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Study opportunities

Poul Nissen's lab – Structural Neurobiology

Lab background:

We study how, when and where membrane proteins work by investigating transport mechanisms, protein regulation, complex formation and protein localization in ultra-structures.  Particular interest is in P-type ATPases, secondary active transporters and receptor complexes that are found in the brain. For example we work with neuron-specific isoforms of Na+,K+-ATPases and Ca2+-ATPases that maintain fundamental electrochemical gradients across cell membranes while spending more than 50% of the energy in brain. Further target proteins include secondary active transporters of neurotransmitters and receptor complexes including sortilin-like VPS10 proteins and other neuronal receptors.

Available projects (examples):

CryoEM studies of neuronal membrane protein complexes. Cloning, expression (mammalian cells), purification (detergent and/or membrane mimetics) and characterization of protein complexes. Complexes are analysed biophysically by SPR, MST, nanoDSF and MP. Complex structures are revealed using cryo-EM.

Drug discovery in neurological/neurodegenerative disorders. Disease mutant forms of pumps such as Na,K-ATPase and Ca2+-ATPases and interaction sites for toxic amyloids form potential targets for drug discovery and are explored via functional and structural studies.


Cryo-electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, biochemistry, biophysics, cell models.

As a student in our research group, you are desired to be:

  • Interested in molecular cell biology and the understanding of life sciences at the molecular level.
  • Ambitious, have the ability to take ownership, and possess good communicative skills.