16 December 2009

Large grant for Biophysics

Professor in biophysics Mogens Høgh Jensen has received a grant of 4.5 million kr. from the Lundbeck Foundation for a project in collaboration with Aarhus University and DTU.

Hidden behind the theoretical title of the project, ’The Complexity of Amyloid Formation’ is a very practical research project, namely research into the proteins that form clumps in the brain and cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or mad cow disease.

”What we see in people who have these diseases is that they have ’plaque’ or spots of inactive areas in the brain. They are formed by proteins, which first form formations of strands and then clumps. The formations are formed in fits and starts, but what happens there and what sets the process in motion? That is what we will investigate”, explains Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen.

The research is a collaboration with Aarhus University, where biochemists will perform experiments with the proteins. The researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute and DTU will then make the theoretical models and try to calculate the growth processes. Then biophysicist Lene Oddershede will make experiments with living cells and again theoretical models for the processes will be made.

”The potential is to understand the basic processes of these terrible diseases. If we can understand the processes, then perhaps we can prevent them”, explains Mogens Høgh Jensen.

The grant is for four years and will mean five PhDs and two postdoc positions with co-financing.