Decoding the signaling pathways of the brain – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology > News > Decoding the signaling...

14 March 2016

Decoding the signaling pathways of the brain


New four-year research project at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology will develop tools to understand the signaling pathways of the brain.

The innovative and ground-breaking health science research project ”Novel principles for targeting intracellular receptor signaling pathways in the brain” has been funded by a grant of DKK 10 million from the Lundbeck Foundation over the next four years.

The project will explore fundamentally novel approaches to tackle brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and stroke. Current drugs against brain diseases generally affect the normal function of receptors in the cell membrane which often leads to side effects. The research project, therefore, fills in a need for developing new principles for treatment of diseases in the brain.

Exploring novel principles

The researchers will explore the interaction of proteins inside cells. More specifically they wish to modulate the interaction between receptors in the cell membrane and specific intracellular proteins. This way the disease induced effect is blocked, while the normal functions of the receptors should not be effected.

What are the researchers looking for?

The two leading researchers behind the project, main applicant Professor Kristian Strømgaard and Professor Hans Bräuner-Osborne combine their expertise within chemical biology and molecular pharmacology, and secures a broad scientific base and interdisciplinary competences. This combination of expertise forms the basis for designing and developing peptide-based ligands. The research groups will be looking at receptor complexes regulated by the two most important neurotransmitters glutamate and GABA and the peptide-based ligands will be used to understand the importance and function of the individual proteins regarding their potential relevance in diseases.

Click here to read more about Kristian Strømgaard’s research

Click here to read more about Hans Bräuner-Osborne’s research

FACTS:

  • Lundbeck Foundation grants DKK 400-500 million every year to research projects, primarily in the field of health sciences.
  • The aim of our grants is to contribute significantly towards increasing the quality and the usability of all research-based knowledge and experience gained in the field of health sciences in Denmark.
  • Brain health is one of the Foundation’s key focus areas.
  • The focus lies in targeting the intracellular protein network of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons in the brain, but the principles developed can be applied to all signaling pathways.
  • The research group behind the project has established an international group of collaborators, who will contribute with structural and in vivo studies.