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Jensen Group

Neurodegenerative Diseases Laboratory


Our group want to understand how neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and multiple systems atrophy develop, progress, and elicit their many symptoms.

We centre our studies on how the protein alpha-synuclein contributes to these processes because the spread of alpha-synuclein aggregate-pathology in the tissue plays a central role for these diseases. This is investigated in studies of alpha-synuclein aggregates in vitro, in cell models, cultures brain slices, live animals and human tissue and involves development of new tools and models.

Research focus

Our aims are: 1) Decipher how cells regulate their pools of alpha-synuclein species because elevated levels represents a risk factor for disease with projects both at the regulation of alpha-synuclein transcription and the catabolic pathways for normal and abnormal alpha-synuclein species. 2) Understand how different folding strains of alpha-synuclein aggregates develop and cells respond to such aggregated alpha-synuclein species with respect to cytotoxic and protective mechanisms that can be targeted by therapy. 3) Understand how cells suffering from development of intracellular alpha-synuclein aggregates affects their surrounding tissue and connected neurons contributing to spreading of pathology and development of neurological/psychiatric symptoms.

Currently specific projects focuses on i) alpha-synucleins role in calcium regulation with a focus on calcium pumps in the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane, ii) signalling pathways regulating transcription of alpha-synuclein and degradation of its native and aggregated species, iii) characterization of oligomeric and fibrillar alpha-synuclein aggregates, iv) development and application of proximity ligation assays to uncover novel alpha-synuclein pathology in human brain tissue, v) in vivo mouse studies focussing on modelling and mechanisms involved in disease progression and how they can be inhibited pharmacologically.

Available projects

The Jensen group currently has projects available for Master and PhD students. Please contact Group Leader Poul Henning Jensen directly, if interested.



Previous news from the research group


2017.10.12 | People

Fikret Emre Kapucu is new postdoc in Jensen Group

Fikret Emre Kapucu is new postdoc in Poul Henning Jensen's group from October 1st. Having a long-time research experience on developing analysis methods for electrophysiological signals, he will work on the impacts of the intracellular protein aggregation on neuron structure and functionality. In particular, he…

2017.09.27 | People

Asad Jan is new AIAS Fellow affiliated DANDRITE

Asad Jan is new AIAS Fellow affiliated Poul Henning Jensen's group from October 1st. He completed his professional studies in Clinical Medicine (2005), followed by a doctoral thesis in Neuroscience at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland (2010). Before joining AIAS (2017) as a junior fellow, he was a…

2017.09.26 | People

Helene Tallaksen is new bachelor student in Jensen Group

Helene Tallaksen is new bachelor student in Poul Henning Jensen's group from September 4th. She will focus on animal experiments and immunohistochemical analysis of tissue from different animal models of Parkinson’s disease.  ​

2017.08.24 | People

Hjalte Gram is new masterstudent in Jensen Group

Hjalte is new masterstudent in Poul Henning Jensen's group from August 15th. He is going to study  gene expression related to the Calcium changes that are induced by intracellular alpha-synuclein aggregation. The aim is to characterise pathogenic pathways induced by aggretade alpha-synuclein.

Polo-like kinase 2 (PLK-2) phosphorylates an unknown target, which leads to regulation of α-synuclein mRNA by targeting exonal sequences in the gene encoding α-synuclein, SNCA. PLK-2, and other kinases, additionally phosphorylates α-synuclein, which might be involved in the misfolding of the protein and development of toxic protein species such as oligomers and fibrils.

2017.08.09 | Research news

Poul Henning Jensen's group publish finding of novel pathway regulating α-synuclein levels in brain

The title of the paper is: Polo-like kinase 2 modulates α-synuclein protein levels by regulating its mRNA production

Photo: PhD student Milena Laban (left)

2017.05.02 | Events

DANDRITE attended this year's Festival of Research in Aarhus on April 27

As usual DANDRITE attended the Festival of Research. It was a busy and enjoyable day where group leaders and students from DANDRITE demonstrated their research areas to the general Danish public. Four labs where represented: Anne von Philipsborn lab, Poul Henning Jensen lab, Mark Denham lab and Poul Nissen Lab.

Professor, dr.med. Poul Henning Jensen. Foto: AU Foto

2017.04.11 | Research news

Prof. Poul Henning Jensen receives DKK 1.500.000

Prof. Poul Henning Jensen receives DKK 1.500.000 as research partner in the IMPRIND consortium to a research project with the main goal of modelling effects of Parkinson-associated alpha-synuclein aggregates on cellular calcium homeostasis.

Professor, dr.med. Poul Henning Jensen. Foto: AU Foto

2017.03.08 | Research news

New AU research has the perspective to stop Parkinson's disease

The Lundbeck Foundation is giving DKK 10 million to a new research project at Aarhus University which will study critical calcium changes in the nerve cells that are expected to occur patients with Parkinson's disease.

2017.03.01 | People

Linnea Meier is new student assistant in Jensen Group

Linnea Meier started as student assistant in Jensen Group from February 7th. Linnea is studying Molecular Medicine on 2. semester at Aarhus University.

2016.11.11 | Research news

Poul Henning Jensen and Mark Denham received the Danish Parkinsons association Grant

Mark Denham got a grant for the project "Combining stem cells and novel bioactive scaffolds to develop new Parkinson Disease therapies" while Poul Henning Jensens project is called "Can caffeine treatment rescue alfa-synuclein aggregation dependent disease spreading and neuron loss? Investigating a novel neuroprotective principle in…

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