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

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.

2018.04.05 | People

New postdoctoral researcher in Poul Nissen's group

Montana Caballero Bermejo started as postdoctoral researcher in Poul Nissen's group, where she will be working for 2 years as postdoc to study the structure and function of PMCA4b, which is an important plasma membrane calcium pump in brain and other tissues. The studies will involve biochemistry, crystallography, and cryo-electron microscopy.…

2018.04.03 | Research news

Official Inauguration of PROMEMO on 4 April 2018

The official inauguration of PROMEMO - Center for Proteins in Memory - a Danish National Research Foundation Center of Excellence will take place on 4 April 2018. The research center PROMEMO started on 1 December 2017 and aims to identify and understand the function of memory associated proteins that determines the persistence of a memory.

2018.03.05 | News from the management

Poul Nissen continues as appointed director of DANDRITE

We are very happy to announce that core group leader Poul Nissen will continue as the director of DANDRITE, appointed by the executive board. The appointment is for the second 5 year period per 5 March 2018. Poul Nissen was first appointed founding director for one year in 2013 and then as the director for four years in 2014. The leadership will…

2018.03.05 | PoulNissen

New laboratory technician at DANDRITE

Tanja Klymchuk is now affiliated as shared laboratory technician at DANDRITE, sharing her time between the group's of Poul Nissen, Hanne Poulsen, Magnus Kjærgaard, Thomas Boesen, and Assoc. prof. Bjørn Pedersen at the Dept. Molecular Biology and Genetics. Tanja will, together with technician Anna Marie Nielsen, take over some of the duties and…

2018.02.06 | PoulNissen

New master student in Poul Nissen's group

Anne Christine Møller is a new master student in Group Leader Poul Nissen's group. She will be working on a Biotech Engineering project with post doc Azadeh Shahsavar on lipid extractions from pig brains. Comparing different lipid extracts she will investigate activity and structural properties of membrane proteins. She will also investigate…

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.

2018.01.26 | Research news

Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 255 million for establishing the world’s most powerful protein “microscope”

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the establishment of an ultra-modern research platform in Lund, Sweden. The platform will enable researchers to investigate proteins at a level of detail not previously possible and can thus form the basis for developing new drugs. Researchers from Aarhus University have had a strong impact on the…

2018.01.24 | Knowledge exchange

Nordic network in Nobel Prize–winning technology

A new Danish-Swedish research alliance wants to advance understanding of how biological molecules look and behave. With support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, scientists at four universities in Denmark and Sweden will join forces to create a Nordic network in cryo-electron microscopy, whose…

2018.01.17 | Awards

Sara Basse receives a PhD Fellowship from the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds

The stipend will continue Sara's PhD studies with Magnus Kjærgaard and Poul Nissen. She will investigate the structural and mechanistic basis of unidirectional calcium transport through direct visualization by single-molecule FRET and FRET-guided crystallization of key intermediates, and she will establish techniques for…

2018.01.09 | People

Foteini Karapanagioti is visiting student in Poul Nissen's group

During her visit Foteini Karapanagioti will be investigating the effects of arrythmogenic calmodulin mutations on the regulation of cardiac plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase. She is visiting master student from Aalborg University and will be visiting for ½ year.

2017.12.01 | Awards

Michael Voldsgaard Clausen and Poul Nissen has been granted DKK 400,000 to Research Infrastructure from the Carsberg Foundation

Project title: Feel the Force - How do cellular membranes couple force to electrical signaling

2017.11.30 | Awards

Prof. Poul Nissen receives DKK 132,000 from AUFF to host Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Wright as a visiting professor in March and April 2018.

The visiting research grant will support new studies of neuronal membrane structures by Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy and Cryo-Electron Tomography.

(Photo: Mateusz Dyla)

2017.11.09 | PoulNissen

Poul Nissen, Mateusz Dyla and Magnus Kjærgaard publish article in the leading journal Nature

The article ‘Dynamics of P-type ATPase transport revealed by single-molecule FRET’ was published yesterday on 8 November 2017. Our cells are capable of moving energy and material around to the places where they are required, and ensuring that the body works properly. But how do the cells do this in real time from the perspective of the…

2017.11.02 | People

Esben Quistgaard is new assistant professor in Nissen Group

Esben Quistgaard is new assistant professor in Poul Nissen's group from November 3rd 2017. He comes from a position as a senior scientist at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm where he has worked on structural characterization of membrane proteins using X-ray crystallography. He will now continue studying this class of proteins, but will shift…

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