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Research in the media

New research results


Ion and lipid transporters specialize for their niche

Cell viability require that a variety of functions at the cell membrane are maintained properly. P-type ATPases translocate substrates across the membrane, and they have evolved into different types taking care of specific substrates within a diverse range. Now, key structural aspects have been described on how two different types of P-type ATPases – a Ca2+ transporting Ca2+-ATPase and a lipid transporting P4-ATPase - have adapted to different substrates and physical environments.


Groundbreaking cryo-electron microscopy at Aarhus University reveals the first structures of a protein that maintains cell membranes

Using cutting-edge electron microscopy, researchers from Aarhus University have determined the first structures of a lipid-flippase. The discoveries provide a better understanding of the basics of how cells work and stay healthy, and can eventually increase our knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  

New insights into calcium transport may help develop new drugs

A normal function of the heart and nerve system is, among other things, dependent on proper regulation of calcium in the cells. This process depends on the proper functioning of the calcium pump. New studies of the calcium pump structure give new insight into this process, which may help with the development of new drugs for treatment such as Parkinson's disease and heart failure.

New insight into the mechanism of the drug against sclerosis and psoriasis

A multidisciplinary research team at Aarhus University has provided fundamental new insight into the mechanism of the medical drug dimethyl fumarate, which is the active component of important treatments for multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. The results contribute to the development of new strategies for drug discovery.

New discovery from the molecular machinery for depression and addiction

Researchers at Aarhus University have described how a group of the brain’s transport proteins with important roles in depression and dependence overcome the step which limits their effectiveness. The discovery makes it possible to describe the full function of the transport protein and can provide better opportunities for counteracting the effect of amphetamine and ecstasy on the brain.

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The end of ‘Pump Fiction’

Our cells are capable of moving energy and material around to the places where they are required, and ensuring that the body works properly. But how do the cells do this in real time from the perspective of the individual molecule? A Danish research team has succeeded in revealing basic insights into this previously unknown world by carrying out the first experiments that show the workings of an individual molecule in the molecular ‘motor’ – known as the calcium pump. The discovery has just been published in the leading journal Nature

A calcium pump caught in the act

Researchers at Aarhus University have described one of the cell’s key enzymes, the calcium pump, in its decisive moment – a so-called transition state where a catalyzed activity makes the turning point from bound substrate to product. These findings provide a very detailed picture of how one of the most energy-consuming processes in the body takes place. Calcium pumps are intimately involved in the activity of muscle, such as the heart, and therefore they are considered important targets for development of new drugs for cardiovascular diseases.

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Movies from the research

  • Movie of the Na+/K+-ATPase with ATP
  • Movie of SERCA with H+
  • Movie of SERCA with H+ in membrane

See all movies and the publications related to each of them.

Unique pump in sperm cells makes a difficult journey possible

A prerequisite for the sperm cell's difficult journey from the testicle to the fallopian tube is its unique sodium-potassium pump. New studies of the unique pump show how it differs from the sodium-potassium pumps in the rest of the body, and gives hints on why sperm cells have developed their own pump.

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Don’t zinc - do!

Aarhus University’s PUMPkin Centre – a Centre of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation – has just succeeded in ‘taking’ the first photos of the mechanism that transports zinc out of the cells of organisms such as bacteria and plants. The study has just been published in Nature.

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New knowledge about neurotransmitter pathways in the brain

Insight into transport mechanisms in brain cells is extremely important in connection with disorders such as schizophrenia, epilepsy and depression, as well as in connection with producing the right medicine. Defects in proteins responsible for the transport of neurotransmitters are actually related to psychological and neurological disorders, and these proteins are also targets for treatment with pharmaceuticals such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, and for psychostimulants such as cocaine and amphetamine.

The results were published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

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How the cells remove copper

New research from Aarhus University provides deeper insight into causes of serious diseases involving copper metabolism. Mapping the mechanism that regulates the transport of copper across the cell membrane and out of the body’s cells actually provides a new understanding of conditions related to chronic imbalance in the body’s level of copper.

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Crucial new insight into the secrets of Nobel Prize-winning pump

Jens Chr. Skou was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the sodium-potassium pump. Now, a team of researchers from Aarhus has completed the description of its structure. A result which is of vital importance for our understanding of the body's functions and essential for our understanding of illness and for the development of new medicines.

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Small adrenal tumours cause high blood pressure

In collaboration with a Cambridge research group, Danish researchers from the PUMPkin research centre at Aarhus University have revealed why up to 10 per cent of the population has high blood pressure.

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New research can improve heart medicine

New research from Aarhus University can be of decisive importance for the thousands of Danes living with a heart disease. A new understanding of how a widely used compound in heart medicine affects the cells may make it possible to develop a new medicine for treating fibrillation and heart failure, for example.

