Focus Areas

Rigshospitalet houses nationally and internationally recognised research environments, ensuring establishment of the latest international clinical and research-related results.


The most important focus areas for research by the centres and departments are briefly described below: 

​​​​The Centre for Cancer and Organ Diseases

​Department of Anaesthesia and Operation
Human circulatory physiology
Monitoring of central blood volume
Peri-operative patho-physiology
Cerebral blood flow and metabolism
Post-operative pains after breast surgery
Targeted fluid therapy
Reduction of peri-operative loss of blood

Department of Hepatology
Treatment of acute liver failure
Patho-physiology in connection with liver failure and encephalopathy
Development of liver replacement therapy
Liver gene expression of acute-phase reaction regarding effects of liver damage
Endotoxin determined cholestasis
Treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C
Haemodynamic effects in connection with chronic liver disease
Treatment of alcoholic hepatitis and hepatorenal syndrome

Intensive Care Unit 
Patho-physiology in connection with critical illness
Human experimental models for critical illness
Brain patho-physiology
Blood supply and metabolism of the brain
Muscle stimulation of critically ill patients
Markers for haemostasis
Colonic barrier function
Genetic epidemiology
Inhalation treatment of critically ill patients

The Finsen Laboratory
Experimental cancer research for clinical use
Extra-cellular proteolysis in connection with cancer invasion and metastasising
Basic mechanisms and identification of molecules involved in these processes, development of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods 

Department of Haematology
Alloreactivity, immune reconstitution, graft-versus-host disease, graft-versus-leukemia effect
Autologous stem cell transplantation, minimal residual disease
Molecular biology and cell biology of CD5+ B-cell malignancies
Innate immunity and myeloid cell maturation
Effects of bisphosphonates on cell cycle and apoptosis of myeloma cells
Genetic and epigenetic alterations in malignant lymphoma and MDS
FDG-PET for optimization of the treatment of malignant lymphoma
Pathogenesis of inherited MDS
Non-medical intervention as profylaxis against infections in neutropenic patients with AML

Department of Surgery
Gastrointestinal endocrinology
Gastroenterologic cancers
Inflammatory intestinal diseases
Organ transplantations
Gastroenterologic endoscopy
Surgical children’s diseases

Department of Medical Gastroenterology
The patophysiological consequences of short bowel syndrome.
Human experimental studies aiming to improve intestinal function in patients with intestinal insufficiency and failure.
Treatment with intestinotrophic agents.
Studies of body composition and bone mineral density in patients with intestinal disorders.
Epidemiological cohort studies of complications in relation to enteral and parenteral nutrition.
Biological agents in the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Department of Nephrology & Endocrinology
Calciummetabolic disturbances in uremia
Parathyroid regulation
Uremia and atherosclerosis
Prevention of chronic uremia
Clinical & experimental transplantation
Post transplant diabetes and bone disease
Acute and chronic dialysis
Microalbuminuria/endothelial cell dysfunction.         
Diabetic nephropathy
Diabetes and endstage uremia
Diabetes and pregnancy
Growth hormone and uremia
Growth hormone and pituitary insufficiency
Pituitary gland and thyroid
Pituitary insufficiency and brain damage
Thyroid associated ophthalmopathy
Thyroid and quality of life
Evaluation of endocrine tests
Cytokines/milieu factors and endocrine function in vitro
Fabry disease

Department of Oncology
Clinical research trials of antineoplastic treatment modalities in patients with solid tumours.
Investigations of new antineoplastic drugs, including new targeted products, in the treatment of different solid tumours.
Development and investigations of new advanced technologies in high precision radiotherapy, including respiratory adapted radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy, and particle therapy.
Investigations of advanced imaging modalities for radiotherapy planning, in particular PET/CT-scans with FDG and other markers.
Development and investigations of molecular markers for selection of patients to different kinds of antineoplastic treatment.
Investigations of diagnostic tools in patients with solid tumours, including PET/CT-scans and molecular biology.
Targeted gene therapy for patients with small cell lung cancer.
Molecular biology and clinical investigations in patients with brain tumours.

