In February 2021 Henriette Svarre Nielsen stepped into ReproUnion’s Executive Board (EB). Since 2018 she has been part of ReproUnion’s Challenge 2 and worked alongside colleagues in Greater Copenhagen to launch the ReproUnion Biobank & Infertility Cohort (RUBIC).

“We warmly welcome Henriette to the Executive Board and are pleased that she wants to expand her involvement in ReproUnion. Her experience and affiliation in- and outside the project will continue to support the ReproUnion team, as we further embed current activities in the project and look into the future”, says Petter Hartman, CEO of Medicon Valley Alliance, on behalf of the ReproUnion Executive Board.

In 2019 Henriette Svarre Nielsen became Professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Copenhagen, as well as consultant at Hvidovre Hospital with clinical duties in the fertility clinic as well as heading the recurrent pregnancy loss unit. In 2020 Henriette was granted 18 million DKK for a BioInnovation Institute Faculty Project, aiming to develop a diagnostic test that can inform couples after a pregnancy loss and guide relevant actions.

“My dream is to truly understand the underlying reasons for female and reproductive diseases, including both pregnancy loss and infertility, and I have always had an entrepreneurial drive and felt inspired to look at challenges from a new perspective. The multi-disciplinary approach that ReproUnion has taken, to address five global challenges in reproductive health, brings about many synergies and is a true path to translational collaboration. I experienced this first-hand when I met Professor Eva Hoffmann at a ReproUnion meeting in 2017. Today we work closely together on investigating different solutions to clinical problems and I am excited to join her and other colleagues in ReproUnion’s EB”, says Henriette Svarre Nielsen.

A current priority is to research the impact of the corona virus on the reproductive system and ReproUnion recently received EUR 2.3 million in additional funding to do so. On that occasion Henriette commented: “The biological specimens that are being collected as part of RUBIC can now also contribute to assessing whether the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has an impact on the reproductive system. And when it comes to the female reproductive system, we expect to contribute to an increased understanding of whether COVID-19 affects the prognosis of assisted reproductive treatment as well as how the virus infection affects the female reproductive organs”.

Henriette Svarre Nielsen’s experience with COVID-19 related research is almost as long as the pandemic itself! She has been driving the first research projects in Denmark on the potential impact of the virus on pregnancies and births. In January 2021 Sciencenews.dk reported that COVID-19 does not affect pregnant mothers or their newborns, with reference to the research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Human Reproduction.

In 2005 Henriette Svarre Nielsen also founded the Maternity Foundation to save lives in childbirth across the world. The foundation has become a strong actor within the emerging field of health tech, with the development of the Safe Deliver App, which has instructed over 160,000 health care workers in Sub Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. During the pandemic, the Foundation has teamed up with global actors to include information in the App about the handling of COVID-19 during birth. The importance of doing so was raised in liaison with the Danish Minister Rasmus Prehn in this opinion piece from Altinget.