Professor Gitte Moos Knudsen, head of NRU, has received a major grant worth 40 million Danish kroner from the Lundbeck Foundation for a highly ambitious thematic alliance called BrainDrugs. Perfectly aligned with the National Strategy for Personalized Medicine 2017-2020, the aim of the new thematic alliance is to establish which key features predict drug response in patients with epilepsy or depression. The BrainDrugs consortium is composed of a multidisciplinary team of experienced investigators from The Capital Region, Aarhus and the specialized epilepsy hospital Filadelfia, assisted by two international experts within the field. The project will start July 1st, 2019 and run for five years.
Congratulations to Giske Opheim for receiving DKK 19,253 from Lennart Grams Mindefond for her participation at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in New Orleans (Nov 30-Dec 4, 2018).
Congratulations to Hanne for receiving 2.9 mio DKK from the Lundbeck Foundation to conduct the project 'Characterizing brain network effects of novel and existing drugs using hybrid PET/MR imaging' at the Martinos Center at MGH, Boston during the next three years.
Abstract The aim of this proposal is to investigate basic pharmacological mechanisms and brain network effects of drugs used in classical and novel treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Furthermore, I will identify the effects of different 5-HT2AR agonists on functional brain connectivity which will reveal how intracellular pathways govern brain connectivity. The classical pharmacological treatment strategy for MDD patients is the administration of SSRIs whereas hallucinogens (5-HT2AR agonists) are currently being investigated for their SSRIs whereas hallucinogens (5-HT2AR agonists) are currently being investigated for their treatment potential in various psychiatric disorders. For both SSRIs and hallucinogens, the mechanism of action is incompletely understood and for the hallucinogens this is further complicated by the fact that these 5-HT2AR agonists can differentially activate intracellular pathways - a phenomenon known as functional selectivity. I will use hybrid positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance (MR) neuroimaging to study drug effects in vivo in humans and in non-human primates. In healthy volunteers, I will study the dose-dependent effects of citalopram administration: Changes in neuronal activation and brain circuitries will be measured with MRI and these changes will be related to the serotonin transporter occupancy measured by the PET radioligand [11C]DASB. In non-human primates, we will measure the 5-HT2AR occupancy, the hemodynamic response and changes in brain networks upon administration of two 5-HT2AR agonists: The hallucinogenic 25CN-NBOH and the non-hallucinogenic lisuride. Identification of brain responses to these two types of anti-depressive drugs will give valuable insight into the spatial and temporal mode of action of these drugs. The outcome of this study will generate critical new information about how the involved brain circuits are affected by the pharmacological intervention and will lay the basis for a personalized medicine approach to patients with MDD.
Gitte Moos Knudsen has received 750.000 DKK from the Lundbeck Foundation for a visiting professorship for Professor Adriaan Lammertsma from Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET Research, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Professor Lammertsma is world-wide recognized as one of the leading figures within development of PET methodology and its applications for translational experimental medicine across a range of clinical disciplines, but particularly for brain disorders. He has imposed internationally a culture of rigor for the quantification of regional tissue function using PET.
The Lundbeck Foundation has granted three travel stipends to NRU: Martin Korsbak Madsen received 25.410 DKK for the course 'Learning the Conn Toolbox' which he attended in Boston in April, Martin Nørgaard 8.003 DKK for the PRNI 2018 that took place in Singapore in June and finally, Hanne D Hansen 9.695 DKK for the NRM2018 taking place in London this July.
Congratulations to Vibe Frøkjær for receiving not only one but two Lundbeck Foundation scholarships from the Danish Society of Psychiatry, one for Asbjørn Poulsen for the project 'Depression and the brain's reward system: Does serotonin play a role?' and the other for Maja Marstrand-Jørgensen for 'Neural correlates of the personality dimension Openness to experience: a resting state fMRI study'.
Niki Stypidou, bachelor student in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. She will join NRU in June and July, primarily assisting the Sleep project.
Sara Bakalchuk, a rising senior and neuroscience major from Wesleyan University in USA where she has shadowed in a research lab studying obesity and addiction in rats. Her main scientific interests include neuroanatomy, neuroimaging and clinical neuroscience. Sara will be at NRU until mid August.