Master study opportunities

Parkinson’s disease – Disease mechanisms and nerve cell protective strategies


Background


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. It was formerly considered a selective degeneration of the dopamine producing neurons of the substantia nigra, but now it is clear that it is a progressively spreading disorder that expands from the brain stem to higher cortical areas. The aggregation of the nerve cell protein alpha-synuclein is critically involved in this process, which is hypothesized to comprise a prion-like mechanism of intracellular misfolding, excretion, and uptake in neighboring cells followed by a new round of aggregation. The mechanisms governing all steps in this process and how the misfolded alpha-synuclein harms the cells are yet unknown, but is the focus of intense studies. Current therapeutic strategies range from inhibition of aggregation, increased degradation of toxic species, blockade of toxic pathways, and neutralization of toxic species by antibodies.

Methods

A broad panel of methods are used to solve the problem-based projects. They range from molecular biology and protein chemistry to cell biology and in vivo studies in transgenic mice. Advanced microscopy is used for most projects.

Master projects

Our group has more projects for master studies like:

  • Disease mechanisms elicited by synuclein aggregation in cells and animal models.
  • Characterization of kinases and their pathways involved in degenerative and protective signaling.
  • Investigation of stress mechansisms (toxic and protective) in brain cells from transgenic mouse models
  • Investigation of how cytosolic synuclein is released from cells as pathogenic species.


Furthermore, we encourage to inventiveness leading to a project based on your own interest, but still of scientific importance.

Supervision will be conducted by Poul Henning Jensen, post docs and PhD students in the group.