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Professor Ruth Frikke-Schmidt MD, DMSc, PhD

Professor of Clinical Biochemistry

Professor and Deputy Head at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen and Chief Physician at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital.

Chairman of the Scientific Programme Committee for the EAS 2020 Congress in Geneva 2018-2020, and EAS Executive Committee member 2017-2020; Chairman of the Scandinavian Society for Atherosclerosis Research 2006–2011; Member of the steering committee for the Copenhagen General Population Study (a study of 110,000 participants from the general population); Member of the steering committee for the Copenhagen Baby Heart study (a study of 30,000 newborns); Member of the steering committee for the National Institute of Public Health 2017-ongoing; Editorial board member of Atherosclerosis 2017-ongoing.

Positions, academic degrees, and honors

1995: MD, University of Copenhagen.
1995-1995: Research assistant, Rigshospitalet.
1995-1997: Internship, Herlev Hospital.
1997-2002: Specialist training, Herlev Hospital & Rigshospitalet.
2001: PhD degree, University of Copenhagen.
2002-2005: Postdoctoral fellow, Rigshospitalet and University of Michigan, Dept. Human Genetics.
2005-2008: Senior scientist/consultant, Rigshospitalet.
2008-2012: Consultant, Rigshospitalet.
2009: DMSc degree, University of Copenhagen.
2012-now: Chief Physician, Rigshospitalet (responsible for a research core facility with biobanking and biomarker analyses for internal and external scientists in the Copenhagen area).
2013-2018: Clinical Research Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen.
2017-now: Deputy Head of the Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen (responsible for innovation and internationalization).
2018-now: Professor, University of Copenhagen.


Early on Ruth Frikke-Schmidt (RFS) performed a series of papers on a central lipid transport protein, apolipoprotein E (apoE) (e.g. JACC 2000), and on the newly identified ABCA1 gene. ABCA1 was sequenced in the population extremes (J Clin Invest 2004, JACC 2005), and a series of Mendelian Randomization studies was performed and showed that the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol is not causally related to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (e.g. JAMA 2008, Lancet 2012), a highly controversial statement in 2008. All ongoing HDL increasing trials failed and the findings had major impact on drug-development in the field, and on how  HDL cholesterol in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is understood today. Subsequently, RFS leveraged her knowledge from peripheral lipid metabolism into neurodegenerative diseases, where local lipid transport is emerging as a key player – with apoE and its key lipidator, ABCA1, as important examples (e.g. Alzheimers Dement 2015 & 2018, Eur Heart J 2019). RFS and her students have established apoE levels as causal factors for dementia in large scale genotyping and resequencing efforts (Alzheimers Dement 2018 and 2020, Eur Heart J 2019), paving the way for apoE targeted therapeutic applications. Most recently RFS and her students have established that a healthy cardiovascular profile nearly halves the risk of dementia, even in those groups with highest genetic susceptibility (Eur Heart J 2020). This highlights the shared potential for prevention of cardiovascular disease and dementia. Further, her knowledge in human lipid metabolism is translated into clinical guidance by working with the European Atherosclerosis Society Task Force Consensus Statement (Lancet Diabetes Metabolism 2020).


Total number of publications: 152
Web of Science H-index: 47
Number of citations: 16,759 (16,421 without self-citations)

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