19 December 2019

Three Professors Receive Grants to Conduct Brain Research


The Lundbeck Foundation has awarded grants to three professors from the University of Copenhagen. The three professors are focusing on the brain and will, among other things, use the grants to conduct research into neuronal circuits, brain tumours and migraines.

Portraits of the three professors. From the left: Ole Kiehn, Andreas Kjær and Messoud Ashina.
Professor Ole Kiehn (to the left), Professor Andreas Kjær (center) and Professor Messoud Ashina (to the right).

The three professors from the University of Copenhagen Andreas Kjær, Messoud Ashina and Ole Kiehn have received grants from the Lundbeck Foundation. The grants will be used to conduct brain research.

The professors are affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Rigshospitalet, the Department of Clinical Medicine and Rigshospitalet Glostrup as well as the Department of Neuroscience. They will, among other things, use the grants to research neuronal circuits that control movements, brain tumours and migraines.

The Lundbeck Foundation would like to put the brain high on the agenda and has therefore awarded grants to a total of six professors, who are ‘among the leading brain researchers in Denmark’.

The grant is the Foundation's largest total award to date. The Foundation has awarded grants totaling DKK 232 million under their professor programme.

Neural Circuits

Professor Ole Kiehn, the Department of Neuroscience, has received a grant of DKK 32 million. He will be conducting research into integrated neural circuits in the spinal cord, the brainstem and the brain that control movements. A better understanding of how the circuits work can be of great importance for diseases where people lose control of their movements. For example, Parkinson's, ALS and spinal cord injuries.

‘The motor function is an important area of research because movements are the brain's only physical expression in the world and in the way we interact with our surroundings in various contexts, for example, when we are hungry, walking around or fleeing from danger. The motor nerve cell circuits are a mirror for even the most complex brain functions’, says Professor Ole Kiehn, adding:

‘It is an extremely generous grant, which means that we can plan our research carefully and deliberately far into the future and focus on this specific research area’.

Brain Tumours

Professor Andreas Kjær, the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Rigshospitalet, has received a grant of DKK 40 million. In his research, Andreas Kjær focuses on glioblastoma, which is a form of cancer of the brain. He will, among other things, conduct research into a new method that improves the possibilities of locating the cancer cells in the brain and of developing a new and better type of targeted radiation therapy.

‘This grant, which we are honoured and proud to have received, will make all the difference in the world. With this grant, we are convinced that we can meet our goal, namely that our research should benefit patients and not remain experimental’, says Professor Andreas Kjær and continues:

‘We are going to develop new methods and treatments that we expect will lead to better prognoses for patients. We are, among other things, researching the development of optically guided surgery, where, by means of fluorescence, the cancerous tissue will become luminescent, thereby making it easier to remove all the cancerous tissue during surgery’.


Professor Messoud Ashina, the Department of Clinical Medicine and Rigshospitalet, has received a grant of DKK 40 million to conduct research into migraine. He will study and find new treatments for migraines. He will, among other things, conduct clinical trials in which migraine is induced in patients in order to follow and try to understand the processes that trigger a migraine attack.

‘I am deeply grateful and honoured to have received the Lundbeck Foundation's grant, which to a large extent is the result of the efforts by my many colleagues at the Danish Headache Center over the years’, says Professor Messoud Ashina to Rigshospitalet.

‘I look forward to embarking on the many exciting research projects where we will study the disease mechanisms underlying migraine. At the same time, we are working to develop new treatment principles based on migraine-specific biological processes’.

Read more here about the professor programme and this year's recipients.


Professor Andreas Kjær, +45 35327504, akjaer@sund.ku.dk

Professor Messoud Ashina, +45 38633054, messoud.ashina@regionh.dk

Professor Ole Kiehn, +45 93565963, ole.kiehn@sund.ku.dk

Pressekontakt Cecilie Krabbe, +45 93565911, cecilie.krabbe@sund.ku.dk