Nissen Group


Nissen group - Structural and Functional Studies of Membrane Transporters in Brain


The Nissen group investigates molecular mechanisms of membrane transport processes and biomembrane structure. Activities are mainly focused on cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM), protein crystallography, biochemistry, electrophysiology, and include also small-angle X-ray scattering and cryo-electron tomography. Main subjects of research concern membrane transporters involved with neurological and psychiatric disorders, i.e. P-type ATPase (Na,K-ATPase, Ca-ATPases, lipid flippases) and Na+ dependent transporters, but include also structure based drug discovery, protein engineering, and biomembrane suprastructures of neurons.

The main focus of our research is to investigate the membrane transporters involved with neurological and psychiatric disorders. The Na+, K+-ATPase is of particular interest, since many neurological disorders are linked to the function of this pump, such as function loss in the Na+,K+-ATPase that can lead to severe diseases such as familial hemiplegic migraine and rapid-onset Dystonia with Parkinsonism.

Several different methods are used to study membrane pumps in our research group, such as structural studies including use of nanodiscs, electrophysiology, and hypoxic conditions.

Research Areas: Membrane proteins, Membrane transport, Electron microscopy, Crystallography, Biochemistry, Drug discovery, Tomography 

A collection of P-type ATPase structures from the Nissen lab. Figure courtesy of Dr. Oleg Sitsel.

Available projects

The Nissen group currently has projects available for Master and PhD students.

See current research projects in the laboratory here (link opens pdf)

See overview of current study opportunities in the laboratory (link opens new page)

Please contact Group Leader Poul Nissen directly, if interested.

News

2018.12.07 | Research news

Novo Nordisk Foundation Project Grant for Prof. Poul Nissen

Professor Poul Nissen has been awarded a Novo Nordisk Foundation Project Grants in Bioscience and Basic Biomedicine 2018 for the project "Structure determination of the human glycine transporter hGlyT1".

From Left to Right: Agata Pernus (Project Officer - Government and EU Relations, EMBL), Plamena Markova (Joint Head of Government & EU Relations, EMBL), Janna Saarela (newly appointed Director, NCMM), Mark Daly (Director, FIMM), Edith Heard (incoming Director General, EMBL), Iain Mattaj (outgoing Director General, EMBL), Poul Nissen (Director, DANDRITE), Oliver Bilker (Director, MIMS), Silke Schumacher (Director International Relations, EMBL). Photo: Massimo del Prete, EMBL

2018.11.30 | News from the management

Farewell to Iain Mattaj, Director General, EMBL

The directors of the Nordic EMBL Partnership nodes attended a farewell event at the EMBL in Heidelberg for Iain Mattaj on 27th Nov. 2018, as he nears the end of his Director General mandate. Professor Iain Mattaj will be succeeded by Professor Edith Heard, who officially joins EMBL in January 2019.

2018.11.30 | Research news

New incubation programmes from the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The Novo Nordisk Foundation's new Bioinnovation Institute (BII) has appointed a panel from universities, venture funds and life science companies to help assess applications for their new incubation programmes.

2018.11.09 | Research news

DKK 30 million for high-tech electron microscopes for research in molecular cell biology

The Minister for Higher Education and Science has approved funding for three new research infrastructures, of which DKK 30.76 million goes to EMBION – a research infrastructure for cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) on biological materials.

Picture of Lone Frank and Poul Nissen

2018.10.29 | PoulNissen

Poul Nissen interviewed for Radio24syv

Poul Nissen has been interviewed in Radio24syv for the program entitled "24 questions for the Professor" on protein structure research. Host of the interview was research journalist Lone Frank.

