Prof Nielsen is Professor and Chair of Biological Engineering at The University of Queensland, Senior Group Leader at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology AIBN), and Chief Scientific Officer and Scientific Director at the Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainability, DTU, Denmark. He is Director of the Queensland Bioplatforms Australia Node, which provides systems and synthetic biology support to design and build cell factories for the production of fuels, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
His core research interest is modelling of cellular metabolism and his team has made many contributions to the formulation and use of genome scale models. He recently received a Novo Nordisk Foundation Laureate Research Grant to develop large scale, mathematical models to explore and explain the molecular basis for homeostasis – the self-regulating processes evolved to maintain metabolic equilibrium. Studying homeostasis is relevant for the understanding and treatment of complex diseases, particular with the emergence of personalized medicine. It is equally important when we seek to repurpose the cellular machinery for the production of desired chemicals, materials and pharmaceuticals.