Sapere Aude Starting grant to Mikael Palner

Mikael Palner has been awarded a prestigious Sapere Aude Starting Grant, worth 4.459.417 DKK, from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (IFRD) for his 4-year project "Neuronal dysfunction in treatment resistant obsessive compulsive disorder and effectiveness of novel serotonergic drug treatments". We congratulate Mikael with the highly prestigious grant and look very much forward to hosting his project at NRU!

Abstract from the granted proposal:
More than 40% of patients with obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) are resistant to treatment. Untreated OCD is highly disabling and costy for society, yet advancement in treatment options are slow. Studies show that the functional connectivity between cortical and striatal brain regions are altered in patients with OCD, and that these changes can lead to compulsive behaviors. However, we do not fully understand the neuronal dysfunctions which lead to changes in functional connectivity.
I will use chemogenetics to selectively activate cortical inputs to the striatum, creating an animal model of OCD-like compulsive behavior and investigate how activation of these inputs alter functional connectivity. Secondly, I will test the
effectiveness of a novel treatment and investigate the method of action. This project has great clinical translational value and the potential to redefine our understanding and treatment of OCD, which will ultimately benefit patients.