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DANDRITE receives a 5-year prolongation grant of DKK 60 million from Lundbeckfonden

The grant extends an ambitious neuroscience research initiative in Denmark and provides the DANDRITE researchers at Aarhus University with the opportunity to continue their work up until 2023. The aim is for groundbreaking, new studies of basic mechanisms in neuroscience such as in neuronal development, the processing of visual input, brain-muscle control, memory, initiative, and mechanisms of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

When the healthy brain gets ill, the communications and exchanges between brain cells have changed. However, we have only rudimentary insight into the molecular mechanisms, cellular networks and genetic basis of these interactions that define brain function. The researchers at DANDRITE are, among other things, investigating the molecular biology behind brain disorders such as depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, and of the basic mechanisms of the sensory apparatus, how decisions are made, how memory is stored, and how muscle movements are controlled.

"DANDRITE is a very ambitious project and can be hugely significant for our understanding of what is happening in the healthy and diseased brains down to the molecular level. The researchers have already come a long way, and they may well be on the verge of several vast breakthroughs," says Anne-Marie Engel, Director of Research at Lundbeckfonden.

DANDRITE director Poul Nissen adds: ”We are looking very much forward to the continuation of our research based on this generous extension. DANDRITE presents a unique way of establishing new research in Denmark, based on international recruitment of young top-scientists as group leaders introducing new fields of research and methods. The more than 100 researchers associated with DANDRITE already take part in many collaborations, locally and internationally. Worth noting, the brain is immensely complex and brain disorders often show very complex manifestations, so a thorough knowledge of basic mechanisms and a holistic and integral approach is required to identify and understand also the disease causing mechanisms and how we can tackle them. We are expecting much from the exceptional pool of talent we have recruited to take on such challenges”.

The beginning
DANDRITE was inaugurated in 2013, joining MIMS in Umeå, NCMM in Oslo and FIMM in Helsinki as the Danish node of the Nordic-EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. EMBL is a joint European research flagship in molecular biology with large centers in Germany, France, Italy, UK, and Spain. The partnership extends the unique EMBL model of research organisation, governance and evaluation to the four nodes of the Nordic countries. The DANDRITE proposal from Aarhus University was selected by the Lundbeck Fonden in their initiative to establish a Danish neuroscience node in the partnership. From the onset, the intention of DANDRITE has been to make Aarhus a magnet for top-level international research and recruitment in the fields of molecular and translational neuroscience, adhering to the high standards of the EMBL and the Nordic Partnership.

Over the coming years, DANDRITE researchers will seek to capitalize on the techniques, experimental approaches and synergies of joint actions among the diverse, yet coherent research topics of the recruited groups to inquire the cellular networks and molecular interactions defining key functions and disorders in brain and behavior. Furthermore, DANDRITE will continue to expand collaborations within the Danish neuroscience community and connect Danish research to the top-level EMBL laboratories, and the Nordic EMBL-Partnership for Molecular Medicine to support general aims of obtaining mechanistic insight into complex processes of normal and pathological brain function.

For further information:

Please contact: Professor Poul Nissen
Director of DANDRITE
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark
pn@mbg.au.dk, or on tel. +45 2899 2295

Please contact: Anne Marie Engel, Director of Research at the Lundbeck Foundation, on tel. +45 3912 8000 or ame@lundbeckfonden.com

EMBL is an intergovernmental organisation specialising in basic research in the life sciences, funded by public research finances from more than 20 member states, including much of Europe and Israel, and two associate members, Argentina and Australia. EMBL is led by the Director General, currently Professor Iain Mattaj, appointed by the governing body, EMBL Council. The Council is comprised of representatives of all member and associate member states.

The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine facilitates scientific collaboration and access to scientific infrastructure, including databases, facilities and instrumentation, as well as services and training activities provided by the partners. In addition to their partnership with EMBL, the individual Nordic research centres engage in collaborations with other national partners, including research and public health institutes, hospitals and research councils, with the aim of establishing an extensive Nordic network for molecular medicine.