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Last image in a molecular ‘comic strip’ now in place

Researchers at Aarhus University have worked together with a newly started biotech company to draw the last image in a scientific ‘comic strip’ that illustrates the migration and function of calcium in the body. Their discovery has been published in the journal Nature and has great significance for product development – particularly pharmaceuticals for heart patients.

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Danish researchers release ground-breaking knowledge about calcium pumps in cells

When animals and plants are exposed to influences such as bacterial attack, odour and cold, calcium ions flow into the cells. The calcium provides the cells with a signal about what is going on outside, but as high concentrations of calcium are toxic to the cells, it must be quickly pumped out again. Researchers from the Danish National Research Foundation’s PUMPkin Centre at both the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University have now shown that calcium pumps in the cell’s outer membrane adjust the pump speed very accurately to the calcium concentration. These findings have just been published in Nature.

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New cancer drug shows great promise

Danish researchers have developed a new drug against prostate cancer in collaboration with researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the biotech company Genspera in the USA.

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Protein pumps copper, silver and gold

Researchers from Aarhus University are the first in the world to map the structure of a protein that pumps copper ions across the cell membrane. Almost all organisms are dependent on this protein to control the cell levels of copper, which is essential in small quantities but deadly toxic at elevated concentrations. The findings have been published in the leading scientific journal Nature.

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Scientists reveal new basic knowledge of cell membranes

Following an interdisciplinary collaboration, scientists at Aarhus University have presented a ground-breaking method to study cell membranes. A better understanding of the complexity of membrane function may give the scientists new ideas for developing new types of medical treatment against prostate cancer, for example. The results have been published in the leading journal Nature Communications.

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Neurological diseases caused by defects in cell pump

The sodium-potassium pump is essential for all animal life and is the target of some of the oldest known drugs. However, although the pump has been known and studied for more than 50 years, a group of Danish scientists has just discovered a new aspect of its very basic mechanism. Perturbations of the mechanism can cause the neurological diseases migraine and dystonic parkinsonism. These results open up for new research in one of the most fundamental cellular mechanisms, and they provide novel insight that may prove valuable for long-term attempts in understanding and combating neurological diseases.

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Researchers reveal action mechanism of known food contaminant

The toxin cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) has been known for many years, but scientists have only just discovered how this mycotoxin works. This discovery will make it easier for researchers to develop new antibiotics.

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Poul Nissen and his research team have three articles in one issue of Nature

Three at once - a world sensation! Poul Nissen's research laboratory publishes no fewer than three articles in the same edition of the prestigious journal Nature and takes over the front page.

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Danish researchers take over the front page

Danish researchers publish three articles in the prestigious journal Nature. This work is based on Nobel Prize winner Jens Christian Skou's discovery of the sodium-potassium pump 50 years ago.

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Researchers from Aarhus continue to be world leading in knowledge about ion pumps

Aarhus University has for many years been a leader in the world when it comes to the knowledge of ion pumps - a knowledge of basic importance for the understanding of biological life and the body's basic functions. This position led to Professor Jens Christian Skou's award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997, and now other researchers at the university add new chapters to the story.

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Honorary awards, large research grants, etc.

The cryoEM facility EMBION receives USD 2.1 million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation for large equipment

With the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, main applicant Poul Nissen and colleagues from the With the grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, main applicant Poul Nissen and colleagues from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and iNANO as well as partners at the Department of Biomedicine and the Department of Engineering will be able to establish an infrastructure for Cryo-Electron Tomography (ICE-T), which will also be made available to other institutions and industry. With this apparatus, molecular details can be explored directly in cells.

Grant worth DKK 75 M for neuroscience in Aarhus

The Lundbeck Foundation is giving the DANDRITE neuroscience centre at Aarhus University funding to spend on research up to 2028. The funds worth DKK 75 M (EUR 10 M) will primarily be spent on recruitment of five new DANDRITE group leaders to head individual neuroscience research programmes.

Poul Nissen receives the Lundbeck Foundation's professor grant

The Lundbeck Foundation is awarding grants worth DKK 232 million (USD 34 million) to six leading neuroscientists. The LF Professorships programme is the Foundation’s largest grant allocation to date.

Aarhus University participates in a new Oresund-Kattegat-Skagerak EU Life Science Network

Gregers Rom Andersen and Poul Nissen from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, participate in a new three-year EU project for the Oresund-Kattegat-Skagerak (OKS) area, which has received a grant from the EU of EUR 3.6 million.

Poul Nissen awarded the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2018

Poul Nissen receives the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize for his groundbreaking work in structural biology. The prize was given by HRH the Crown Princess, Minister of Higher Education and Science, Tommy Ahlers, and chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation, Flemming Besenbacher, as part of the annual banquet at the New Carlsberg Glyptotek on Sunday 2 September 2018.

