Dr. Birgitte Kornum

Assistant Professor
University of Copenhagen

Birgitte Rahbek Kornum is an assistant professor at University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark. The current focus of her research is to determine under which conditions an autoimmune attack on neurons can occur. The research focuses on the neurologic sleep disorder narcolepsy, where the hypocretin/orexin producing neurons in hypothalamus are lost. As a post doc she discovered that autoreactive CD4+ T lymphocytes are central to the disease pathogenesis, but the mechanism leading to neuronal loss is still a mystery. Her current lab studies the details of the possible neuron-immune system interaction using both cell culture and animal models. A part of this work includes functional studies of immune related risk variants in narcolepsy, in particular P2RY11.

Dr. Kornum did her post doctoral training at Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences in the lab of Dr. Emmanuel Mignot. During this time she was awarded the 2011 Young Scientist Award from the American Association of Sleep Medicine for her discovery of the association of P2RY11 with narcolepsy. In 2013, Dr. Kornum was awarded a Lundbeck foundation fellowship, and in 2015 she was elected member of the Young Academy of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

Dr. Kornum has a BSc degree in chemical engineering from the Danish Technical University (2000) and continued her training at University of Copenhagen, where she got a MSc degree in human biology (2003) and a PhD degree from the School of Neuroscience (2009). She has published >50 international peer reviewed papers (H-index 19), 4 book chapters, and 1 patent application.