NAD Fellow year: 2023

Ann Kathrine Christiansen

Education
MSc in Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University
Country
Denmark

PhD Project

Project title

Investigation of the (patho)physiological functions of protein fragments generated upon ectodomain shedding of the sortilin and p75NTR receptors in neurodegenerative diseases

PhD lab
Translational Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine
Institution
Aarhus University
Main supervisor
Associate Professor Heidi Kaastrup Müller
Co-supervisors
Professor Anders Nykjær, Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University
Associate Professor Jason Weick, Department of Neurosciences, University of New Mexico

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

DREAM Group, Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University w/PI Professor Yonglun Luo

During her rotation, Ann Kathrine will focus on learning the CRISPR gene editing technology in a project aiming to develop lipid nanoparticle delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 gene therapy of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lab Rotation 2

Gether Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Professor Ulrik Gether

Ann Kathrine is working on a project investigating the role of TMEM24, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein located at membrane contact sites between the ER and the plasma membrane, in the functional and spatial organization of the dopamine transporter (DAT). The interaction between DAT and TMEM24 will be investigated in vitro in wildtype DAT and clinically relevant DAT mutations linked to early-onset parkinsonism and ADHD. She will primarily be working with advanced super resolution microscopy and dopamine uptake assays.

Lab Rotation 3

Nanomedicine Group/Protein Biophysics Group, Aarhus University w/PI’s Professor Daniel Erik Otzen and Professor Jørgen Kjems

Ann Kathrine Christiansen will be working on different aspects of how cytotoxic alpha-synuclein aggregates affect different neuronal cells. She will be using various compounds targeting these aggregates (antibodies, peptides, small molecules and possibly aptamers). Options for including organoids in these studies will also be explored.

Meet Ann Kathrine Christiansen

Ann Kathrine Christiansen obtained her MSc in Molecular Medicine at Aarhus University in 2022. Since then, she has worked as a research assistant at the Translational Neuropsychiatry Unit at Aarhus University Hospital.

Ann Kathrine is especially interested in neurodegenerative diseases and the psychiatric and psychological perspective within neuroscience. She did her bachelor’s thesis on Parkinson’s disease, her pre-master’s thesis within depression research and her master’s thesis on frontotemporal dementia.

Ann Kathrine is deeply motivated by doing research with a clear disease perspective. While she has worked in basic research so far, the translational perspective has always been present:

“Methodologically, I have mostly been working on the molecular and cellular level. I have been working in basic research, but it has been basic research with a clear link to a disease gene or a protein that we know are affected in the disease in question.”

Ann Kathrine is excited to rotate between different labs during her first year at NAD:

“It is an opportunity to gain insight into how other labs work in addition to new topics and techniques. Because I have not been in lots of different labs yet, it is a good chance to explore what else is out there, but also to be sure about the [PhD] lab that I will choose in the end. I think it is a unique opportunity for expanding my scientific horizon and my network.“