Novo Nordisk Foundation awards DKK 255 million for establishing the world’s most powerful protein “microscope”

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting the establishment of an ultra-modern research platform in Lund, Sweden. The platform will enable researchers to investigate proteins at a level of detail not previously possible and can thus form the basis for developing new drugs. Researchers from Aarhus University have had a strong impact on the application.

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…

Professor Poul Nissen receives the 2017 Novo Nordisk Prize

Poul Nissen, Professor at Aarhus University, is receiving the 2017 Novo Nordisk Prize for his pioneering studies of the structure and function of ion pumps. Through his research, Poul Nissen has clarified in detail, among other things, how ions and nutrients are transported into and out of cells. This fundamental knowledge is very significant for understanding life processes and in combating disease.  

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The Director Ib Henriksen Foundation’s Researcher Award 2016 goes to Professor Poul Nissen

Professor Poul Nissen has won the prestigious Director Ib Henriksen Foundation’s Researcher Award 2016 for his outstanding efforts in structural biology. The foundation justifies the choice of Professor Nissen with his ability to promote interdisciplinary and international cooperation in his field of research.

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Poul Nissen awarded the international Gregori Aminoff Prize 2016

On Thursday 30 March 2016, Poul Nissen was awarded the Aminoff Prize 2016 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences – the first Dane ever – for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of the structural basis for ATP-driven transport of ions across cell membranes.

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World-class neuroscience centre

An international team of young top researchers is gearing up to take Danish neuroscience to new heights.

Article from the 2014/15 Aarhus University profile brochure.

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The results of unique images showing new sides of the sodium-potassium pump has been nominated as the Danish Research Result of the Year 2013

A research project from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is one of videnskab.dk’s ten nominations for the Danish Research Result of the Year 2013.

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Poul Nissen nominated adjunct professor at Aalborg University

Poul Nissen nominated adjunct professor at Aalborg University for a five-year period (1 July 1013-30 June 2018) to strengthen structural biology and molecular medical research collaboration between Aalborg University and Aarhus University.

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Award to the first step towards designing less toxic cardiovascular drugs

New results from Aarhus University show the first, crucial step in dissecting the molecular mechanism behind drugs with an important effect on the heart. The scientific article with these important results was nominated “Paper-of-the-Year” by the international Journal of Structural Biology.

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Lundbeck Foundation Centre in Aarhus for top European brain research

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Europe’s flagship laboratory for the life sciences, is now joining forces with Aarhus University as its Danish partner of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine. On the initiative of the Lundbeck Foundation, a new elite research centre – DANDRITE – is to form the prestigious setting for top level international research in the field of neuroscience, backed by an anticipated DKK 500 million.

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Aarhus University celebrates elite partnership

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) – Europe’s flagship for basic research in the life sciences – is including Aarhus University as its Danish partner. This will be celebrated in the Main Hall on 5 March with the inauguration of the DANDRITE neuroscience centre, which will make Aarhus a magnet for top international research into molecular and translational neuroscience.

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15 million for new membrane center at Aarhus University

A group of researchers at AU has been granted DKK 15 million to create a new research center forn studying the body's membrane proteins. The following researchers from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics participate in the center: Gregers Rom Andersen, Rune Hartmann, Lene Niemann Nejsum, Poul Nissen, Claus Oxvig and Lea Thøgersen.

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Poul Nissen awarded the "Eliteforsk" prize

On Thursday 24 January 2008, a number EliteForsk prizes in three different categories were awarded by the Minister for Science and Technology Helge Sander. Nine of prizes go to researchers and PhD students from the University of Aarhus. Dr Nissen was awarded one of the seven EliteForsk prizes.

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Prestigious European grant to top scientist from Aarhus University

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Professor Poul Nissen from the Department of Molecular Biology, Aarhus University, a research grant of more than DKK 18 million (EUR 2.44 million).

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Researchers from Aarhus University participate in the award of the Nobel Prize

Two Danish researchers - Ditlev E. Brodersen and Poul Nissen from the Department of Molecular Biology, Aarhus University - are currently in Stockholm to participate in the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009.

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Poul Nissen receives the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research

Both recently graduated and experienced researchers are being honoured at a ceremony at Aarhus University on Friday 28 May 2010. A total of eight scientists – all of whom began their careers at Aarhus University – are being rewarded for their efforts with recognition and research grants.

Inauguration of a new interdisciplinary research centre at MBI on 21 September 2007

Inauguration of a new research centre to study the pumps that are necessary to sustain life in our cells.

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Poul Nissen awarded the Anders Jahre prize

Professor Poul Nissen and a Norwegian researcher were awarded the Anders Jahres medical prize for young researchers. The prize is worth DKK 400,000 kroner. This prize and the main prize of DKK 1,000,000 are called the "little Nobel" among the physicians and is one of the most prestigious awards in medical research in the Nordic countries. The Anders Jahre Prize has been awarded by the University of Oslo since 1960.

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