2018.10.29 | PoulNissen

Foteini Karapanagioti is new research assistant in Nissen group

The aim of this project for Foteini Karapanagioti is to investigate the structural changes of arrhythmic calmodulin mutations and the effects on the binding to and regulation of the Plasma Membrane Ca2+ ATPase (PMCA) pump. The acquired data will give an insight on the involvement of PMCA dysregulation in the mechanism of calmodulin mutation…

Structural representation of the crystal structure of the protein kinase RSK2 (grey surface) in complex with the drug dimethyl fumarate (yellow spheres). The light blue spheres represent water molecules bound to the protein structure that are also revealed from the crystal structure. The structure was determined at 1.9 Å resolution and the atomic coordinates are available in the protein data bank with access code 5O1S: www.rcsb.org/structure/5O1S
Model of DMF inhibition. Schematic figure of the activation loop transition between inactive and activated state of the C-terminal kinase domain (consisting of the ATP binding domain and the helix bundle domain). DMF targets an allosteric site and blocks kinase activation, and vice versa. Figure: Jacob Lauwring Andersen

2018.10.19 | Research news

New insight into the mechanism of the drug against sclerosis and psoriasis - New publication from Nissen Group

A multidisciplinary research team at Aarhus University has provided fundamental new insight into the mechanism of the medical drug dimethyl fumarate, which is the active component of important treatments for multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. The results contribute to the development of new strategies for drug discovery.

2018.10.12 | Events

New exhibition at the Steno Museum ‘Profession and Passion – a Life in Science’

The heart of the exhibition is the Nobel Prize laureate Jens Chr. Skou’s office and the main focus is his sodium-potassium pump. Together with five other researchers’ workplaces and their stories, Jens Chr. Skou’s office comprises the basis of the exhibition. Poul Nissen and his group exhibit as part of the story behind Skou. Poul is represented…

Poul Nissen presenting at the Nordic EMBL Partnership Meeting. Photo by Øystein Horgmo, University of Oslo.

2018.10.01 | Research news

New speaker for the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine

The Nordic EMBL Partnership is very pleased to announce that Professor Poul Nissen, Director of DANDRITE (Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience) has been named as the third speaker of the Nordic EMBL Partnership.

2018.10.01 | Research news

Newspaper article in "Aarhus Stiftidende" about Poul Nissen's passion for structures

Poul Nissen was interviewed by the newspaper "Aarhus Stiftidende" in connection to him having received the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2018. The article is called "Professor med forstand på struktur" (only available in Danish). The article is available online via this link.

2018.09.26 | PoulNissen

New student assistant in Poul Nissen’s group

Jonathan Søholm-Boesen has started as new student assistant in Poul Nissen’s group on 3 Sept. 2018, where he will assist Jesper L. Karlsen on web related updates.  

2018.09.19 | PoulNissen

Mads Eskesen Christensen is new Master Student in Nissen Group

Mads Eskesen Christensen works on a project, which aims to establish protocols to reconstitute Na,K-ATPase in liposomes as well as lipid-protein nanoparticles for subsequent structural and functional studies by single molecule fluorescence and electron microscopy.

2018.09.17 | PoulNissen

Line Marie Christiansen is new Research Assistant in Nissen Group

Line Marie Christiansen will work with the P-type ATPases, in particular the P4-ATPases also known as lipid flippases. The membrane-protein group is linked to several neurological diseases, although the connection is not well understood yet. Based on a structural and functional approach the project aims to help gain a better understanding of the…

2018.09.03 | PoulNissen

POUL NISSEN AWARDED THE CARLSBERG FOUNDATION RESEARCH PRIZE 2018

Poul Nissen receives the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize for his groundbreaking work in structural biology. The prize was given by HRH the Crown Princess, Minister of Higher Education and Science, Tommy Ahlers, and chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation, Flemming Besenbacher, as part of the annual banquet at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek on Sunday…

Postdoctoral fellow Michael Habeck. 
The crystal structure of Na,K-ATPase with ATP. See text link to download the movie. Credit to Nyblom et al. 2013.

2018.05.31 | Awards

Postdoc Michael Habeck receives Marie Curie fellowship

Postdoc Michael Habeck from Poul Nissen’s group has been awarded a 2 year Marie Curie fellowship from the European Commission, which will begin per 1 June 2018. The fellowship was awarded to conduct structural studies of Na,K-ATPase isoforms and mutants.

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