiratory device, among COVID-19 patients.


Fanney Thorsteinsdottir
MSc Public Health, PhD Student

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3103
e-mail: fanney.thorsteinsdottir@regionh.dk
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3070-782X

Fanney Thorsteinsdottir holds a Master of Science degree in Public Health from Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden. Fanney is a PhD Student at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute and Copenhagen University, where she is looking at the influence of prenatal vitamin D on the development of asthma later in life.


Monica Ladekarl
Midwife, MSc in Midwifery, PhD Student

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3056
e-mail: monica.ladekarl@regionh.dk

Monica Ladekarl was educated as midwife in 2003 and has since then worked in various positions at the maternity unit at Hvidovre Hospital. She holds a Master of Science in Health – Midwifery from University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, 2017. Monica is a PhD Student at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute and Hvidovre Hospital, where she is doing a feasibility study of a stress reducing web-based intervention among normal weight pregnant women aimed to improve maternal gestational and post-partum weight and benefit childhood growth and later risk of overweight.


Christina Walker
MSc Public Health, PhD Student

Tel.: (+45) 3816 3028
e-mail: karen.christina.walker@regionh.dk

Christina Walker holds a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Copenhagen. Christina Walker is a PhD student at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute and the University of Copenhagen where she is looking at the influence of early life exposure to low levels of vitamin D on the development of congenital heart disease.


Xuan Ren
MSc Medicinal plants and functional foods, PhD Student

e-mail: xuan.ren@regionh.dk

Xuan Ren holds a master of science in medicinal plants and functional foods from Newcastle university, Newcastle, UK. Xuan Ren is a PhD student at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute and the University of Copenhagen where she is looking at the influence of early exposure to dietary fatty acids and weight gain during childhood.


Hanyue Zhang
MSc in Nutrition and Food science, PhD Student

e-mail: hanyue.zhang@regionh.dk

Hanyue Zhang holds a Master of Public Health degree from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. Hanyue is a Ph.D. student at the Research Unit for Dietary Studies, The Parker Institute, and Copenhagen University, where she is looking at the role of the protein leverage hypothesis (PLH) on the development of obesity in children, adolescents, pregnant women and the offspring.


Mette Kildevæld Simonsen
Nurse, Research fellow

Tel.: (+45) 2489 2149
e-mail: mette.kildevaeld.simonsen@regionh.dk

Mette Kildevæld Simonsen graduated as a nurse in 1993, MPH in 2005 and completed her PhD. in 2009.  Since 2003, Mette has worked with data from the Danish Nurses Cohort and from 2013 she is the research leader for the Danish Nurses’ Cohort (chair of the steering group).