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Keeping up with postdoc Nina Overgaard Therkildsen Despite her young age, postdoc Nina Overgaard Therkildsen is a highly acclaimed researcher. In 2011 she received one of the Elite Research Travel Grants awarded by The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, and in 2012 she was presented with the DTU’s Young Researcher Award, which is given to young researchers who have made an extraordinary effort and who have great potential for further development. As recent as May this year, Nina won one of the eight coveted prizes in the Danish newspaper Information’s PhD Cup 2013. Nina was based at the Fish Genetics group at DTU Aqua in Silkeborg, Denmark, and is currently at Stanford University in the United States on a The response time for tests was previously several weeks, but it is now possible to complete 300–400 tests per day using the latest genotype machine at DTU Aqua in Silkeborg, Denmark. The analyses are carried out using a special chip that can screen for a range of genetic variations at the same time. Thus far, Nina Overgaard Therkildsen has developed a panel of 81 markers which, in more than 90 per cent of cases, can link a given fish reliably to one of the four groups of cod in the waters around Greenland. It also makes it possible to track and manage fishing operations on a day-to-day basis—in the same way as is done with salmon fishing in North America. “Along the west coast of North America, the different salmon populations arrive at different times to swim up the rivers and spawn. Continuously analysing samples from the salmon caught makes it possible to establish precisely which population is being fished at a given time. So if certain populations need to be protected against overfishing, fishing operations can be adjusted accordingly. Similarly, restrictions can be relaxed once the more robust populations start to appear,” relates Professor Einar Eg Nielsen from the Fish Genetics Group at DTU Aqua. Line Reeh ! Further information Professor Einar Eg Nielsen, DTU Aqua, een@aqua.dtu.dk 2-year postdoc scholarship. for example. However, working with so many markers for each fish is an expensive and time-consuming process, so the next goal is to reduce the number of tests as much as possible. The work was headed up by postdoc Nina Overgaard Therkildsen, DTU Aqua, who has written her PhD thesis on Greenlandic cod from a climate perspective in collaboration with Greenland Climate Research Centre in Nuuk. Nina has also been working with the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources to make the results directly applicable in the administration of cod in Greenland. One of the measures she worked on is what is known as a ‘panel’, i.e. a rapid test that can be used to establish quickly which population a given fish belongs to. Photo Shutt erstock 39 DTU in profile 2013


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