Centre for Physical Activity Research (CFAS)/Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism (CIM)
Exercise as medicine; diabetes, cancer, and other diseases
Physical inactivity
Muscle - fat – brain interaction
Inflammation - metabolism interaction
Aging, inflammation and cognitive function

Department of Radiation Oncology
Significance of over-expression of the EGF receptor and a cancer-specific receptor (EGFRvIII) for the development and maintenance of the malignant phenotype
Transcriptional targeted gene therapy against small-cell lung cancer

Department of Urology
Physiology and patho-physiology of the bladder and urethra
Male infertility
Urological oncology
Urological symptoms after spinal cord injury

Institute for Inflammation Research (IIR)
Gene expression (genechips)
Cell growth/death
Signal peptides (cytokines)
Complement and complement receptors, B- and T-lymphocyte functions
Receptors of the innate immune system (Toll-like receptors etc.)
Antigen presentation, dendritic cells, vaccination
Pathogenic mechanisms in infectious and immunoinflammatory diseases (fx. rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, arteriosclerosis, cancers).
Development of new therapies for immunoinflammatory diseases
Immunogenicity of biopharmaceuticals and monitoring treatments with 

​​​​​The Centre of Diagnostic Investigation 

Infectious Hygiene Unit
Development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics
Quality control of flexible endoscopes
Quality control of haemodialysis apparatus
Nosocomial, gastrointestinal infections
Quality control of respirators
Typing of multi-resistant bacteria
Spread of MRSA

Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET
Molecular imaging
PET and PET/CT in oncology
Examination of children 
Radioactive marking of stem cells
Nuclear cardiology and neuro-endocrinology
Neuro PET
Examination of the lungs, particularly mucociliary clearance and SPECT
Treatment with radio-nuclides (local radiotherapy)
Whole-body counting with regard to body composition and absorption of minerals

Department of Clinical Biochemistry 
Expression regulation and biologically active peptides
Diagnostics of disease genes
Vascular biology
Transcription factors in cell growth and differentiation
Transgenic mice as disease models
Transgenic mouse models for signal transduction pathways
Disease mechanism in connection with leukaemia
Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay: a genomic monitoring system
RNA biology

Department of Clinical Pharmacology
Clinical pharmacology: DNA repair and oxidative damage and ageing. Pharmaco-epidemiology.
Drug compliance
Molecular biological markers for drug effects. Rational pharmaco-therapy.
Quality control: Drug prescription, audit of bed-consuming departments. Register studies (Statistics Denmark drug database).

Department of Clinical Immunology, Blood Bank
Recombinant antibodies
Genomic blood grouping
Erythrocyte chimerism
Immune reconstitution after bone marrow transplantation
Cultivation and use of mesenchymal stem cells
Cellular therapy
Optimisation of massive blood transfusion treatment
Immunological aspects of HIV and malaria infections
Molecular biological and animal experimental research in cytokines
Diagnostics of viral infections transmittable in connection with transfusions

Department of Clinical Immunology, Tissue Typing Laboratory
Immunogenetics in connection with infection, autoallergy and allergies
Characterisation of immune defects
Molecular genetic and biological aspects regarding the adaptive immune system
Molecular genetic and biological aspects regarding the innate immune system
Molecular genetic and biological aspects regarding malignant haematological diseases

Department of Clinical Microbiology
Pathogenesis, prophylaxis and treatment of P. aeruginosa infection in cystic fibrosis patients
Immunology of parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis and malaria as well as the development of drugs
Pathogenesis and immunology of Helicobacter pylori infection
Diagnostics and molecular biology of parvovirus B-19, RSV and the measles virus
Diagnostics, epidemiology and organic aspects of Clostridium difficile

Department of Pathology 
Clinical oncological pathology
Experimental pathology and molecular cancer therapy
Transplantation pathology/immunology, including diabetes
Neuro-degenerative diseases
Reproduction/foetal pathology

Department of Diagnostic Radiology
Mammography screening
MR spectroscopy
Endoluminal UL sonography
Contrast agents and UL sonography in tumour characterisation
Image fusion: UL, CT, MR, PET
CT coronary arteriography
Interventional neuroradiology

​​​​​​​​​The Heart Centre 

​Department of Cardiology
Ischaemic heart disease – clinically controlled studies
Gene therapy and stem-cell therapy in myocardial ischaemia
Genetic molecular mechanisms behind heart hypertrophy and arrhythmia
Heart failure – clinically controlled studies
Atrial fibrillation and treatment
The role of cell cycle in heart hypertrophy
Clinical genetic studies within cardiomyopathy and arrhithmia
Resyncronisation therapy
Right ventricular function in heart failure
Genetic mechanisms in heart failure

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Lung and heart transplantation
Valve-preserving heart surgery
Surgical revascularisation without the use of a heart-lung machine as well as total arterial revascularisation
Extra-corporal circulation (ECC).
Heart Mate as a bridge to heart transplantation
Surgery for pectus excavatus and mesothelioma
Randomised studies focusing on ECC, haemorrhage, thrombosis, PCI versus CABG

Department of Infectious Diseases 
Experimental model of human sepsis
HIV treatment, virology and immunology
Inflammation and metabolism
Malaria immunology
Meningitis patho-physiology
Infection immunology
Stress immunology
Aging, immunology 

