Young Faculty

Department of Neuroscience, KU

Jessica Justinussen (postdoc, Kornum lab):

“Hypocretin signaling in sickness behavior”

Hypocretin is a neuropeptide produced in the lateral hypothalamus and projects throughout the brain. While a lot of research focuses on its role in maintaining wake-sleep cycles, this presentation will focus on hypocretin signaling in sickness behavior.


Solveig Gaarde Schmidt (postdoc, Løland lab):

“Trying to understand how the dopamine transporter drives reuptake”

Proper reuptake of dopamine by the dopamine transporter is important for dopamine homeostasis in the central nervous system. Rare genetic variants leading to malfunction of the transporter have been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, and a range of widely used drugs have been developed that interfere with the transporter’s mode of uptake. But how does the transporter facilitate dopamine uptake? The sodium gradient across the cell membrane is essential for driving transport, but is that all? And how can we investigate this tiny problem?


Paola Barbagallo (postdoc) and Maiken Ø. Pedersen (PhD studerende) (Sørensen Lab):

“Modelling SNAREopathies in human iPSC-derived glutamatergic neurons“

The SNARE proteins and additional regulatory proteins are responsible for the fusion of synaptic vesicles containing neurotransmitters. Mutations affecting all eight core components of the SNARE-complex have been reported in children affected by SNAREopathies, a heterogeneous group of syndromes characterised by a wide spectrum of seizure phenotypes and other neurodevelopmental symptoms. We are currently studying the cellular phenotypes connected to de novo mutations on Snap25 and Stxbp1 using CRISPR/Cas9-edited iPSC-derived glutamatergic neurons. We culture human neurons on islands of astrocytes and evaluate protein expression, morphology/synaptogenesis, and synaptic transmission in order to detect disease-relevant changes and provide insight into the underlying disease mechanisms. With our research, we aim to establish a cellular system to unravel the disease mechanisms and enable therapy development.


The short talks will take place at Faculty Club 16.6 at 15.00 on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022. Please join us prior to the talk for coffee and cookies.