Former NRU employee Mikael Palner, PhD, has received in total 1.6 mio DKK from the Lundbeck Foundation in support of his 2-year postdoc project entitled Effects of prefrontal dysfunction on neurochemical changes and schizophrenia-like behavior. The project will be carried out at NRU and it will start Dec 1, 2015.

Mikael Palner has been postdoc in Jianghong Rao Lab at Stanford University for the last 3½ years but he will now move back to Copenhagen to lead this research, with the long-term aim to obtain an ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant within the next four years. We congratulate Mikael and look forward to welcoming him back at NRU!

Project abstract:
Schizophrenia is a disabling and chronic psychiatric disorder affecting about 1% of the human population. Striatal dopaminergic hyperactivity and frontal cortical dysfunction are two of the most consistent biological findings in drug naïve patients with schizophrenia. In this grant proposal, we undertake the efforts to establish a novel animal model of striatal dopaminergic hyperactivity using optogenetics and investigate the effects of dopaminergic dysfunctions in the frontal cortex by using the in vivo multimodal functional neuroimaging method PET/MR and translational behavioral tests. This research proposal aims at understanding the relationship between schizophrenia-like symptoms and underlying changes in two dopaminergic pathways. The translational value of this pre-clinical research will ultimately lead to better better understanding of the frontal cortical dysfunctions in schizophrenia.