Department of Thoratic Anaesthesiology
Hypothermia treatment after circulation stop
Reperfusion oedema after a single lung transplantation
Mechanical assist devices for patients with terminal heart failure
Thrombo-elastogram and bleeding mechanisms​

Department of Vascular Surgery
Secondary Prevention and pharmacological treatment of patients with peripheral arterial disesase (PAD)
Cerebral perfusion and carotid artery disease
Development of diagnostic ultrasound in patients with cerebrovascular disease and PAD
Endovascular treatment of abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms

​​The Centre of Head and Orthopaedics 

Department of Anaesthesia
Postoperative cognitive dysfunction
Management of the difficult airway
Anaesthesia for obese patients
Neuromuscular blocking agents
Perioperative pulmonary dysfunction
Optimisation of perioperative use of blood products
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Department of Occupational- and Physiotherapy
Children and elitist sports
The immune system and physical activity
Ergotherapy and physiotherapy
Back disorders
Nutrition and training in connection with diseases
Rehabilitation of muscular-skeletal disorders
Hyper mobility syndromes
Rare congenital disabilities

Department of Plastic Surgery and Burn Unit
Surgical and adjuvant vaccination treatment of malignant melanoma
Development of diagnostic procedures in stage grouping of malignant melanoma
Genetic reasons and new surgery procedures in children with cleft lip and palate
Primary breast reconstruction in connection with breast cancer treatment
Physiology of circulation in tissue flaps
Pressure sore treatment in paraplegic patients
Epidemiology, prevention and instrumental diagnosis of burns
Reduction of bleeding in burn surgery

Department of Breast Surgery
Epidemiologic, clinical and prognostic aspects in breast cancer
Diagnostics and treatment of symptoms from the breasts
Optimisation of acute and chronic pain management in breast cancer treatment
Optimasation of the sentinel lymph node technique
Screening of psycosocial distress in women with breast cancer
Intraoperative radiotherapy
Fast track surgery for breast cancer
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Bone density studies in relation to endo prothesis and after spinal surgery
X-ray stereophotometric analyses
Angiotensin genotype and spinal surgery. Significance for regional blood flow and post-operative course.
Effects of cytokines and other signal molecules on insulin signalling in primary human muscle cell cultures
Development and studies of a new minimal invasive anterior approach in primary total hip alloplasty

Department of Dental and Maxilliofacial Surgery, Odontology Knowledge Centre, 3D Laboratory
Maxillofacial and dental traumatology
Dental and bone transplantations
Corrective/orthognathic oral suregery
Growth factors
Oral medicine
Precancerous diseases
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment
Nerve regeneration
3D technology
Visualisation, analysis, modelling and simulation of multi-dimensional medical data, with application within medicine and odontology

Eye Clinic 
Age-related macular-degeneration epidemiology in Denmark and Greenland.
Glaucoma, oxygen tension in the blind spot
Oncology, imaging
Developmental defects, traumatology and reconstruction surgery
Orbital diseases
Treatment of retinovitreal diseases
Transplantation of retinal pigment epithelium

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery
Image guided surgery
Diagnostic biomarkers in tumour tissue, blood and saliva in oral and pharyngeal planocellular cancers
Sentinel Node Biopsy studies in patients with oral planocellular cancers
The presence of micro-metastasis in sentinel and non-sentinel lymph nodes in oral planocellular cancers
The presence of human papillomavirus in connection with head and throat cancers
"The Visible Ear Project"
Screening of the hearing in new-borns
Ménière´s disease
Inflammation of the middle ear in Greenland
Wegener’s granulomatosis
Chronic sinusitis and link to pulmonary diseases
Significance of sinusitis in cystic fibrosis patients

Department of Rheumatology and Spine Diseases
Cohort studies of several rheumatology patient groups, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, anti-phopholipid syndrome, sclerodermi, neuro-sarcoidosis and Wegener’s granulomatosis.
Research is primarily aimed at these cohorts in the form of clinical research supported by laboratory research with studies of various inflammatory and serologic biomarkers.

