Kaare Christensen

Kaare Christensen

Kaare Christensen

Professor, Head of Research Unit, Head of Registry, Head of Centre, Chief Physician, Professor, DMSc.

J.B. Winsløws Vej 9 B, st. tv.

5000 Odense C


View graph of relations


1999 DMSc, University of Southern Denmark
1994 PhD, Faculty of Health Sciences, Odense University, Denmark
1987 MD from Odense University, Denmark


2002- Professor of Epidemiology, University of Southern Denmark
2010- Consultant (part time), Odense University Hospital
1999- Senior Research Scientist (part time), Sanford Institute, Duke University, USA

Professional affiliations

Director of the Danish Aging Research Center, 2008-
Director of The Danish Twin Registry, 2007-
Head of research, Unit of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography (until 2013 Unit of Epidemiology), University of Southern Denmark, 1998-
Scientific Director of The Danish Twin Registry, 1996-2006
Honorary Professor of the Epidemiology of Aging at the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2011-2016
Member of the Steering Committee of the Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, 2013-
Member of The Danish Council for Independent Research|Medical Sciences, 2014-
Member of the Executive Committee of The Danish Council for Independent Research|Medical Sciences, 2015-2016
Member of The Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils, 2015-
Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Danish National Institute of Public Health (SIF), 2017-2020
Member of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, 2018-
Chairman of the University Council, University of Southern Denmark, 2018-
Member of the Wellcome Trust Longitudinal Population Studies Committee, 2018

Honors and awards

Desireé and Niels Yde’s Award for Research, 1998
William Nielsen’s Award for Research, 1999
Research award: Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 2004
Award for outreach and communicating research, University of Southern Denmark, 2005
Codan Merit Award, 2006
On behalf of the Danish Twin Registry recipient of the ethical merit award for outstanding ethical conduct of health research, 2006.
The Erhoff Award for internationally acknowledged medical research, 2008
The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorship, University of Iowa, 2010
The James Shields Memorial Award for Twin Research in Behavioural Genetics, 2010
Ridder af Dannebrogordenen [awarded the Order of Dannebrog by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark], 2011
Honorary award granted by “Overlæge Th.E. Hess Thaysen og hustru’s Fond” (Danish Foundation) for cutting-edge, clinical research into genetic predisposition to disease, 2015
Sohlberg Nordic Prize in Gerontology, 2016
Fondation IPSEN Longevity prize, 2016

Invited lectures

Over 370 invited lectures in Europe, Asia and the USA


Of 37 PhD theses (principal supervisor of 17) and assessment of 12 doctoral theses and 33 PhD theses


Total number of international, peer-reviewed publications 1996-2018: 584

Total number of first and last authorships 1996-2018: 35 first authorships and 178 last authorships.

A total of 35 articles in high-impact journals 1996-2018: New England Journal of Medicine (3), Lancet (7), BMJ (10), Nature Genetics (2), Nature Review Genetics (1), JAMA (5), PNAS (3), Nature Communications (2), and Science (2). Of these 35 articles, 21 are with first or last authorships.

Web of Science: H-index: 72; total citations (without self-citations): 17,754
Google Scholar: H-index: 97; total citations: 37,099.

Researcher-ID: C-2360-2009

ORCID-ID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5429-5292

Selected peer-reviewed publications in chronological order (2003-2018)

Dokkedal U, Wod M, Thinggaard M, Hansen TG, Rasmussen LS, Mengel-From J,
Christensen K. No impact of surgery on cognitive function: a longitudinal study of
middle-aged Danish twins. Annals of Epidemiology 2018; 28(2):95-101.

Zarulli V, Barthold Jones JA, Oksuzyan A, Lindahl-Jacobsen R, Christensen K,
Vaupel JW.
Women live longer than men even during severe famines and epidemics.
PNAS USA 2018;115(4):E832-E840.

Osler M, Christensen GT, Garde E, Mortensen EL, Christensen K.
Cognitive ability in young adulthood and risk of dementia in a cohort of Danish men,
brothers, and twins.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia 2017; 13(12):1355-1363.

Zeng Y, Feng Q, Hesketh T, Christensen K, Vaupel JW.
Survival, disabilities in activities of daily living, and physical and cognitive functioning
among the oldest-old in China: a cohort study.
Lancet 2017;389(10079):1619-1629.

Lindahl-Jacobsen R, Rau R, Jeune B, Canudas-Romo V, Lenart A, Christensen K, Vaupel JW.
Rise, stagnation, and rise of Danish women's life expectancy. 
PNAS USA, 2016;113(15):4015-20.

