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Research Themes – University of Copenhagen

NeuroCluster > Research Themes


Examples of major research themes are:

Structure and function of the brain

The development, structure and function of individual and assemblies of nerve cells is studied to uncover basic operating principles in the brain. How are the complicated circuits constructed during development? Which diseases follow when the normal development goes wrong? Which functional modules does the adult brain contain, and how are they integrated to produce sensory experiences, motor functions and higher brain functions. These are questions that basic neuroscience research attempts to answer.

Neuronal signal transmission at the molecular and cellular level

Information processing in the brain is based on the transfer of chemical and electrical signals between nerve cells, and between their subcellular compartments. Effective pharmacological treatment of many brain diseases is dependent on a thorough understanding of mechanisms underlying this cellular signaling.

Neurodegeneration and regeneration

This theme covers all aspects from genes/molecules to clinical neurology and combines basic brain research with neurology in animal models and patients. The research is mainly focused on the neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and cerebrovascular disorders.

Biological psychiatry

The underlying pathological causes of serious disease such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders are still poorly understood. This area of research aims to improve the definition of disease phenotypes, and also involves studies of disturbances in neurotransmission, neuronal pathology and genetic changes. Understanding of these basic factors will lead to an improvement of the pharmacological treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Motor control and rehabilitation

This theme range from the molecular level in animal models to rehabilitation of patients with motor disorders. Studies are performed in animals, but also examine healthy subjects and patients with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and stroke. Biomechanics, electrophysiology and imaging of the nervous system are cornerstone techniques. The overall goal is to create a solid neurobiological basis for recovery of motor functions in neurological patients.

Substance abuse and addiction

The objective is to improve understanding of the basic mechanisms of addiction in order to improve treatment. Transgenic animal models are used to study the role of various neurotransmitters in addiction to cocaine, ecstasy, opiates, and alcohol. Human studies are also performed using advanced imaging of the brain.


The methods used in brain research are drawn from a variety of different discliplines, including:
  • Molecular biology
  • Molecular pharmacology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Cellular imaging
  • Brain imaging
  • Neuroanatomy