​​​​ The Juliane Marie Centre 

Department of Growth and Reproduction
Carcinoma in situ of the testis and testicular cancer
Testicle development and differentiation of germinal cells
Male infertility and hypogonadism
Endocrine disrupters
Intersex conditions
Growth and development
Intra-uterine growth and placental growth hormone
Insulin-like growth factors
Effect of hormone receptors on cell growth and differentiation
Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome

Department of Anaesthesia and Operation
Post-operative pain management
Pain management for children

Department of Surgical Pathophysiology 
Surgical pathophysiology focusing on perioperative fluid treatment, perioperative pain physiology and treatment as well as further development of the concept ”accelerated operation course”.
Mechanisms and prevention of chronic pain after surgery
Optimisation of the surgical nursing

Department of Psychology, Play Therapy and Social Counselling
Psychosocial aspects of disease and treatment
Psychosocial reactions in mothers and fathers on pregnancy, birth and maternity leave
Fathers’ relations to their babies and infants
Treatment of obese children
Psychological, social and sexological aspects of rape
Sexually abused children
Psychosocial and neuro-psychological late symptoms in radiotherapy and chemotherapy in childhood
Men’s health

The Fertility Department 
Clinical trials in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).
Immunological and genetic causes of recurrent miscarriage
Single emsbryo transfer strategies
Multipel pregnancies
Cancer and reproduction

Laboratory of Reproductive Biology
Endocrine regulation of growth, maturation and ovulation of the ovarian follicle
Effect of smoking and other environmental chemicals on the differentiation of the reproductive system of the human foetus 
Cryopreservation of human ovaries and testes as means of fertility preservation
Derivation of human embryonic stem cells and their differentiation
Regulation of meiosis in human and murine oocytes
Improving ovarian stimulation in women undergoing assisted reproduction.
Gynecological cancer (cervix, ovary, uterus)
Tumour markers
Sexual assault
Ovarian dysfunction, premature menopause
Early pregnancy, national quality database
Reproduction epidemiology
Artificial Reproductive Technologies
Imprinting diseases
Birth control pills and cancer/cardiovascular diseases
Hormone therapy and risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer 
Medical, care-related, social, psychological and legal aspects in connection with rape and attempted rape

Department of Clinical Genetics
Molecular genetics and pathophysiology
Inborn errors of metabolism
Mitochondrial disease
Prenatal diagnosis
Molecular cytogenetics
Cytogenetics of acute leukemia
Ion transport in epithelia and glands of the respiratory tract
Craniofacial malformations

Department of Neonatology 
Perinatal brain damage
Late outcome in individuals born preterm
Intrauterine growth restriction and the programming hypthesis 

Department of Obstetrics 
Diabetes and pregnancy
Research in medical education
Pregnancy in women with blood-type immunization
Heart diseases in pregnant women
Reasons for secondary inertia
Helping pregnant women stop smoking
Premature births
Intrauterine monitoring of foetuses at risk
Thrombophilia in pregnant women
Perinatal health service research and audit.
Obstetric skills training
Overweight women and pregnancy
Exercise and pregnancy
Psychological factors and acute caesarean section

Centre of Fetal Medicine and Ultrasound
Screening for Down's syndrome and congenital malformations.
Screening in women pregnant after assisted reproductive technology.
The informed choice and first trimester risk estimate.
The effect of Progesterone on the risk of preterm delivery in twin pregnancies.
Advanced invasive procedures.
Screening for and assessment of intrauterine growth retardation.
3D/4D-UL in the assessment of the development of the fetal face and fetal heart

Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Individualised therapy and late effect studies of children with cancer or rheumatological diseases
Paediatrics in developing country 
Epilepsy and neuromuscular diseases
Cerebral paresis
Inflammatory markers in rheumatologic diseases and bone-marrow transplantation
Prevention and treatment of complications in cystic fibrosis, ciliary dyskinesia, asthma, respiratory syncytial virus and broncho-pulmonal dysplasia
Mapping the natural history of childhood leukaemia

Department of Kennedy Centre
The research in the Kennedy Center is organized in five main research activities:
Visual impairment and developmental eye disorders
Mental retardation, development defects and other intellectual disabilities
Copper metabolism: Functional studies and gene therapy
Phenylketonuria and related disorders
Specific diseases and areas under these categories include Tourette syndrome, dopa responsive dystonia, the fragile X syndrome, Menkes syndrome, PKU and related disorders, Down syndrome, Rett syndrome and other mental retardation syndromes. Some of the rare genetic eye diseases we work with are aniridia, congenital cataract, congenital glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, optic atrophy, microphthalmia, and albinism.

