Professor Thor Grundtvig Theander

Professor in Parasitology and International Health

Thor Theander is a founder and Head of the Centre for Medical Parasitology ( The Centre employs about 80 scientists, students and technicians and has broad together malaria researchers from University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen University Hospital and the State Serum Institute. The Centre was rewarded the status of ”Centre of Global Excellence in Health” by the Capital Region of Denmark in 2015.

Author and co-author of 268 international peer reviewed journals as listed in PubMed. Malaria is the main focus for Professor Thor Theanders research and his main scientific achievements involves a family of proteins called Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1). These proteins are expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes, and mediate binding between these cells and cells on the vascular lining. In 2003 and 2004, Salanti and Theander identified VAR2CSA as the PfEMP1 responsible for placental sequestration. The group has since developed a VAR2CSA based vaccine to prevent placental malaria. The first GMP product was vialed in January 2015 and clinical phase 1 studies are set for November 2015 in Germany and Benin. In October 2015, the group published data in Cancer Cell showing that VAR2CSA binds to carbohydrates on a broad selection of cancer cells and can be used to deliver toxic compounds to these cells. These findings suggest that VAR2CSA could play a future role in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Thor Theander participated in the clinical phase 3 trial of the malaria vaccine, rts’s.