8 November 2023

Distinguished researcher in the field of exercise physiology, honorary doctorate at University of Copenhagen


Professor Laurie J. Goodyear, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School is awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Copenhagen for her outstanding research in the field of physical activity, particularly within the area of identifying molecular transducers for the beneficial effects of exercise on health. Laurie Goodyear will be awarded with the honorary doctorate at the annual commemoration at University of Copenhagen.

Laurie Goodyear
Professor Laurie J. Goodyear

Goodyear boasts a long and distinguished research career within physical activity, insulin action and metabolism. Her research has been at the forefront of identifying basic molecular mechanisms regulating metabolism and has pioneered the work on the exercise-regulated signals (e.g., AMP-activated protein kinase), which are now known to control metabolism during and after exercise and also modify insulin action at rest. Goodyear has published 248 scientific papers of which many appear in the most prestigious journals in diabetes, physiology, and cell biology.

Her research has recently revealed that paternal, maternal, and even grand-maternal exercise training results in improved metabolic health in adult offspring. Her research pinpoints molecular mediators of these effects, and her novel discoveries hold major significance for human health due to the overwhelming increase in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and the role of intergenerational factors in predispositions to these conditions.

Close ties to the University of Copenhagen

Laurie Goodyear has had close ties to the University of Copenhagen since 1997. In 1999/2000 Professor Jørgen Wojtaszewski, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, spent two years as a postdocoral fellow in the Goodyear laboratory at Harvard Medical School.

Since then the collaboration between Laurie Goodyear, her research group and Danish researchers – among many others - has included Associate Professor Jonas Thue Treebak, NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research, UCPH; Director Christian Pehmøller, Skeletal Muscle & Pancreas at Novo Nordisk ; Professor Henriette Pilegaard, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen; Professor Bente Klarlund Pedersen, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen and Professor Niels Jessen, Head of Research at the Steno Diabetes Center at Aarhus University.

The highest academic accolade

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.

Honorary Doctorate Seminar

Thursday November 9, 2023, from 14 – to 15.30 Laurie Goodyear gives an Honorary Doctorate Presentation; 'Is exercise the cure for transmission of metabolic disease to offspring?' Epigenetic mechanisms and beyond'.

The seminar takes place in Auditorium 1, August Krogh-Bygningen, Universitetsparken 13. Participation is free, and registration is appreciated.

Register and see more about the lecture here.