Presentation of the Column

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) typically present during childhood and can include difficulties with language and speech, motor skills, behavior, social functioning, and learning, and they may include seizures/epilepsy. NDDs encompass disturbances of the early development of the nervous system before or around the time of birth, as well as deviant patterns of brain maturation during childhood and adolescence. NDDs include disorders with dominant impairment of motor abilities such as cerebral palsy, rare genetic disorders, including intellectual disabilities, developmental and epileptic encephalopathies, and hemiplegic migraine, as well as multifactorial psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism, OCD, and ADHD, that have onset in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.

Genetics play an important role in many NDDs, however, environmental risk factors may also have influence. To identify disease mechanisms and early markers of risk and resilience, several different types of investigations, including clinical, epidemiological, neurobiological, and molecular studies can be employed. Basic research into these disorders is frequently limited by the availability of suitable model systems, while clinical research is challenged by the diversity of disease presentations/diagnosis and disease trajectories.

This thematic research column presents several options to carry out clinical and/or basic research within this diverse field. We offer high-quality training of PhD students in psychopathology, cognition, socio-emotional and motor functioning, sleep patterns, structural and functional neuroimaging (MRI), electro- (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), genetics/epigenetics, epidemiological, and (pharmaco)genomics, proteomics and cellular signaling methods, as well as in the employment of stem cell/brain organoid, mouse or invertebrate models in combination with molecular, cell biological, physiological, biochemical and pharmacological tools.

By doing your lab rotations within our column, you should be able to formulate a translational PhD project in collaboration with two or more PIs in the column.

Speakers of Column

Rikke Steensbjerre Møller

Professor Rikke Steensbjerre Møller

University of Southern DenmarkDanish Epilepsy Centre, Filadelfia

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Merete Nordentoft

Professor Merete Nordentoft

University of CopenhagenCORE Copenhagen Research Centre for Mental Health

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Members of the column


Aalborg University

Professor Marlene Briciet Lauritsen

• Clinical Institute • Research Unit for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

About the Research

Child psychiatry covering etiology, symptoms, and pathophysiology. In particular, the mechanisms of sensory processing in autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder with neurophysiological tests.

Two lab members

Christina Horsager - Postdoc
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Lab rotation

Be part of testing in the lab of children with neurodevelopmental disorders using neurophysiological tests and questionnaires including clinical examination..

Secondary Column

Mood and Reward

Associate Professor Sabata Gervasio Frahm

• Health Science and Technology • Neural Engineering and Neurophysiology

About the Research

Sensory processing difficulties are common in neurodevelopmental disorders as autism and ADHD. We investigate the neural mechanism behind impaired sensory processing through electrophysiological measurements, especially EEG and EEG based ERP

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

Human experiments and data analysis

Secondary Column

Professor Kimmo Jensen

• Dept. of Clinical Medicine • Translational Neurology Group

About the Research

We use multi-electrode arrays and molecular biology to study animal and cellular models of epilepsy and related neurological disorders

Two lab members

Jonas Laugård Hald - Research Assistant, M.Sc.
Margareth Clara Bloch - Technical Assistant

Lab rotation

MEA experiments, sample analysis, molecular biology

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Aarhus University

Associate Professor Vibeke Fuglsang Bliksted

• Department of Clinical Medicine • CFIN, AUH Psychiatry, Psychosis Research Unit

About the Research

Research focus: neurocognitive and social cognitive deficits in children with familiar high risk of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, patients with first-episode schizophrenia and patients with autism. Methods: neuroimaging(fMRI) and assessment.

Two lab members

Martin Dietz - Postdoc
Aja Greve - Postdoc

Lab rotation

Clinical assessment, neuroimaging, data analysis, neurocognitive and social cognitive assessment

Secondary Column

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Associate Professor Gija Rackauskaite

• Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine •

About the Research

Cerebral palsy as a model of early brain damage, including pain, psychiatric comorbidity and bone health. Clinical and register-based reserach.

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

Secondary Column

Associate Professor Chris Mathys

• Interacting Minds Centre • ILAB

About the Research

Computational modelling of cognition, particularly aberrant information processing leading to maladaptive beliefs such as delusions. Various applications of this modelling to computational psychiatry: schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, etc.