​​​The Neuroscience Centre 

Multidisciplinary Pain Centre
Epidemiology, non-cancer and cancer
Chronic non-cancer pain conditions

Department of Clinical Neurophysiology
Physiology and pathophysiology in the peripheral neuromuscular system
Regeneration of nervous and muscular tissue
Physiology and pathophysiology of the central nervous system in normal subjects and in connection with multiple sclerosis
Motor control in connection with spasticity
Diagnosis and treatment of severe epilepsies
Biotechnology, particularly concerning signal analysis of muscle and nerve electrical signals

Department of Neuroanaesthesiology
Cerebrovascular function and cerebral metabolism
Neuroprotection in critically ill patients
High altitude physiology

Department of Neurosurgery
The dynamics of cerebro-spinal fluid and resorption resistance
Molecular biology in connection with aneurysms in Inuits
Brain aquaporins in connection with brain oedema and glioblastoma
Brain tumours and subarachnoid haemorrhage
Radiosurgery in connection with tumours and vascular abnormalities
Functional surgery, e.g. Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy
Operation methods in connection with herniated disk

Department of Neurology
The department of neurology contains the following research units:
Epilepsy Clinic, Memory Disorders Research Unit, Neurobiology Research Unit & Center for Integrated Molecular Brain Imaging (Cimbi), Neuromuscular Research Unit, The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Research Centre, Vascular and General Neurology

Epilepsy Clinic
Clinical experiments with new anticonvulsants
Pharmacokinetics of newer anticonvulsants
Epilepsy surgery
Fertility aspects of anticonvulsant treatment
Reflex epilepsy
Local functional - anatomic changes in Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME)
Phenotyping of JME – sub-groups for genetic research
Automatic signal and image editing of epileptic seizure

The Memory Disorders Research Group & the Danish Dementia Info Center
Clinical and neurogenetic research in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, including familial disorders and normal pressure hydrocephalus:
Early diagnosis, drug development and innovation in social intervention
Social and legal aspects
Neurobiology Research Unit & Center for Integrated Molecular Brain Imaging (Cimbi)
Studies of the brain’s receptor and pathophysiology with SPECT (single photon emission computer tomography) and PET (positron emission tomography)
The brain’s functional structure, studies with PET and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging)
Methods for data analysis of PET, MR and SPECT.
Brain blood flow regulation and receptor conditions
Celullar and anatomical analysis on receptor regulation and binding
Genetic studies on receptor regulation

Neuromuscular Research Unit
Treatment and diagnostics of muscle diseases and neuropathies
Basic physiological studies of myopathies
Mitochondrial biology: Role for aging and disease
Muscle regeneration in muscular dystrophies and treatment models
Phenotype-genotype relations in hereditary muscle diseases
Exercise physiology and treatments for metabolic myopathies
Danish Multiple Sclerosis Research Centre
(Including the Neuroimmunology Laboratory)
Investigator driven studies of new treatments of MS
Neuroimaging of MS: PET and MRI
Cognitive dysfunction in MS patients
Genetic risk factors of MS
Immune activation and treatment effect on leukocyte subgroups
Biomarkers of treatment response
Pathology of MS: demyelination and remyelination in progressive MS

Vascular and general neurology
Cerebrovascular diseases
Secondary stroke prevention
Endovascular treatments
Department of Spinal Cord Injury
Epidemiological investigations
Evaluation of spasticitiy in individuals with spinal cord lesions
Pain and osteoporosis in individuals with spinal cord lesions
Development of neurorehabilitation techniques guided by investigations of the neuroplasticity (neuroimaging and electrophysiology)
Outcome measures
Urological/microbiological projects related to individuals with spinal cord lesions

Respiratory Centre East
Home Mechanical Ventilation research
Tracheostomi adaptation programs and research
Long-term noninvasive ventilation research
Congenit Central Hypoventilation Syndrome research
State-of-the-art research on the development of novel antimicrobial materials and surface coatings to be used in respiratory medical devices
Part of CRAM international association (Centre for Research on Respiration and Antimicrobial Materials)

​​​​The Nordic Cochr​​​ane Center 

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
Methodologic research, particularly related to randomised trials, observational studies and meta-analyses.
Placebo, including the effect of nonspecific interventions.

Copenhagen Trial Unit (CTU) and Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group (CHBG) 
Randomised clinical trials in prevention, treatment and care. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
Methods and technology related to randomised clinical trials and meta-analyses. 
Cochrane Hepato-Biliary Group:
​Systematic reviews of interventions and registration of specialist literature within hepato-biliary diseases.


​UCSF - University Hospitals Centre for Nursing and Care Research

Development of concepts and theoretical background within improved health, caring and nursing
Near-patient clinical intervention research (cancer and intensive care area)
Cancer rehabilitation
Research in networking among patient groups
Evidence-based nursing in theory and practice


​​CAMES - Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation

Competence evaluation of specialists
ALS project
Simulation-based training in airway endoscopy
Simulation-based training in cardio-vascular study/treatment
Inter-professional teaching
Competence assessment in education of junior doctors and interns
Effect of systematic training in the medical conversation
Mandatory course in pedagogical practise for introductory doctors​

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