My research is focused on domestication and animal welfare. I work mainly with chickens and dogs and study the genetic and epigenetic aspects of their behaviour. More information can be found on the web-page of my research group, which you reach through the link further down on the page (Animal behaviour, domestication and welfare).

Animals in focus

Professor Per Jensen med nyckläckta kycklingarAfter many years of research on the natural behaviour of pigs and its relevance for their welfare, I shifted focus in the 90ies and started working on domestication and behaviour genetics. The chicken - the most numerous domestic animal in the world - became my new study object. Later, I also started working with dogs, the species that more than any other has evolved for a life with humans. Together with PhD-students and other colleagues, I study the genetic and epigenetic foundations of the changes that the behaviour has undergone during thousands of years of coexistence with people. 

Unique possibilities

My research group has a amazing basis with respect to animals and facilities. Our hatchery and chicken unit provides us with full control over all aspects of the scientific process, from breeding and hatching, via rearing, to our labs that are fully equipped for advanced behaviour studies and documentation. On top of that we have a well designed physiology lab allowing different types of measurements and surgery. All this is combined with a world class molecular lab.

We are also one of the few labs in the world that keep a breeding population of red junglefowl, the wild ancestor of the chicken. That gives us possibilities to breed different crosses and to conduct direct comparative genetic studies on the ancestor and its domesticated descendants. And we have a broad collaboration with hundreds of private dog owners across the country, who let us study their pets and happily offer us a small amount of DNA from their companions.


Research Collaborations

Together with Professor Linda Keeling at SLU, I currently coordinate the Center of Excellence in Animal Welfare Science, a nationwide research network. My research group, is part of Linköping University's System Neurobiology Network and we have a number of ongoing collaborations with researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. This has generated emerging projects towards human applications and given us unique inroads towards translational research.

Sample collaborations

  • Professor Linda Keeling, SLU – animal welfare science.
  • Professor Leif Andersson, Uppsala University – genetics and genomics.
  • Professor Jonas Bergquist, Uppsala University – hormone measurements.
  • Professor Elena Jazin, Uppsala University – behaviour epigenetics.
  • Professor Markus Heilig, Linköping University - stress and neurobiology.


Recent publications - full list available through the link below to "Institutional repository"





Short CV

Academic degrees, positions, and achievements

  • PhD Applied Ethology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 1983
  • Docent in Ethology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 1985
  • Personal professorship in Ethology, Swedish University of Agricultual Sciences, 1988
  • Guest professor, Linköping University, 2002-2005.
  • Professor of Ethology, Linköping University, since 2005
  • Holder of “professor-contract” since 2008 (yearly funding of 2.2 MKr from Linköping University, granted on grounds of excellence to a number of University professors).


Publication record

  • More than 200 published peer reviewed papers.
  • 13 single-authored text books in Swedish.
  • Two edited international text-books.
  • h-index: 49

Invited talks 

More than 25 invited talks at different international conferences, for example: Society for Experimental Biology, Cognition and Evolution, German Ethology Conference, International Society for Applied Ethology Conference, Dutch Ethology Conference

Important national and international assignments

  • Editor-in-chief, Applied Animal Behaviour Science 1997-2020
  • Member/chairman of the EU-commision’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare, 1994-2003.
  • Member of scientific board for PhD-training school, University of Utrecht, 2001-2004
  • Member of the animal welfare council of the Swedish Agricultural Board, 2004 –2006; 2013 -2016
  • Member of Research Council Formas Scientific Board 2007-12
  • Member of Research Council VR scientific panel for international post docs 2013-2020
  • Member of ERC scientific panel for consolidator grants, Life Science 2013-2015
  • Member of ERC scientific panel for advanced grants, Life Science 2016-2021