15 November 2023

DKK 24 millions for brain research at SUND


The 'Ascending Investigators' grants from the Lundbeck Foundation are awarded to researchers from across the country, including five from SUND.

Five SUND researchers receive the Ascending Investigator grant. Illu: Canva.

Five researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND) have received the Lundbeck Foundation's Ascending Investigators grants. The funds will be used for research on cognition, Alzheimer's disease and women and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The Ascending Investigators grants are aimed at researchers midway in their careers, typically associate professors or professors, who wish to move in a new research direction related to neuroscience or are in the process of building a smaller research group.

The total grant for 2023 is DKK 67.6 million of which more than DKK 24 million were for researchers at SUND. Individual grants range from DKK 4 to 6 million, disbursed over four years. The projects all fall within the field of neuroscience, neurology, or psychiatry.

Congratulations to: 


From Department of Biomedical Sciences Associate Professor Julien Ochala has received DKK 4.957.795. 

More than 20,000 patients are admitted to intensive care units in Denmark annually. Many of them develop muscle wasting and weakness that last for months after hospital discharge. This condition is named critical illness myopathy. In the present project, associate professor Julien Ochala aims to unravel the underlying mechanisms by focussing on the most abundant muscle protein, myosin. 


From Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research Associate Professor Nicholas Taylor has received DKK 4.998.088.

Nature has evolved some tiny syringe-like molecules that are used by bacteria to inject toxins into bacterial or eukaryotic cells. Recently these systems have also been used to inject modified payloads into cells of choice, even in the mouse brain. With his research, he hopes to obtain a better understanding of these systems which is necessary for future applications, such as in treatment of brain disease.



From Department of Neuroscience Associate Professor Claire Francesca Meehan has received 5.056.716 DKK.

Associate Professor Claire Francesca Meehan will investigate how pathology related to a specific protein called TDP-43 can give rise to a range of apparently very different neurodegenerative disorders including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and FrontoTemporal Dementia. The project will explore what instigates the pathology and how it spreads from one region to another.  

This information could be used to help prevent disease onset and slow disease progression in individuals at high risk for these disorders.



From Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Professor Karla Kristine Freude has received 5.876.376 DKK

Professor Kristine Freude’s project will investigate why women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease by assessing how sex specific changes in gene expression is leading to changes in the activity of brain immune cells (microglia). Microglia are directly involved in the survival and functionality of neurons, which are progressively lost in Alzheimer’s disease.

Epigenetic and functional studies in microglia derived from patient and control induced pluripotent stem cells will reveal which biological pathways are divergent in female microglia vs. male microglia. It is anticipated that the results from this project will aid the clinical decisions to implement immunomodulatory treatments in a personalized and sex specific manner.



From Department of Public Health Professor Trine Flensborg-Madsen has received 4.005.867 DKK. 

Professor Trine Flensborg-Madsen's project, based on a cohort consisting of 1.1 million Danish children, aims to generate new knowledge about the cognitive consequences of air pollution and traffic noise.

She will investigate whether air pollution and traffic noise in childhood affect school performance and intelligence. Including whether there are periods when children are more susceptible to the potential effects, and whether there are particularly vulnerable groups.