NAD Fellow year: 2023

Cecilie Vad Mathiesen

MSc in Molecular Biomedicine, University of Copenhagen

PhD Project

Project title
Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity and Appetite Regulation by Psychedelics: Exploring New Avenues for Sustainable Weight Management
PhD lab
Clemmensen Group, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
University of Copenhagen
Main supervisor
Associate Professor Christoffer Clemmensen
Associate Professor Tune Pers, Novo Nordisk Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen
Professor Gitte Moos Knudsen, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Group of Brain Development and Disease, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Vanessa Hall

Lab Rotation 2

Pers Group, Novo Nordisk Foundation
Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Tune Pers

The Pers group focuses on identifying central processes regulating metabolic fuel homeostasis. The group utilizes different computational techniques, human genetics and single-cell sequencing data. During her rotation, Cecilie will be working on establishing a new method named inCITE-seq, which simultaneously and at the single-cell level, quantifies nuclear proteins or post-translational modifications along with genome-scale expression levels. The inCITE-seq method would enable better quantification/understanding of downstream signaling cascades in hypothalamic neurons important in energy and blood glucose control.

Lab Rotation 3

Neurobiology Research, Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Southern Denmark w/PI Assistant Professor Agnieszka Wlodarczyks

The Wlodarczyk group focuses on understanding the naturally occurring neuroprotective and immunomodulatory mechanisms induced for instance by microglia or pregnancy in the context of neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and normal aging. They have recently discovered a new cell population that shows neuroprotective properties, and they are now developing novel cell-based therapy that could be used in a broad range of neurological diseases.

During this lab rotation, Cecilie will be introduced to all on-going projects in the group. She will gain hands-on experience with flow cytometry, cell sorting, in vivo experiments (including animal models of MS and AD), cell transplantation and behavioral testing.

Meet Cecilie Vad Mathiesen

Cecilie obtained her MSc in Molecular Biomedicine from the University of Copenhagen in June 2022. Since then, she has been working as a research assistant in the Clemmensen Group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, where she also did her bachelor’s and master’s thesis.

Until now, Cecilie has been working in metabolism and obesity research exploring what role neuroinflammation and glial cells play in the development of obesity, and how patients dealing with obesity and/or diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. In her master’s thesis, Cecilie investigated – in a mouse model – whether a specific obesity-treating compound had potential in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Put broadly, Cecilie is interested in investigating common health conditions and diseases like obesity and Alzheimer’s and the connections between them:

“These diseases impact millions of people, and at the same time, we don’t know enough about them yet. The brain is still in many ways a black box, with so much left to investigate and explore (…) there are still missing essential pieces in the make-up of these diseases before we will be able to find sustainable treatments in the future.”

When asked what excites her about joining the NAD programme, Cecilie mentions the opportunity to experience different research environments during the lab rotations and establishing collaborations:

“[The NAD programme] gathers so much neuroscience, fostering more collaboration, and it opens up lots of other opportunities compared to doing a PhD outside of NAD (…) NAD unites neuroscience and aims to bridge different disciplines, spanning both basic and clinical neuroscience.”

Cecilie describes herself as intrinsically curious, and it is this curiosity that drives her in her research. She is also very interested in the importance of communication when it comes to the broader impact of research and scientific discovery – and the challenges that this poses to researchers:

“There is so much knowledge that is not communicated well enough – both to the general population, but also to politicians and decision makers.”