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

Data collection and analysis (human behaviour, neuroimaging), experimental design, computational modelling

Secondary Column

Mood and Reward

Professor Anders Børglum

• Department of Biomedicine •

About the Research

Identifying and characterizing genes that confer risk or resilience to psychiatric disorders. The research involves large-scale genomics studies of 10-100,000 individuals, analyzing comprehensive multidimensional health and biological omics data.

Two lab members

Jinjie Duan - Postdoc
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Lab rotation

Data analysis of large-scale human data

Secondary Column

Assistant Professor Martin Dietz

• CFIN - Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience • Computational psychiatry

About the Research

We use human electrophysiology (MEG and EEG) and fMRI to study the function of brain circuits and their dysfunction in major psychiatric disorders

Professor Marco Capogna

• Biomedicine •

About the Research

We define neuronal circuits of human and rodent cerebral cortex and connected subcortical areas. Methods; genetic mouse models of psychiatric disorders; electrophysiology, imaging, optogenetics, circuit mapping, pharmacology, anatomy, behavior.

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

In vitro/in vivo electrophysiology; optogenetics; imaging.

Secondary Column

Brain States and Brain-Body Interactions

Professor Anders Nykjaer

• Biomedicine • Nykjaer Lab

About the Research

Using neuroembryology, in vitro/in vivo imaging, transgenic mice, behavior and cell biology we study a receptor family recently identified as top risk genes in ADHD, schizophrenia and autism. The receptors also control memory formation and forgetting

Two lab members

Alena Salasova - Assistant Professor
Dongik Park - Assistant Professor

Lab rotation

Neuron culture, neurodevelopment, behavior of transgenic mouse models, calcium and/or other advanced imaging techniques

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

University of Copenhagen

Associate Professor Vanessa Jane Hall

• Veterinary and Animal Sciences • Group of Brain Development and Disease

About the Research

Studying the evolution, development and cellular complexity of the entorhinal cortex. Development of multiomic technologies for studying neural networks. Investigating the role of pathogens in Alzheimer’s disease.

Two lab members

Dorottya Ralbovszki - PhD student
Daniel Gomez - Postdoc

Lab rotation

Single cell transcriptomics, neuron patch whole cell clamping, Co-IP, Bioinformatic data analyses.

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Associate Professor Asli Silahtaroglu

University of Copenhagen • Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine •

About the Research

Mechanisms fine-tuning gene expression in developing and diseased brain through Imaging. Special interest: 3D genome organization & Non-coding RNAs. Methods: Advanced Microscopy (Super Resolution) & image analysis, genetic & epigenetic methods

Two lab members

Thi Cam Ha Nguyen - Lab technician
Panayiotis Kuois - Erasmus

Lab rotation

Advanced microscopy (from single cell to whole brain), DNA/RNA In-situ Hybridization and Immunofluorescence techniques & Computational Image Analysis

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Professor Bente Frølund

• Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology • Frølund lab

About the Research

Structure-based drug discovery, development of molecular probes and ligand-based novel methodologies to investigate identity, localization, function and therapeutic potential of relevant target proteins with neuroprotection in focus.

Two lab members

Francesco Bavo - Postdoc
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Lab rotation

The student will work with structure-based ligand design and medicinal chemistry in an interdisciplinary setting bridging with biostructural chemistry and molecular pharmacology

Secondary Column

Brain Vasculature and Barriers

Professor Ruth Frikke-Shmidt

• Department of Clinical Medicine •

About the Research

Study the shared risk factors for dementia and cardiovascular disease by investigating genomics and blood and CSF biomarkers. Establishment of causal aspects of risk factors by applying Mendelian randomization approaches.

Two lab members

Jesper Qvist Thomassen - Postdoc
Jiao Luo - Postdoc

Lab rotation

Mendelian randomization principles, polygenic risk scores, GWAS, R programming, genomic techniques, biochemical principles.

Secondary Column

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Professor Kristian Strømgaard

• Center for Biopharmaceuticals, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology •

About the Research

Developing peptide-based modulators of receptor complexes in the brain

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

Peptide synthesis, peptide arrays, protein expression, in vitro assays

Secondary Column

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Professor Zeynep Tumer

Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet • Department of Clinical Genetics •

About the Research

We investigate disease mechanisms with a translational approach linking the clinical features to genetic/epigenetic defects and cellular pathology and return the gained knowledge back to the patients in form of counselling, diagnosis, or treatment.

