Preben Bo Mortensen

Staff portrait: Preben Bo Mortensen

Preben Bo Mortensen is professor at the Department and is head of NCRR - National Centre for Register-based Research.

How long have you been employed at the Department of Economics and Business?
Since September 2000. For the first many years, however, the NCRR was a separate Center referring to the Dean, and we have only physically been living together with the other DoEB members since the summer of 2012.

What is your background?
I am a medical doctor and graduated in 1986. Since I was a medical student I have been involved in psychiatric research as I had planned to become a psychiatrist. However, after some years of clinical work (which I enjoyed) I got the chance to focus exclusively on research, so I chose that instead.
Then in 2000 I got the chance to start the National Centre for Register-based Research, initially funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, and since 2012 I have also directed the new interdisciplinary center for register based research at Aarhus University, CIRRAU, and a national psychiatric research initiative funded by the Lundbeck foundation, iPSYCH.

What are your main areas of research?
I guess my work has two main themes: how can Danish registers and biobanks be put to the best use possible in research? And: how can we use these sources to identify causes, prevention and better treatments of severe mental disorders. Mental disorders are common, cause a lot of suffering and impairment, are associated with much stigma, and constitute a huge cost to society. And Danish data sources provide some very unique possibilities to contribute significantly, so it is very easy to feel motivated. 

What research projects are you working on at the moment?
Quite a few:-) For example studies of how factors impacting upon fetal brain development, e.g., infections, stress or dietary factors, alone or in interaction with genetic factors are associated with risk of Schizophrenia.

What are you involved in teaching-wise at the moment?
Not much

Are you planning to take part in any conferences or the like abroad in the near future?
Yes, unusually many this spring, two in the US and one in Italy, all on schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

Are you expecting any visiting researchers from abroad in the near future (or have you had any visitors from abroad recently)?
We have visitors from abroad most of the time because people come to work with us on the Danish data sources, typically from the US, UK, Ireland and Australia, all in the field of mental disorders. 

Are you cooperating with researchers from other departments at AU at the moment?
Yes, especially Public Health, Biomedicine, the Clinical Institute at HEALTH, but also environmental science and Biology, and Political Science.

What do you do when you are not at work?
I like to walk, cook, listen to music, watch football, and occasionally read. And a lot of other things.

Supplementary question from time Michael Rosholm: How is it to suddenly be part of an economics department?
It is actually not that sudden. I have for strange random reasons been working with economists from time to time since 1996, and have always enjoyed it. Our research is of course somewhat "outfield" compared to many other groups at the department, but since I, professionally at least,  am much more fond of data than elaborate and wordy theory, I somehow feel I fit right in. Also it does not hurt that people are friendly and nice:-)

Please give us your suggestion for the next department staff member to be presented:
Mikael Søndergaard

What specific supplementary question would you like him or her to answer?
Which unusual pieces of kitchen equipment would you recommend more people should get (you may limit the list to 10 items:-))

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