Brain and Muscle Energy Group – University of Copenhagen

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Projects in Brain and Muscle Energy Group

Professor Bergersen’s research is focused on regulation, function and transport of lactate and other monocarboxylates in the brain in young and old animals and humans. Professor Bergersen recently discovered that a G-protein coupled lactate receptor, GPR81, is present and active in brain (Lauritzen KH et al., 2014 Cereb Cortex). In 2014, Professor Bergersen recruited PhD student, Elisabeth Holm Diget, who will be sponsored by a three-year PhD student fellowship from the Danish Lundbeck Foundation and who will participate in an optogenetic study in collaboration with Karl Deisseroth (Stanford University, USA). Her doctoral project, entitled Can optogenetic stimulation of G-protein-coupled receptor 81 rescue cognitive decline? will use optogenetics to investigate the physiological effects and molecular mechanisms of GPR81.

Professor Bergersen, Shelton Mariga, Miriam Kolko and Albert Gjedde co-authored a perspective article entitled Lactate transport and receptor actions in cerebral malaria (Frontier of Neuroscience, May 2014). This article discusses infection with plasmodium falciparum, a causative agent in cerebral malaria, and new opportunities to develop treatment or interventions to prevent this prevalent neurological disorder in tropical countries. The project is part of a partnership to fight poverty-related diseases in Africa. 

During 2014, Professor Bergersen and one of her PhD students, Mahdi Hasan Olive collaborated with Professor Vilhelm Bohr and Morten Scheibye-Knudsen in a project that explores use of a ketogenic diet to prevent or mitigate symptoms of Cockayne syndrome.

Professor Bergensen is also engaged in an ongoing collaboration with CEHA Managing Director Professor Lene Juel Rasmussen and Professor Martin Lauritzen. This project is characterizing morphological and chemical change at neural synapses in DNA repair-deficient transgenic mice. In another collaboration, Bergersen’s postdoctoral fellow, Knut Husø Lauritzen is working with  Professor Rasmussen to analyze the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in heart disease. 

Professor Bergersen works closely with Professors Lene Juel Rasmussen (Theme III), Martin Lauritzen (Theme II) and CEHA associates Vilhelm Bohr and Albert Gjedde.