1-year introduction stipend from RH to Gjertrud Laurell

Congratulations to Gjertrud Laurell who has been granted a 1-year introduction stipend from the Research Council at Rigshospitalet for the project 'Development of novel methods for quantification of drug interactions in the living human brain'.

Summary of Gjertrud's 1-year project:
Developing drugs for treatment of brain disorders is challenging, time consuming and costly. PET neuroimaging has evolved as a useful tool for investigating the interactions between a drug and its target receptor in the human brain. Although PET is frequently used for drug development, the experimental framework and methodologies used to analyze the acquired data are inefficient, often leading to biased outcomes and high variability. With improved analytical techniques it will be possible to modify the experimental setup so that the number of PET scans can be reduced without sacrificing statistical power.

Current analytical tools require that at least two scans, one at baseline and one after administration of the drug, are acquired for each research subject. We aim to improve the utility of PET for drug development by establishing methods that enable within-scan challenges, in which the drug is administered during an ongoing scan. Such a setup circumvents the issue of biological fluctuations between scans, while also reducing costs and lowering the total radiation exposure. However, in order to employ this experimental design a new class of pharmacokinetic models must be developed, because current models are adequate only for separate scans. In this project, we plan to develop new mathematical models that describe the pharmacokinetics of the PET ligand before, during and after administration of a drug competing for the same receptor. We will validate these models using simulation experiments and real PET data.

Interview with Prof. Jens D. Mikkelsen in Politiken

Today, May 28th, the Film & TV section of Politiken has an interview with Prof. Jens D. Mikkelsen, NRU. The topic is how children's brains might be affected by rapid cutting in TV programmes made for them.

New funding for NRU from Independent Research Fund Denmark

Congratulations to Vibe Frøkjær and Gitte Moos, both for receiving Project 1 grants from the Independent Research Fund Denmark: Vibe (DKK 2.051.690) for the project 'Hormonal sensitivity and brain function: Do oral contraceptives distort serotonergic brain architecture and does discontinuation restore it?' and Gitte  (DKK 2.059.422) for 'Neuroimaging of brain pulsations and its impact on human brain disease'. Summaries are given below.

Hormonal sensitivity and brain function: Do oral contraceptives distort serotonergic brain architecture and does discontinuation restore it?

Women who use oral contraceptives face an increased risk of developing depressive episodes. We do not know why. Recent cross-sectional findings from our group raises the question if oral contraceptives distort serotonergic brain architecture, which may critically disturb brain function and increase risk of depressive symptoms at least in hormone sensitive women. Using frontier molecular brain imaging techniques and a  longitudinal design including baseline, and on-/off states of oral contraceptive use, we here propose to directly illuminate serotonergic brain signatures of using oral contraceptives and determine its reversibility in healthy young women who are first time users. We anticipate that this work will critically advance our understanding of how changes in sex-hormone milieu increase susceptibility for depressive episodes and provide novel preventive and therapeutic opportunities, which holds grand potential to protect mental health.


Neuroimaging of brain pulsations and its impact on human brain disease

Naturally occurring pulsations in the brain are physiologically very important and may be essential for clearance of brain waste products. The novel neuroimaging tool magnetic resonance encephalography (MREG) enables the investigation of these pulsations non-invasively in humans. We propose to exploit this novel tool to understand the outcome measures and apply it in a brain disorder. The first aim is thus to provide deeper mechanistic insight into MREG outcomes and investigate the extent to which MREG detected brain pulsations are linked to intracranial pressure in healthy controls. Subsequently, we aim to probe the diagnostic potential of MREG in a group of patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH), treatable with shunt. iNPH is a neurodegenerative disease which is underdiagnosed and undertreated because current diagnostics poorly predicts who will benefit from shunting. We will assess patients before and after treatment to evaluate the predictive value of MREG.

 

MRI and SPECT scanning in the North Wing

We are happy to announce that we are slowly returning to normal with respect to our neuroimaging studies. This means that we will start recruiting patients and healthy volunteers again and book scans on our new MRI and SPECT-CT scanners in the North Wing of Rigshospitalet.

We have set up a firm procedure for how to bring patients and volunteers safely into the building and to the scanners, and this procedure has been approved by all relevant parties, including the Director of Diagnostic Center, the Head of Department of Neurology, staff from Department of Radiology and a hygiene nurse. We are looking very much forward to being able to continue our interesting research projects.

PhD stipend to Stinne Høgh

Congratulations to cand.scient.san. Stinne Høgh for receiving a 3-year PhD stipend from Rigshospitalet for her project 'Maternal Mental Health Study (MAMA). Prevention of perinatal depression in a high-risk group: effects and mothers’ expectations'. Stinne has worked as a research assistant at NRU since Jan 2019, where she has been involved in the ongoing project 'Psykisk helbred i forbindelse med graviditet og fødsel; spiller kønshormoner og hjernens serotoninsystem en rolle?” Stinne's supervisor will be NRU senior researcher Vibe G. Frøkjær, who is newly appointed associate professor at University of Copenhagen.

Read more ...

International post doc grant from IRFD

Congratulations to NRU post doc Martin Nørgaard for receiving an international postdoc grant worth 1.459.000 DKK from Independent Research Fund Denmark. As part of the funded project which is entitled 'Reliable Prediction of Brain Dynamics in Depression using Big Neuroimaging Datasets', Martin will be posted for two years at Stanford University, US. The project is briefly summarized below:

Read more ...

Staff News, March 2020

Welcome to the following new faces who will join NRU in March:

Volunteer/Bachelor's student Ajla Sabitovic (Medicine).

Interns Miriam Demattia and Natasha Christiansen (both Neuroscience & Neuroimaging). Miriam will be working with Mikael in the lab and Natasha with Patrick.

 

Ajla       Natasha 

 

Also welcome back to Dorte Zilstorff, MD, who will join us for two months.

 

 

Scholarstipend from DSfN

Congratulations to prof. Jens D. Mikkelsen for receiving 140.000 DKK from Danish Society for Neuroscience (DSfN) in a scholarstipend for molecular biomedicine student Clara Madsen, who will be conducting a project entitled 'Synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) used as a novel biomarker of synaptogenesis in an animal model of cerebral palsy (CP)'

Funding from Lægefonden to Lene Donovan

Congratulations to Lene Donovan for receiving 45.000 DKK from Lægefonden (A.P. Møller) for the project 'Effects of psilocybin on pig brains'.

Grant from Novo Nordisk Foundation

Congratulations to NRU associate professor Louise Møller Jørgensen who has received from the Novo Nordisk Foundation a Proof of Concept Programme grant worth 952.000 DKK for the project entitled 'Neuroceutical therapy: the fMRI compatible electrical stimulator'.
Louise Møller Jørgensen

Read more ...