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Denham Group

Denham group - Stem Cells

The Denham group is working with human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to study how the nervous system develops and the processes involved in neurodegeneration. In particular, he is interested in the specification of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons, the major cell type affected in Parkinson’s disease. He has developed efficient protocols for generating mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons and uncovered some of the key molecular mechanisms that underlie this process.

Research focus

The main focus of our research is to investigate the signalling pathways required for the specification of precise neural cell types from the pluripotent state, from which our objectives are to use these derivatives to develop in vitro models for studying neurodegenerative diseases. Using this approach our aims are to identify early cellular changes that underlie the onset of neurodegeneration for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Furthermore, we are also interested in how different neural progenitor subtypes survive and function after transplantation in an adult rodent brain. Our overall goals are to develop potential treatment strategies for neurodegenerative disorders in the form of cell replacement therapies and drug development.

Projects for Master and ERASMUS students currently available

If interested, please contact Group Leader Mark Denham directly (mden@biomed.au.dk) for further information. See further information on projects here (PDF)

Human pluripotent stem cell derived neurosphere differentiated into neurons in vitro using a small molecule induction system (Denham et al., Stem Cells, 2012).


Previous news from the research group


2014.12.22 | Research news

Group Leader Mark Denham part of new BrainStem Strategic Centre

Group Leader Mark Denham is part of the newly established BrainStem Strategic Centre, a collaboration between Copenhagen University Hospital, Aarhus University, Lund University, University of Southern Denmark, Lundbeck A/S and Bioneer A/S. BrainStem will focus on basic disease mechanisms behind Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and use advanced…

2014.09.29 | Research news

New publication from Mark Denham's group in collaboration with the Dottori laboratory in Melbourne Australia - Functional Characterization of Friedreich Ataxia iPS-Derived Neuronal Progenitors and Their Integration in the Adult Brain

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive disease characterised by neurodegeneration and cardiomyopathy. Here we show that neural derivatives of FRDA induced pluripotent stem cell lines are able to differentiate into functional neurons, which is highly significant findings for developing FRDA therapies using patient-derived stem cells.

2013.11.12 | People


DANDRITE has appointed Anne von Philipsborn and Mark Denham as Group Leaders. These appointments are the first two in a series of five group leaders to be employed at DANDRITE. Anne and Mark will start their research in December and January, respectively.

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