Cecilie Bay-Richter - Neuropsychoimmunology

Our research relates to neuroimmune changes in psychiatric diseases with particular focus on chronic infections and affective disorders.

Research Focus

In recent years, more and more research has suggested that an inflammatory component exists in affective disorders and other psychiatric diseases. Our research focus is:
 

  • By use of animal models, we examine inflammatory components of interest. This is done, by either infecting the animals with the component or by use of genetically modified animals, which either lack or overexpress the protein of interest. Subsequently, the animals undergo a battery of behavioural tests targeted towards the modalities of interest, and biological material is collected and analysed. We also examine whether we can normalize behaviour by treating 'depressed' animals with drugs that affect the immune response.

  • When an inflammatory component has been shown to be related to behavioural changes in our experimental animals, we examine the expression of this component in relevant patient groups and correlate the component to specific aspects of the disease.

  • An important aspect of our research is to pin point potential underlying causes of the inflammation. We are currently focusing on the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which is known to cause behavioural changes in animals and humans and also lead to a chronic low grade neuroinflammation.

  • Furthermore, we are interested in elucidating the underlying molecular aspects of inflammation-induced depression. This involves examinations of the mTor- and kynurenine pathway as well as amino acids and monoamines.

Aim

The overall aim of our research is to improve our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms behind psychiatric disease. We are specifically interested in improving our understanding of the relationship between inflammatory processes and depression with a view to develop alternative pharmacological treatment strategies.

Main Research Methods

  • Behavioural models of psychiatric disease and cognition
  • Genetically modified animals
  • Stereotactic surgery
  • ELISA
  • HPLC
  • RT qPCR
  • Western Blotting

Available projects

We welcome bachelor, master, research year and PhD students from relevant disciplines such as biology, biomedicine, medicine, molecular biology, pharmacology and psychology to perform research projects within any of our areas of expertise.