Two lab members

Amanda Levy - PhD student
Peter Böhm - Leading lab technician

Lab rotation

short range (whole genome and exome) and long-range sequencing; a wide range of DNA, RNA, protein and epigenetic studies; immunohistochemistry; functional studies on cell-models.

Secondary Column

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Professor Thomas Werge

Copenhagen University Hospital (Mental Health Services) • Institute of Biological Psychiatry (IBP) • Multiple available @ IBP

About the Research

IBP is a world leading research organisation in complex disease genomics renowned for systematic integration of population-wide genealogy, genomics, healthcare, and socio-demographic data to disentangle the mysteries of mental disorders

Two lab members

Alfonso Buil Demur - Associate professor
Dorte Helenius - Research Leader

Lab rotation

Hands-on big data on human disease and genomics

Secondary Column

Brain States and Brain-Body Interactions

Professor Jakob Balslev Sørensen

University of Copenhagen • Department of Neuroscience • Sørensen

About the Research

We study chemical synaptic transmission, including the basal mechanisms and its dysregulation in disease, for instance in epileptic encephalopathies. Methods are molecular, cell biological (e.g. human iPSCs) and electrophysiological/optical.

Two lab members

Mario Carvalho - Postdoc
Paola Barbagallo - Postdoc

Lab rotation

Hands-on experience with cell culturing, electrophysiology and imaging, as well as molecular methods (viral expression etc).

Secondary Column

Neurodevelopment

Associate Professor Jean-François Perrier

• Department of Neuroscience • Perrier

About the Research

microcircuits studied by patch clamp recording and calcium imaging

Two lab members

Nikolaj Hansen - Postdoc
Altair Brito dos Santos - Postdoc

Lab rotation

Introduction to patch clamp technique in slices

Secondary Column

Neuroinflammation and Neuron-Glia Interactions

Associate Professor Konstantin Khodosevich

• BRIC •

About the Research

We study mechanisms that are responsible for neuronal specification, positioning and circuit formation during brain development, and how these mechanisms are impaired in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism and others

Two lab members

Navneet Vasistha, assistant professor
Frederik Sorensen, PhD student

Lab rotation

Single cell and spatial omics

Secondary Column

Associate Professor Kristine Freude

• Veterinary and Animal Sciences • Disease Stem Cells Models and Embryology

About the Research

My group studies molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders (Epilepsy & Schizophrenia) and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia & Glaucoma) in 2D and 3D induced pluripotent stem cell models.

Two lab members

Abinaya Chandrasekaran - Assistant Professor
Henriette Haukedal - Postdoc

Lab rotation

hands-on experience in: in vitro differentiation of hiPSC into neuronal subtypes, astrocytes and microglia; 2D microfluidic co-cultures; 3D cerebral organoids; retinal organoids; TEM; MEA; live cell imaging; scRNA; CRISPR; functional analyses

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Associate Professor Alexander Matthias Walter

• Department of Neuroscience • Molecular and Theoretical Neuroscience

About the Research

We investigate synatpic transmission by mathematical modelling, electrophysiology, live- and super-resolution microscopy

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

hands-on electropyhisiology and cutting edge light microscopy

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Associate Professor Alexander Sebastisn Hauser

• Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology • Pharmacogenomics

About the Research

We do drug-related data science in pharmacogenomics combining elements of chemo/bioinformatics, pharmacology, and pharmacoepidemiology in order to better understand the interindividual variability to a given therapeutic treatment

Two lab members

Peter Lindquist - Master student
Alessandro Berghella - PhD student

Lab rotation

Students will learn how to perform genotype-to-phenotype associations from large biobank data using computational methods and how this can inform molecular physiology and drug target selection

Secondary Column

Mood and Reward

Associate Professor Anders Skov Kristensen

• Drug Design and Pharmacology • Skov Kristensen group

About the Research

We focus on AMPA and NMDA receptors that mediate most excitatory neurotransmission in the brain study. We study receptor molecular function, regulation, and pharmacology, and the role of human receptor mutations in neurodevelopmental diseases.

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

Our lab will provide training in basic DNA/RNA techniques, various forms of electrophysiology, fluorescence techniques (FRET and voltage-clamp fluorometry), testing of new CNS drug molecules from collaborating Medicinal Chemistry labs.

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Associate Professor Lars Hageman Pinborg

Rigshospitalet • Department of Neurology • Neurobiology Research Unit

About the Research

Precision medicine in epilepsy: biomarkers, risk and resilience factors for drug-resistance and cognitive, psychiatric and behavioural comorbidity. Precise methods for localising the epileptogenic zone and networks in epilepsy surgery candidates.

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

Data analysis, human experiments

Secondary Column

Neuroinflammation and Neuron-Glia Interactions

Associate Professor Thomas Folkmann Hansen

Cophagen University Hospital • Neurological Department • NeuroGenomics

About the Research

The Neurogenomics groups aims at mapping the genomic mehcansim of neurological disoders

Two lab members

Lisette Kogelman - Postdoc
Mona Ameri Chalrmer - Postdoc

Lab rotation

Handling and analyses of Omics data

Secondary Column

Ageing and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Professor Lennart Bunch

• Dept drug design and pharm. • BUNCH

About the Research

Medicinal chemistry, discovery of novel tool compounds for CNS research

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

New ideas!

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Professor Merete Nordentoft

• Department of Clinical Medicine • CORE Copenhagen Research Centre for Mental Health

About the Research

We follow a group of 522 children of parents with mental illness longitudinally with MR scan, eeg, meg and polysomnography, and motor function.

Two lab members

Martin Wilms - PhD student
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Lab rotation

Techniques to extract data from the different modalities

Secondary Column

Brain States and Brain-Body Interactions

Professor Robert James Richard Blair

• Region Hovedstadens Psykiatri • Børne- og Ungdomspsykiatrisk Center

About the Research

Neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders (externalizing and internalizing) and (mostly task-based) fMRI (some neuropsychology) – intervention studies too. Work on the developmental impact of maltreatment and substance use in adolescents.

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

FMRI and neuropsych work with children and adolescents with psychiatric conditions

Secondary Column

Mood and Reward

Professor Anne AE Thorup

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Center • Research Unit •

About the Research

Clinical cohort study of children with familial risk for severe mental illness and intervention and prevention strategies for this group

Two lab members

nicoline hemager - Postdoc
Mette Falkenberg Krantz - Postdoc

Lab rotation

clinical research including cohort data and intervention models

Secondary Column

University of Southern Denmark

Associate Professor Elena Gardella

University of Southern Denmark / Danish Epilepsy Centre • Institute for Regional Health Services Research •

About the Research

Our activity consists of translational studies (clinical part) and clinical studies that address critical needs for clinical trial readiness, in different genetic neurodevelopmental disorders with epilepsy.

Two lab members

Francesca Furia - PhD student
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Lab rotation

We perform: 1) detailed electro-clinical characterization of the probands; 2) EEG analysis and EEG post-processing to model the cortical pathological network in humans; 3) identification of clinical and EEG biomarkers; 4) design of clinical registry

Secondary Column

Professor Martin Røssel Larsen

• Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology • Protein Research Group

About the Research

We study neurodevelopment in health and disease by characterizing cellular signaling in neurons using proteomics, molecular biology, imaging and bioinformatics. Our main biological model system is 3D brain organoids.

Two lab members

Pia Jensen - Postdoc
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Lab rotation

In my group the student will be studying cellular signaling in neurons using 3D brain organoid model systems combined with a variety of Omics technologies (incl. proteomics, PTMomics and metabolomics) and bioimaging.

Secondary Column

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Professor Søren Krogh Andersen

• Department of Psychology • Cognitive and Biological Psychology

About the Research

We investigate selective visual attention and perception using EEG and behavioral measures. Main areas of expertise are feature-based attention (e.g. colour, orientation) and recordings of oscillatory steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP).

Two lab members

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Lab rotation

We investigate selective visual attention and perception using EEG and behavioral measures. Main areas of expertise are feature-based attention (e.g. colour, orientation) and recordings of oscillatory steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP).

Secondary Column

Mood and Reward

Professor Rikke Steensbjerre Møller

Danish Epilepsy Centre, Filadelfia • Department of Regional Health Research • Department of Epilepsy Genetics and Personalized Medicine

About the Research

The overall aim of our research is to unravel the underlying mechanisms of genetic epilepsies, to understand correlations with clinical symptoms and to find new treatment options.

Two lab members

Guido Rubboli - Professor
Allan Bayat - Postdoc

Lab rotation

You can perform 1) whole exome sequencing, 2) functional characterization of genetic variants using e.g. electrophysiology or human IPSCs (in collaboration with other column members) 3) genotype-phenotype-pharmacoresponse correlation studies.

Secondary Column

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