Group of metabolism, growth and puberty

Rikke Beck Jensen and her group investigates the crosstalk between insulin metabolism and the endocrine system responsible for growth and puberty.

The group is part of Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, and aims to understand the mechanisms behind the interaction between insulin metabolism, the growth hormone/Insulin-like Growth factor-I (GH/IGF-I) axis and sex steroids in healthy cohorts as well as in patients. 

Main research areas include:

The effect of the perinatal environment on metabolism, growth, puberty and reproductive function

The aim of this research is to identify the impact of environmental, genetic and epigenetic changes in utero, or even before fertilization, on growth, puberty and metabolism.

The group has been involved in several large-scale follow-up studies on the effect of the perinatal environment on subsequent health involving children with low birth weight, children whose mothers had Type 1 diabetes and the group is currently involved in a large study of children born after assisted reproduction technologies.

Our research in this area has already demonstrated that the perinatal environment has a profound impact on later health and that new prevention strategies are needed.

Growth hormone treatment and IGF-I titration – effects of metabolism

With this research we aim to determine the appropriate dosage of growth hormone in childhood. International guidelines recommend titration of growth hormone dose to keep the growth factor IGF-I within the normal levels for safety issues.

Our current and previous research has demonstrated that more individualized treatment regimens are needed and through a large cohort of growth hormone treated children we aim at determining the optimal treatment strategy.

In addition, we explore the metabolic effects on growth response in children treated with growth hormone to increase our knowledge of the interaction between insulin and IGF-I. 

Modification of metabolic status and its impact on pubertal onset and progression

The age of pubertal onset has been constantly declining during the last decades which has consequences for the psychosocial development of the child as well as detrimental long-term health consequences. 

The increase in body mass index in the general population of children has been proposed as a major contributing factor.

Our research in this field will provide us with relevant data on pubertal timing and progression of puberty from large cohorts of children with early puberty and interventional studies which is important to develop a prevention strategy. 

Current team members

  • PhD students: Emmie Upners, Louise Asserhøj
  • Master students: Anna Lebech Kjær, Christoffer Renault, Ditte Wøjdemann, Anna Berg Hansen
  • Bachelor students: Benedikte von Spreckelsen
  • Previous members
  • PhD students: Jeanette Tinggaard
  • Master students: Mathilde Wegmann
  • Bachelor students: Amanda Wang, Amalie Johansen, Maja Marstrand-Jørgensen

Key collaborators

  • Professor David Dunger, Department of Paediatrics, Cambridge University, UK
  • Dr Ajay Thankamony, Department of Paediatrics, Cambridge University, UK
  • Professor Ken Ong, Department of Paediatrics, Cambridge University, UK
  • Professor Anja Pinborg, Fertility Clinic, Rigshospitalet, Denmark
  • Associate professor Tine Dalsgaard Clausen, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Hillroed Hospital, Denmark
  • Professor Gorm Greisen, Neonatal Clinic, Rigshospitalet, Denmark
  • Professor Peter Damm, Department of Obstetrics, Rigshospitalet, Denmark
  • Professor Dorte Møller Jensen, Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital, Denmark
  • Professor Claus Gravholt, Department of Endocrinology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark

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