PhD defence: Marie Deen

On Friday, January 4, at 2 PM, Marie Deen, MD, will defend her PhD dissertation entitled "PET investigations of brain serotonin receptor binding in  migraine patients".

The defence will take place in Auditorium C, Rigshospitalet Glostrup, Valdemar Hansens Vej 5, 2600 Glostrup.

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Travel stipend for Giske Opheim

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).

Grant from the Lundbeck Foundations International Neuroscience Programme for Hanne D. Hansen

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.

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.

Adriaan Lammertsma new visiting professor at NRU

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.

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NRU annual report 2017

The 2017 NRU annual report has been published and is available for download here.

Three travel stipends from the Lundbeck Foundation

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.

Two scholarships from DPS to Vibe Frøkjær

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'.

NRU Summer Interns

We are very glad to welcome our summer interns:

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. 

Grant from DFF to Gitte Moos Knudsen

Congratulations to Gitte Moos for receiving 1.855.308 kr for the project 'Neuroimaging of synaptic density'  from the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Project summary:
Synapses are the points of communication between brain cells and they are subject to adaptations, known as synaptic plasticity. Recently, it has become possible to assess presynaptic density in the living human brain with the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) radioligand, 11C-UCB-J and positron emission tomography (PET). We here propose a project with three aims:
1) to determine if cerebral SV2A density is preserved in healthy ageing across.
2) to investigate if short-term sensory deprivation is associated with a compensatory increase in cerebral SV2A density, and if the ability to induce synaptic plasticity is related to APOE/BDNF genotypes.
3) to uncover if cerebral SV2A density is decreased in hippocampus/entorhinal cortex in elderly people at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Knowledge about development of synaptic plasticity in human brain will critically inform us about not only about neurorehabilitation potential, but also about how and when neurodegeneration emerges.