Denham Group

Denham group - Stem Cells


The Denham group is working with human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to study how the nervous system develops and the processes involved in neurodegeneration. In particular, he is interested in the specification of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons, the major cell type affected in Parkinson’s disease. He has developed efficient protocols for generating mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons and uncovered some of the key molecular mechanisms that underlie this process.

Research focus


The main focus of our research is to investigate the signalling pathways required for the specification of precise neural cell types from the pluripotent state, from which our objectives are to use these derivatives to develop in vitro models for studying neurodegenerative diseases. Using this approach our aims are to identify early cellular changes that underlie the onset of neurodegeneration for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Furthermore, we are also interested in how different neural progenitor subtypes survive and function after transplantation in an adult rodent brain. Our overall goals are to develop potential treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disorders in the form of cell replacement therapies and drug development.


Projects for Master and ERASMUS students currently available

If interested, please contact Group Leader Mark Denham directly (mden@biomed.au.dk) for further information. See further information on projects here

Human pluripotent stem cell derived neurosphere differentiated into neurons in vitro using a small molecule induction system (Denham et al., Stem Cells, 2012).