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Meet five professors who have devoted their brains to helping ours

In December 2019 the Lundbeck Foundation awarded grants worth DKK 232 million (USD 34 million) to leading neuroscientists in Denmark. Video interviews with these scientists have now been published, where they explain their exciting research. DANDRITE Director Poul Nissen is one of the grant recipients.

Professor Poul Nissen, photo credit: The Lundbeck Foundation


There is too much we still do not understand about the brain! Five professors who have devoted their brains to helping ours, therefore, received our largest total grant at the end of last year. Join biologist and science journalist Line Friis Frederiksen to visit the five brain scientists and get a look into the brain landscape they are trying to map. Poul Nissen is interviewed 11min 30sec into the video.

Link to video with English subtitles

With a six-year grant of DKK 40 million (USD 6 million), Poul Nissen will investigate the three-dimensional structure and dynamics of specific proteins, from atomic to sub-cellular level. He will analyse and establish models of the protein structures in order to gain an understanding of the basic mechanisms that sustain and organise neurons as well as the connections between them. He will use sophisticated techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography to study a structure in the neurons known as the axonal initial segment. This is where nerve activity is generated, and it is therefore crucial for neuronal signalling.

‘With this very prestigious grant from the Lundbeck Foundation, we can seriously think long-term and invest in important overall issues and key methods, such as electron microscopy, which are crucial for Danish brain research. I am immensely grateful for the trust and impact the Lundbeck Foundation has with their professorship programme, and I look forward to exciting projects with outstanding colleagues in neuroscience,’ says Poul Nissen.


The other recipients of the Lundbeck Foundation's professor grant are:

  • Leif Østergaard, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University
  • Messoud Ashina, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet Glostrup
  • Andreas Kjær, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet
  • Ole Kiehn, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen

Ole Kiehn is also Scientific Advisory Board member at DANDRITE.

This article is based on a press release from the Lundbeck Foundation


For further information about Poul Nissen’s research, please contact

Professor Poul Nissen
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics/DANDRITE
Aarhus University, Denmark
pn@mbg.au.dk – +45 2899 2295