Neurology, Neuropsychiatry, Psychosomatics

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Jes Olesen

Date of birth: 09.09.1941

Current position:

Professor of Neurology
Director of Center for Experimental Headache Research
Danish Headache Center og Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet – Glostrup


Valdemar Hansens Vej 5, 1 A, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark
Phone: +45 38633036 & cell: +45 50903235


  • Doctor of Medical Sciences (D.Med.Sci), University of Copenhagen, 1974
  • Professor of Neurology, University of Copenhagen, 1985-
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), London, 1998
  • Doctor Honoris Causa (D.Hon.C.), University of Rome, La Sapienza, 2001
  • Doctor Honoris causa (Yekaterinburg, Russia), 2016

Personal data and medical career

Born September 9th, 1941 in Hobro, Denmark. Danish citizen.

MD, Faculty of Medicine, University of Copenhagen 1967.

Residency, Departments of Neurology, Bispebjerg Hospital and Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen 1969-1973.

Clerkship and course in Neurology at the National Hospital, Queens Square, London 1971

2nd year residency in Neurology, Department of Neurology, The New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, New York 1972-1973.

Senior registrar in Neurology 1974-1976.

Consultant neurologist, Department of Neurology, Hillerød Hospital 1977.

Consultant neurologist, Department of Neurology, Gentofte University Hospital, Copenhagen 1978-1993.

Chairman of Neurology, Department of Neurology, Glostrup University Hospital, Copenhagen 1993-2000.

Founding chairman Danish Headache Center, Department of Neurology, Glostrup University Hospital, 2001 –

Current position: Professor of neurology and consulting neurologist, Danish headache Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet  Glostrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Academic career

Doctor of Medical Sciences (D.Med.Sci), University of Copenhagen, 1974

Associate Professor of Neurology, University of Copenhagen, 1975-1985

Professor of Neurology, University of Copenhagen 1985-

Visiting Professor, Harvard University 1999-2000

Director Lundbeck Foundation Center for Neurovascular signaling (LUCENS), Glostrup University Hospital, 2006 

Visiting professor, UCLA, Los Angeles 2009-2010

Director Center for Experimental Headache Research, Danish Headache Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet Glostrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark



Pre-graduate teaching at the University of Copenhagen since 1975.

Distinguished teacher award, Faculty of Medicine, University of Copenhagen 1983.

Extensive post-graduate teaching in Denmark and abroad.

Editor and author of many books (see: Research).


Professional organizations and other honorary positions

President of Danish Migraine Society 1980-1987.

President Scandinavian Migraine Society 1983-1985.

President International Headache Society 1993-1994

Chairman of the 1st International Headache Classification Committee 1985-1988.

Chairman of the 2nd International Headache Classification Committee 1999-2003

Chairman of the 3nd International Headache Classification Committee 2009-

Chairman Danish Stroke Association (Patient Association) 1987-1992.

Council member International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) 1990-1996.

Chairman of the Publication Committee of IASP 1990-1994.

Chairman the Scientific Committee, European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) 1992-1995.

Vice-President EFNS 1990-1995.

President EFNS 1996-2001.

Past President EFNS 2002-2006

Member European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) 1996-

Chairman Liaisons and EU Affairs Committee EFNS 2001- 2010

President of the European Brain Council (EBC) 2004-2008

Past President EBC 2008 -2010


Founding activities

Co-Founder of the scientific journal Cephalalgia 1980

Co-Founder of Danish Stroke Association (patient organization) 1987.

Co-Founder of European Federation of Neurological Societies 1991.

Founder of the scientific journal European Journal of Neurology 1995.

Co-Founder European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) (Federation of European Patient Associations).

Founder of Danish Headache Center 2001

Founder of European Brain Council (EBC) (Federation of federations of European organizations with an interest in the brain) 2002.



Honorary and corresponding memberships 

Australian Headache Society 1985.

American Neurological Association 1986-

German Headache Society 1987.

Austrian Neurological Society 1992.

French Neurological Society (Societé Francaise de Neurologie) 1999.

Association of British Neurologists 2001.

German Neurological Society 2008.

Polish Neurological Society 2009.

European Federations of Neurological Associations (EFNA) 2009.

European Federation of Neurological Societies 2011.

European Academy of Neurology (2014).


Awards and honorary doctorates     

Harold G. Wolff Award, American Headache Society 1982.

Arnold P Friedman Award, American Headache Society 1990.

Monrad Krohn Prize, University of Oslo 1995.

Silver Medal, University of Marseilles 1995.

John J. Bonica Award, American Pain Society 1996.

Gold Medal, University of Bratislava 1997.

Honorary doctorate, University of Rome 2001.

Kleins Legat, The Medical Society of Copenhagen 2002.

Mångbergs Pris, University of Umeå, Sweden 2002.

Federigo Sicuteri prize, Italy 2003.

The IHS-Cephalalgia lecture Award 2003.

The Mogens Fog prize 2004.

The Niels A Lassen prize 2004.

Best paper award, International Headache Society award 2005.

Ottorino Rossi Award, Pavia, 2007.

The Keeler Hammer award. Headache cooperative of the Pacific, 2010.

Lifetime achievement award Headache Cooperative of New England, 2010.

The Great Nordic Research Prize of the Lundbeck Foundation, 2010.

Lifetime achievement award. International Headache Society, 2017.


Industrial relations, patents and business

Ad hoc consultant for many multinational drug companies.

Scientific advisory board: GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Eisai, NeurAxon, Minster Pharmaceuticals, Merck (MSD), Alder Pharmaceuticals.

Principal investigator in many multinational drug trials.

Board member Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation 2003-2009.

Evaluation committee, The Grethe Lundbeck Foundation European Brain Research Prize

Several patents of therapeutic methodologies for migraine and tension-type headache.

Board member and part owner of HeadExplorer, Inc. 2001-2014.


Scientific journals

Associate Editor Cephalalgia 1980-1986 and 1999-2002.

Associate Editor Pain 1979-1990.

Membership of Editorial Boards:Clinical Neurology and NeuroSurgery 1978-1985.

Functional Neurology 1985-2002, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow in Metabolism 1989-1992, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 1990-1997, European Neurology 1992-2002, Current Opinion in Neurology 1991-1998, Italian Journal of Neurology 1990-2002, European Journal of Neurology 1995-2001. Referee for a large number of scientific journals including NEJM, Lancet, Brain and Nature.


Scientific articles and books

Has published 577 papers in scientific journals with peer-reviewe, 235 papers or book chapters without peer-review. Has authored or edited 35 scientific books. The book entitled “The Headaches” is an encyclopedic volume covering all aspects of the headaches from basic molecular mechanisms to treatment and prevention. Both the first (1993), the second (2000) and third (2005) editions have been generally accepted as the ultimate source of reference within the headache field.



Jes Olesen has initiated and supervised 18 doctoral theses and 42 Ph.D. theses all conferred by the University of Copenhagen. He presently supervises 4 Ph.D. students and 2 post doctoral researchers.


Research Statistics

Citations: Google Scholar 68223

H-Factor: Google Scholar 128.

i/10-index: Google Scholar 619.

Invited speaker at several international meetings each year.


Main current research interests

Headache classification and genetics. Signaling molecules in migraine, novel targets for drug development, animal and human migraine models.