Head of COPSAC, Professor, DMSc, MD
COpenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood
Hans Bisgaard is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Copenhagen, founder and Head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood; COPSAC, located at the Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen and Naestved Hospital. He received his Doctor of Medical Science degree on his pivotal work on the role of leukotrienes in asthma, and worked as guest professor at the Pediatric Asthma Centre in Denver, Colorado, still maintaining comprehensive international research collaborations. The mission of Hans Bisgaard’s research is to understand the origins of asthma, eczema and allergy and to translate this into clinical practice to improve disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Clinical translational research in the very early life has been pivotal in this endeavor. Fifteen years ago, Dr. Bisgaard founded the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) mother-child cohorts, recruiting 1100 pregnant women. Their children are being followed closely at the research clinic according to strict guidelines and with extensive objective assessments. These unique extensive clinical data and the comprehensive biobank are combined with cutting-edge interdisciplinary basic research, including genome wide scanning, sequencing of the microbiome in multiple human compartments, and longitudinal metabolomics to develop a differentiated characterization of the disease processes. This concept has proven successful as reflected in important discoveries on the role of the human microbiome for the origins of asthma and allergy and the unraveling of novel genes and gene-environment interactions. The resonance of the results is illustrated by an increasing number of publications in the highest-ranking international journals as well as patent applications. The COPSAC studies, with their unique translational clinical research approach based on long-term studies of birth cohorts, hold the promise to improve our understanding of the processes leading towards health and disease in an interaction between heredity and environment, in particular the human microbiome. Importantly, we believe asthma, eczema and allergy are early indicators of a range on non-communicable diseases, which have increased in parallel during the recent half century. Therefore, our research has expanded to other disorders including disturbances of growth, cognitive and motor development as well as immune maturation.