New funding from Elsassfonden

Congratulations to NRU senior researcher Jens D. Mikkelsen for receiving a new research grant from Elsassfonden. The grant is worth 1 million DKK and is for the project entitled 'Synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) used as a novel biomarker of synaptogenesis in models of cerebral palsy (CP)'.

Project abstract: When the brain changes in response to stimuli it is referred as brain plasticity. When plasticity occurs, the individual nerve cells change their inner machinery, establish novel contacts (called synapses) to other nerve cells, and break others. However, all this occurs at the cellular level and we can only detect brain plasticity today if we remove the brain and study the synapses biochemically or in the microscope. This strongly limits our ability to determine if treatments are printed in the brain in real time. Most importantly, it also prevents our ability to observe changes in the brain of patients with neurological including cerebral palsy. This is very important, because such changes occur early in the disease processes. Very recent discovery of radiotracers that bind to the synaptic vesicle protein, synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) and imaging may revolutionize our ability to measure synaptic density in the living brain as an indicator of brain plasticity. We have already made significant progress in the validation of these radiotracers. In this project, using own synthesized radiotracers and validated methods, we will define the changes in binding and measure and correlate binding of these tracers in animal models of cerebral palsy as well as in fresh tissue from patients that underwent neurosurgical operation for epilepsy as an important contribution for novel diagnostics in psychiatry and neurology.

Fondsbørsvekselerer Henry Hansen og Hustru Karla Hansens Legat

Congratulations to NRU senior researcher Lars H. Pinborg, who has received the 'Fondsbørsvekselerer Henry Hansen og Hustru Karla Hansens Legat' worth 350.000 DKK for his research in preoperative diagnosis of patients examined for epilepsy surgery. The award has been given based on a recommendation from an advisory committee at the University of Copenhagen.

New FSS grants to NRU researchers

Congratulations to Louise Møller Jørgensen for receiving from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (FSS) a Clinician Scientist Position grant worth 1.039.248 DKK for her part-time research project "Deep Brain Stimulation: Effects on cerebral blood flow, brain circuits and neurotransmission". Also, congratulations to Gitte Moos Knudsen for receiving a scholar stipend grant worth 103.100 DKK for the project "Neural correlates of the personality dimension openness to experience: a resting state fMRI study in healthy participants".

Major grant from the Lundbeck Foundation for 5-year thematic alliance within precision medicine in epilepsy and depression

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.

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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.