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 ( 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).


2018.02.12 | People

Reyila Simayi is new Erasmus student in Denham Group

Reyila has joined the Denham lab as an Erasmus exchange student for the next 6 months. Her project will involve using human induced pluripotent stem cells to investigating the link between patients with heterozygous GBA mutations and Parkinson’s disease.

2018.02.06 | MarkDenham

New publication from Mark Denham's group in collaboration with Poul Nissen

The article is just published in Frontiers. Title: Central and Peripheral Nervous System Progenitors Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Reveal a Unique Temporal and Cell-Type Specific Expression of PMCAs.

Picture, Mark Denham

2018.02.02 | MarkDenham

Mark Denham’s Group Leader extension approved

Congratulations to Mark Denham, who has had his group leader contract extended until December 2019.

2017.11.10 | MarkDenham

Mark Denham receives DKK 120,000 from Bjarne Saxhofs Foundation facilitated by the Parkinsons Association

Mark Denham recieves DKK 120,000 for the project: : "A novel Stem Cell model for Parkinson’s disease: Investigating genetic and environmental interactions"

2017.09.26 | People

Fadumo Mohamed is new master student in Denham Group

Fadumo Mohamed is new master student in Mark Denham's group from September 11th. She is a danish student from Aalborg university but she will work full time here until the end of May on the project with title: "Investigating the function of circular RNA during differentiation from stem cells to dopaminergic neurons".…

2017.09.13 | People

Michaela Orlová is new ERASMUS student in Denham Group

Michaela is new ERASMUS student in Mark Denham’s group from September 4th. She will be working with Parkinson’s diseased iPSC derived neurons. Specifically she will be characterising the familial PD lines that carry a GBA1 heterozygous mutation and measuring the activity of Glucocerebrosidase in the pluripotent stem cells and their neuronal…

2017.08.23 | People

Emilía Sif Ásgrímsdóttir is new trainee in Denham Group

Emilía is new trainee in Mark Denham's group from August 17th. She will work with post-translational modifications of alpha-synuclein in human iPSCs derived neurons.

2017.08.23 | People

Muyesier Maimaitili is new PhD student in Denham Group

Muyesier is new PhD student in Mark Denham's group from August 1st. She will be studying various familial forms of Parkinson’s disease using next generation sequencing analysis of pluripotent stem cell derived neurons. The project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that are involved in the early disease states across the various familial…

Photo: PhD student Milena Laban (left)

2017.05.02 | Events

DANDRITE attended this year's Festival of Research in Aarhus on April 27

As usual DANDRITE attended the Festival of Research. It was a busy and enjoyable day where group leaders and students from DANDRITE demonstrated their research areas to the general Danish public. Four labs where represented: Anne von Philipsborn lab, Poul Henning Jensen lab, Mark Denham lab and Poul Nissen Lab.

2016.11.11 | Research news

Poul Henning Jensen and Mark Denham received the Danish Parkinsons association Grant

Mark Denham got a grant for the project "Combining stem cells and novel bioactive scaffolds to develop new Parkinson Disease therapies" while Poul Henning Jensens project is called "Can caffeine treatment rescue alfa-synuclein aggregation dependent disease spreading and neuron loss? Investigating a novel neuroprotective principle in…

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