8 November 2019

Distinguished physiologist honorary doctor at the University of Copenhagen

honorary doctorate

Friday, November 8, 2019, Professor David James from the University of Sydney is awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Copenhagen for his outstanding contribution to research in physiology, biochemistry and metabolism. The honorary doctorate is awarded at the Annual Commemoration at the University of Copenhagen.

David James
David James

Professor David James from the Charles Perkins Center at the University of Sydney, Australia, is one of the most prominent scientists in the field of physiology and biochemistry. He is behind several crucial discoveries related to cell signaling of metabolic regulation in various tissues and organs of the body.

In his research, professor David James has delved into the mechanisms of metabolism and, as the first, he identified the glucose transporter, GLUT4, which is essential for glucose transport into muscle and fat cells. This process is dependent on insulin and in muscle cells also by muscle contractions. The discovery was a breakthrough in understanding metabolism and was published in one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals, Nature, in the late 1980’s.

Professor David James has since devoted much effort into understanding how insulin regulates glucose transport in muscle and fat cells. Over the last 10 years he has also developed expertise in systems biology, with a particular focus on metabolism and the communication between the cells – the so-called signal transduction. He has published 318 scientific papers in the most prestigious journals in physiology, biochemistry, and cell biology

Potential for more groundbreaking discoveries

Professor and deputy head of research at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Erik A. Richter, emphasizes the great influence that professor David James has had on the research at the University of Copenhagen:

“David James is a truly outstanding scientist. He has had ties to University of Copenhagen since 1998. He has been a major collaborator with the Section of Molecular Physiology at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports since 2011, and many collaborative projects are ongoing, including exchange of junior researchers. Our collaboration with him and with the University of Sydney will only be strengthened in the coming years, and it includes the potential for more groundbreaking discoveries in the field of physiology for physical activity and health. That is why we find him extremely eligible for an honorary doctorate at the University of Copenhagen.”

Honorary doctorates are the highest academic accolade that the university confers without the recipient first having defended a doctoral thesis in Denmark. Honorary doctorates are awarded to researchers who have played a significant role in research or education at the University of Copenhagen. To qualify for consideration, it is a prerequisite that the individual concerned has conducted extensive and significant research of high international quality.

Scientists and research communities at the University of Copenhagen nominate candidates for the honorary doctorate, and the academic councils of the faculties assess nominations and make the recommendation for the final approval of the Rector. The honorary doctorates 2019 are awarded at the Annual Commemoration at the University of Copenhagen on Friday, November 8, 2019.

Professor David James on tour through Denmark

From 11-13 November 2019, Professor David James will give lectures at Aarhus University, University of Southern Denmark and University of Copenhagen. The lectures are held as a part of August Krogh on Tour; a series of events arranged to celebrate the 100th anniversary of August Krogh's Nobel Prize.

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