Department of Neuroscience
The Panum Institute, room 33-3-50
Phone: +45 3532 7450
The Nielsen lab aims to gain insight in basic principles and mechanisms of motor learning, the neuroplastic changes in the central nervous system (CNS) underlying motor learning and the relationship between neuroplasticity and behavioral changes.
Motor learning, neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation
The Nielsen lab aims to gain insight in basic principles and mechanisms of motor learning, the neuroplastic changes in the central nervous system (CNS) underlying motor learning and the relationship between neuroplasticity and behavioral changes. A more applied goal of the research in the Nielsen lab is to utilize knowledge of mechanisms in motor learning in order to improve the design of motor training and rehabilitation strategies.
Our work has primarily focused on the human motor system and the research involves experiments in healthy volunteers, but also motor learning in children, elderly people and motor learning in patients with neurological disorders.
In our approach to motor learning, the Nielsen lab focusses on neuroplastic changes at multiple levels within the CNS from changes in cerebral cortex organization to changes at a spinal level. In order to do so, we utilize and combine various electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques in the context of well-defined hypothesis-driven investigations. The methods include among other transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), peripheral nerve stimulation and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
Pathophysiology of spasticity and contractures
The Nielsen lab performs parallel experiments in animal models (rat, mouse), healthy human subjects and people with spasticity (cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis) in order to clarify the pathophysiological mechanisms of spasticity and contractures. This works involves analysis of signaling mechanisms at molecular level combined with electrophysiological and behavioural analyses in animals and humans. A major aim of the research is to optimize treatment of spasticity and contractures.
Neurodevelopment and cerebral palsy
The Nielsen lab also aims in collaboration with the Elsass institute in Charlottenlund to obtain a fundamental understanding of the developing brain and the adaptations that occur in relation to early brain lesions. Based on this knowledge we strive to find new ways of improving quality of life for children and adults with CP. This involves development and testing of new interventions, therapies and technologies.