Eske Willerslev

Eske Willerslev

Lundbeck Foundation Professor at the University of Copenhagen and Director of the Centre for GeoGenetics, Copenhagen

Keynote talk title

Early peopling of the Americas and the new world Arctic

Short biography

Eske Willerslev holds a Lundbeck Foundation Professorship at University of Copenhagen and is the director of the Centre for GeoGenetics, a DG Centre of Excellence. He also holds the Prince Philip Chair in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Cambridge, UK, and is a Research Associate at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Willerslev is an evolutionary geneticist. He is particularly known for sequencing the first ancient human genome and establishing the field of environmental DNA, where modern and ancient DNA from higher plants and animals are obtained directly from environmental samples.

Willerslev was born in Denmark in 1971. After spending his youth as explorer and fur trapper in Siberia, he established the first ancient DNA laboratory in Denmark and obtained his DSc at University of Copenhagen in 2004. At the age of 33, Willerslev became Full Professor at University of Copenhagen – the youngest in Denmark at the time.

Willerslev has been visiting researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Research Centre in Austin, Texas, an Independent Wellcome Trust Fellow at Oxford, a Visiting Professor at Oxford University, and a Miller Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley.

Willerslev is foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (US), member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, honorary Doctor at University of Oslo, Norway, and at University of Tartu, Estonia, and holds the Order of the Dannebrog (issued by her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark);