Department of Biology

Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Jesper Givskov Sørensen


Curriculum Vitae



Born February 3, 1972, in Slagelse, Denmark (DK)

Home address: Stjerneparken 4, 8660 Skanderborg, DK

Work address: Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 116, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, Phone: +45 30183160 (e-mail:



My research has focused on adaptation to environmental stressful conditions in terrestrial invertebrates with especially attention to effects of high and low temperature. I have a strong interest in the relationship between evolutionary adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. Further, I have a keen interest in the relationships (phenotypic and genetic trade-offs) among stress tolerance and life history traits that shape or constrain adaptation. A large part has focused on the evolutionary and ecological role of the stress response and the expression of heat shock proteins for stress resistance and adaptation. My experience covers particularly population biology, evolutionary genetics, molecular biology and eco-physiology with particular emphasis on environmental stress. The work had used a combination of approaches from molecular genetics to evolutionary ecology, and field experiments with laboratory experiments, using a variety of model and non-model organisms, primarily terrestrial invertebrates. I have worked in the Arctic on several occasions including field campaigns funded by EU programme for Arctic research ‘Interact’ (Svalbard, Iceland, Yakutsk/Sibiria, Greenland, and northern Norway).


2003    PhD from Dept. of Biological Sciences, AU, DK (degree obtained January 2003). Thesis title: Physiological and evolutionary adaptation to environmental extremes in Drosophila, with particular emphasis on thermal stress and the role of Hsp70 (supervised by Prof. Volker Loeschcke, AU).


Nov. 2013–     Associate Professor in Evolutionary Genetics, Section for Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Department of Bioscience, AU

2009 – 2013   Senior Scientist at Department of Bioscience (former National Environmental Research Institute), AU

Paternity leave (3 month 2008)


MAJOR GRANTS (> 1,000,000 DKK)

2016         ”New avenues and perspectives for investigating the molecular mechanisms of adaptation“: Aarhus Universitets Forsknings Fond (AUFF) starting grant (3,100,000 DKK)

2015         “Optimizing performance of biological control agents used in Integrated Pest Management”: Co-applicant on DFF-FTP grant (Martin Holmstrup main applicant) (6,360,000 DKK)

2010         “Functional genomics of environmental stress adaptation in invertebrates”: Sapere Aude ‘DFF Forskningsleder’ Danish Research Council (7,300,000 DKK)

2010         “Evolutionary Response to Climate Change”: Co-applicant on Villum Kann Rasmussen grant (Bodil Ehlers main applicant) (4,000,000 DKK)

2009         “Desiccation tolerance in Collembola – Physiological and evolutionary role of LEA and heat shock proteins”: Post-doc stipend from Carlsbergfondet (1,100,000 DKK)

2005         “Adaptation to environmental stress using Drosophila as a model organism: identification of genes and mechanisms and their evolutionary, ecological and physiological roles”: Steno stipend from the Danish Research Council (1,800,000 DKK)



Shorter and longer international research visits to: Stellenbosch University, South Africa; La Trope University, Melbourne, Australia; Helsinki University, Finland; University of Uppsala, Sweden. 6 Months sabbatical hosted by Steven L Chown at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (2015). Invited as International expert for a ~1 month visit to South Africa, for the project: Improving the field performance of laboratory-reared Lepidoptera for SIT, expert assignment, SAF. Project under International Atomic Energy Agency (Nov.-Dec. 2010). Large network of international collaborators including: Prof. Hoffmann, Melbourne University; Prof. Merilä, University of Helsinki, Prof. Ellers, VU University Amsterdam; Prof. Denlinger, Ohio State University; Prof. Sinclair, University of Western Ontario, Dr. Boardman, University of Florida; Prof. Kostal, České Budějovice; Prof. Dr. Terblanche, Stellenbosch University and Prof. Chown, Dr. Sgro, Monash University. Several co-authored publications (see e.g. publication list – papers numbered: 6, 33, 36, 37, 39, 54, 57-59, 72, 78, 83, 87, 89, 96, 105).


Ad hoc reviewer of ~ 25 MS per year for more than 20 journals (e.g. Functional Ecology, Molecular Ecology, Journal of Thermal Biology, Journal of Insect Physiology, Journal of Experimental Biology, PNAS, Heredity), Co-organizer of 5 and invited speaker at 2 international meetings/conferences, Member of evaluation panel of post doc and general research grants for the Academy of Finland (2010 & 2013-14) and for the French BioAdapt call from ANR (2011-2012 & 2013). Co-organiser of the 6th International Symposium on the Environmental Physiology of Ectotherms and Plants (ISEPEP) conference in Aarhus 2015. Member of FCT (Portugal) evaluation panel for Biological Sciences, Biodiversity and Ecosystems R&D Units Evaluation 2017-18. Member of the pre-approved Biology Examiners (”Censorkorpset i Biologi”).


Experience as supervisor and co-supervisor for students at Bachelor, Master, PhD and post doc levels. Examiner/reviewer for 5 master theses and 4 PhD theses. Teaching experience and responsible teacher for a number of courses at the Department of Biological Sciences, Aarhus University, presently co-organizing and co-teaching 4th semester course in Genetics and Evolution (10 ECTS), and the master course in Experimental Evolutionary Biology (10 ECTS)(as responsible). Graduated the course ‘University Pedagogic’ (spring 2014 – estimated 150 hours of theoretical and practical work on learning theory and teaching philosophy). Experience with communicating science from popular scientific papers, participating in mass media (e.g. as co-editor and co-author of the homepage, broadcasts in TV (DR2, Viden Om), radio and newspaper stories) and from participating in Day of Science (Forskningens døgn) 2008, 2009 & 2010. Finally, I am involved with the important work on inspiring school and high school students and teachers and thereby ensuring recruitment of future students through arranging open-house events, courses and exercises.