Jens Nielsen pioneered Systems Biology in Europe. His research efforts focus on transferring science research to industrial applications – to create a society independent of fossil fuels. He has now been awarded Novozymes Prize.
Nielsen, a professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg (Sweden), literally co-wrote the book on Metabolic Engineering back in 1998. During this period he started teaching at the Danish Technical University (DTU), around the same time that the field was emerging at MIT.
This would later evolve into Systems and Synthetic Biology, both now massive areas of research and innovation. Systems Biology combines many different disciplines: mathematics, reaction and fermentation science, data integration and modern microbial genetics.
With such a comprehensive perspective, it aims to understand biological processes so well that they could be controlled and tinkered with in order to produce things society needs (drugs, materials, fuels) through cell factories.