Our aim is to discover genetic risk factors and disease mechanisms in mental disorders
Current large-scale genetic studies in human samples is revealing a plethora of novel mental disorder risk genes. This has accelerated the need to understand how they elicit brain dysfunction. Our group primarily focus on schizophrenia and autism associated transcriptional regulators like e.g. BRD1 and KMT5B. We use both animal and cell-based models for our studies. We investigate changes in behavior and brain structure, reinforcing effects of environmental risk factors, changes in gene expression at the RNA and protein level as well as more basic molecular investigations of changes in histone modifications, in vivo protein-protein interactions and promoter characterizations.
We have also initiated efforts to map genetic risk factors in nocturnal enuresis (involuntary wetting of the bed during nighttime) which is a common comorbidity in mental disorders. In combination with our studies of the AVP gene associated with familial neurohypophyseal diabetes insipidus, a rare disorder of the water balance originating in the brain, we hope to understand the determinants of balanced urine production, bladder activity and sleep.
Many group members are also part of iPSYCH - The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research.
There are currently projects available for Master and PhD students. Please contact Jane Hvarregaard Christensen directly for more information, if interested.