NAD Fellow year: 2023

Clara Aabye Madsen

MSc in Molecular Biomedicine, University of Copenhagen

PhD Project

Project title

Preclinical Pharmacological Characterization of Classical Psychedelics and their Behavioral and Persistent Molecular Effects

PhD lab
Neurobiology Research Unit, Rigshospitalet
Copenhagen University Hospitals
Main supervisor
Professor Gitte Moos Knudsen
Associate Professor Christoffer Clemmensen, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen
Associate Professor Betina Elfving, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Anders A. Jensen Group, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen w/PI Professor Anders A. Jensen

Lab Rotation 2

Experimental and Molecular Psychiatry Group, Translational Neuropsychiatry Unit, Aarhus University w/PI Associate Professor Betina Elfving

One of the main focus areas in the Experimental and Molecular Psychiatry Group is novel and rapid-acting treatment strategies within depression. During her rotation, Clara has been introduced to RNA work in the laboratory. The group has used rat brain tissue from one of the group’s animal models of depression treated with Psilocybin, LPH-5, and GABA-NAMs. RNA has been extracted, cDNA synthesis and real-time qPCR experiments have been conducted, and analysis undertaken.

Lab Rotation 3

Divison of Glial Disease and Therapeutics (Nedergaard Lab), Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Copenhagen w/PI Professor Maiken Nedergaard

During her third rotation, Clara will participate in ongoing projects at Center for Translational Neuromedicine that aim to elucidate neuromodulator signaling during natural sleep. The focus of her stay is to learn all the skills required to combine fiber photometry, EEG, and EMG recordings, including stereotactic surgeries and data analysis. Specifically, Clara will study LC activity and prefrontal norepinephrine levels during sleep in aged mice.

Meet Clara Aabye Madsen

Clara Aabye Madsen obtained her MSc in Molecular Biomedicine from the University of Copenhagen in 2021. Since then, she has been working as a research assistant at the Neurobiological Research Unit (NRU) at Rigshospitalet, investigating the effect that psychedelic drugs have on the brain in pigs.

This aligns closely with Clara’s main research interests:

“I am primarily interested in psychiatric diseases, especially depression as it affects a lot of people and we still do not know how to provide optimal treatment. During my time at NRU, I have also become interested in psychedelic drugs and how they might be useful in treatment for depression.”

Clara has been pursuing a career in research for a long time, and she expects that the NAD programme will set her up for doing a great PhD project by exposing her to different labs and techniques that she can use and combine later in her career.

As a researcher, Clara is curious and persistent, and she loves solving complicated problems: “When you are dealing with a complex problem and you have spent I don’t know how long to arrive at a conclusion and you finally get the result that you wanted – that’s an amazing feeling.”