Søren Brunak is Research Director of the Disease Systems Biology Program at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Copenhagen University, Denmark. He is a leading pioneer in the biomedical sciences through invention and introduction of new computational strategies for analysis of biomedical data for use in molecular biology, medicine and biotechnology. His main achievements can be divided into two categories: 1) new, advanced bioinformatics and systems biology techniques, and 2) discovery of biological mechanisms, revealed by the use of these methods in a wide range of biological systems.
Søren Brunak has been working within bioinformatics and computational biology since mid-1980s. In the early data-poor period Søren Brunak pioneered the introduction of new computational strategies for analysis of biological data of relevance in molecular biology, medicine and biotechnology – in particular machine learning techniques. In 1993 Søren Brunak became the founding Director of the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis (CBS) at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), heading a multi-disciplinary research group of molecular biologists, biochemists, medical doctors, physicists, and computer scientists.
In 2007 Søren Brunak became one of the founding research directors at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen. His program for Disease Systems Biology combines molecular level systems biology and the analysis of phenotypic data from the healthcare sector. In 2011 Søren Brunak was also one of the founders of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at DTU, where he led the Section for Metagenomic Systems Biology until 2013. He continues to be affiliated professor at DTU (DTU Bioinformatics) as well as at Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet).
The impact of Brunak’s research is in particular a consequence of his ability to combine scientific disciplines in novel ways, including computer technology (hardware and software), physics, biology, biomedical and biotechnological insights. His multi-disciplinary approaches, where concepts from different areas have been combined, have led to advances in the understanding of the function of biological systems, and thereby fundamentally improved the possibilities for control of disease via novel intervention strategies, and enhancement of health in general. Søren Brunak has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2016, a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters since 2004 and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization since 2009.
Søren Brunak has published close to 300 papers in international peer reviewed scientific journals (excluding proceedings), co-authored four books, three proceedings and edited books.