Investigation of the impact of vesicular trafficking in neurodegenerative diseases with focus on extracellular vesicles and autophagy
PhD labCopenhagen Memory Clinic - Danish Dementia Research Centre
Main supervisorProfessor Jørgen Erik Nielsen
Lab rotations - pre-PhD year
Lab Rotation 1
Skotte Group, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Niels Skotte
The Skotte group is interested in Huntington’s Disease (HD), biomarkers, and Mass Spectrometry (MS). It is a newly established group and working on cellular models and mouse models to try to find new biomarkers for HD. Cecilie was involved in establishing a new technique in the lab where they isolate cells from adult mouse brains using Magnetic Activated Cell Sorting (MACS). The goal was to be able to sort neurons, microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes from brains of 3-month-old mice, to be able to compare the different cell types acquired from the same animal and thereby lowering the number of animals needed. She also performed some imaging and was introduced to MS.
Lab Rotation 2
DREAM Group, DANDRITE, Aarhus University w/PI Professor Yonglun Luo
The DREAM Group focuses on CRISPR based gene therapy. The project Cecilie is involved in is trying to reveal if a genetic variant is involved in the aggregation of the pathological Tau in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. This will be done by CRISPR editing human cells and see if there is a difference in tau aggregation with or without the genetic variant, and later investigate if this knockout can be done in vivo in mice. Beside CRISPR editing, Cecilie will be using techniques such as FACS, FRET and imaging. She will also be analysing proteomics data.
Lab Rotation 3
Copenhagen Memory Clinic – Danish Dementia Research Centre, Rigshospitalet w/PI Professor Jørgen Erik Nielsen
During her lab rotation in the group of Jørgen E. Nielsen, Cecilie will get hands-on with differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from patients with Alzheimer’s Disease into neurons. Additionally, Cecilie will be involved in a project investigating cytokine secretion and immune defects in iPSC-derived microglia from patients with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). As part of her lab rotation, she will also participate in consultations with patients at the memory clinic.
Meet Cecilie Madsen
Broadly, Cecilie is interested in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases:
“Until now, I have mostly been focused on Alzheimer’s disease research, but I think the interaction between the brain and the immune system in general is very interesting.”
The disease and treatment perspective is the main motivation driving Cecilie in her research. Even though the horizon for developing effective treatment for neurodegenerative diseases seems quite far in the future, Cecilie thinks that just having a small impact on a discovery that could potentially change patient lives makes all the hard work worth it.
Cecilie is excited to work in different labs during her first year as an NAD fellow, and she considers the rotations a unique opportunity for establishing new research connections:
“Hopefully, it will help me establish my own scientific network so that I am not just dependent on my supervisor’s network. I see that as a huge advantage.”