Mucci LA, Hjelmborg JB, Harris JR, Czene K, Havelick DJ, Scheike T, Graff RE, Holst K,
Möller S, Unger RH, McIntosh C, Nuttall E, Brandt I, Penney KL, Hartman M, Kraft P,
Parmigiani G, Christensen K, Koskenvuo M, Holm NV, Heikkilä K, Pukkala E,
Skytthe A, Adami HO, Kaprio J; Nordic Twin Study of Cancer (NorTwinCan) Collaboration.
Familial risk and heritability of cancer among twins in Nordic Countries.
JAMA 2016;315(1):68-76.

Thinggaard M, McGue M, Jeune B, Osler M, Vaupel JW, Christensen K.
Survival prognosis in very old adults.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2016;64(1):81-8.

Christiansen L, Lenart A, Tan Q, Vaupel JW, Aviv A, McGue M, Christensen K. DNA methylation age is associated with mortality in a longitudinal Danish twin study.
Aging Cell 2016;15(1):149-54.

Vestergaard S, Thinggaard M, Jeune B, Vaupel JW, McGue M, Christensen K.
Physical and mental decline and yet rather happy? A study of Danes aged 45 and older.
Aging and Mental Health 2015; 19(5):400-8.

McGue M, Skytthe A, Christensen K.
The nature of behavioural correlates of healthy ageing: a twin study of lifestyle in mid to late life.
International Journal of Epidemiology 2014;43(3):775-82.

Christensen K, Thinggaard M, Oksuzyan A, Steenstrup T, Andersen-Ranberg K, Jeune B,
McGue M, Vaupel JW. Physical and cognitive functioning of people older than 90 years:
a comparison of two Danish cohorts born 10 years apart.
Lancet 2013;382(9903):1507-13.

Oksuzyan A, Jeune B, Juel K, Vaupel JW, Christensen K.
Changes in hospitalisation and surgical procedures among the oldest-old: a follow-up study of the entire Danish 1895 and 1905 cohorts from ages 85 to 99 years.
Age and Ageing 2013;42(4):476-81.

McGue M, Christensen K. Growing old but not growing apart: Twin similarity in the latter
half of the lifespan.
Behavior Genetics 2013;43(1):1-12.

Christensen K, Pedersen JK, Hjelmborg JV, Vaupel JW, Stevnsner T, Holm NV, Skytthe A.
Cancer and longevity- is there a trade-off? A study of co-occurrence in Danish
twin pairs born 1900-1918.
The Journals of Gerontology, Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2012;

Frost M, Petersen I, Brixen K, Beck-Nielsen H, Holst JJ, Christiansen L,Højlund K,
Christensen K.
Adult glucose metabolism in extremely birthweight-discordant monozygotic twins.
Diabetologia 2012;55(12):3204-12.

Christensen K, Thinggaard M, McGue M, Rexbye H, Hjelmborg J, Aviv A, Gunn D,
V d Ouderaa F, Vaupel JW.
Perceived age as clinically useful biomarker of ageing: cohort study.
BMJ 2009; (339): b5262.

Christensen K, Doblhammer G, Rau R, Vaupel JW.
Ageing populations: the challenges ahead.
Lancet 2009;374:1196-1208 (review).

Engberg H, Oksuzyan A, Jeune B, Vaupel JW, Christensen K. Centenarians –
a useful model for healthy aging? A 29-year follow-up of hospitalizations among
40 000 Danes born in 1905.
Aging Cell 2009;8: 270–276.

Christensen K, McGue M, Petersen I, Jeune B, Vaupel JW.
Exceptional longevity does not result in excessive levels of disability. 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2008; 105(36):13274-9.

Kimura M, Hjelmborg JvB, Gardner JP, Bathum L, Brimacombe M, Lu X, Christiansen L,
Vaupel JW, Aviv A, Christensen K.
Telomere length and mortality: a study of leukocytes in elderly Danish twins.
American Journal of Epidemiology 2008;167:799-806.

Christensen K, Murray JC. What genome-wide association studies can do for medicine.
New England Journal of Medicine 2007;356(11):1094-1097.

Christensen K, Johnson TE, Vaupel JW. The quest for genetic determinants of human
longevity: challenges and insights.
Nature Reviews Genetics 2006;7:436-448.

Vaupel JW, Carey R, Christensen K.
It’s never too late.
Science 2003;301:1679-1681.

Updated December, 2018