Eske Willerslev holds a Lundbeck Foundation Professorship at the University of Copenhagen and is the director for the Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics. He also holds the Prince Philip Chair in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Cambridge, UK.
Additionally, Eske Willerslev is a research associate at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He is an evolutionary geneticist and is particularly known for sequencing the first ancient human genome and establishing the field of environmental DNA, where modern and ancient DNA from higher plants and animals are obtained directly from environmental samples.
Eske Willerslev was born in Denmark in 1971. After spending his youth as an explorer and fur trapper in Siberia, he established the first ancient DNA laboratory in Denmark and obtained his DSc at the University of Copenhagen in 2004. At the age of 33, Willerslev became Full Professor at the University of Copenhagen - the youngest in Denmark at the time.
He has been a visiting researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Research Centre in Austin, Texas, independent Welcome Trust Fellow at Oxford, Visiting Professor at Oxford University, and a Miller Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley. Eske Willerslev is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (US), member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Honorary Doctor at the University of Oslo, Norway, and at the University of Tartu, Estonia and holds the Order of the Dannebrog (issued by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark).